All outfits need a shoe. However, some outfits need a heel. I am an unabashed heel lover. Now, I can’t walk in them all day. But, I still love the way they look and the way they make me feel. When I first started researching sustainable fashion, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find any heels that I would fall in love with. Obviously, I was totally wrong. Below are 25 of my favorite sustainable shoe brands that carry chic, amazing heels. They definitely rival any Louboutin or Jimmy Choo in style and quality and they are far more sustainable.
Type: By-Product Leather, Artisan
These heels are handmade in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Morocco. The main material in the leather-based heels is kudu leather- an animal byproduct that comes from a government-mandated culling. Above all, these heels are so much fun, full of light colors, laces, and bows.
Type: Sustainable Production
First, Coclico’s sourcing comes from from local tanneries that have a small-scale operation. Then, they craft every shoe at their factory in Mallorca, Spain. Plus, Coclico employs artisanal crafters with third-party certification verifying their integrity and process. The factory is noted for its fair trade practices- providing living wages, and environmental reliability. Now, each pair uses recycled and renewable components within their structure like cork and natural woods. Also, Coclico won the 2013 SOURCE AWARD in the footwear category for it’s commitment to sustainable fashion.
Chie Mihara is influenced by Japanese and feminine design. They are made ethically in Spain withcareful attention to comfort and traditional Spanish craftsmanship. Plus, Carry Somers, the co-founder of Fashion Revolution is a fan! (This article on her is where I found the brand.)
Type: Ethical, Artisan, Sustainable
Handcrafted in Bulgaria. The factory that by FAR uses is family-owned and operated. Plus, they are working towards a totally sustainable shoe. Currently, 1/3 of the leather they use is deadstock and rescued from Italian factories before they toss it out.
Type: Ethical & Fair Trade
Fashion forward and artsy. Above all, the heels from Miista definitely made a statement. And, their production is ethical and fair trade. Plus, they are committed to supporting the artisans who handcraft their heels in Spain.
Type: Sustainable & Artisanal
Heeled sandals and wedges are what you’ll find at Matisse Footwear. They are a great brand for either a basic or a beach heel. They craft their heels in family-owned factories and use sustainable practices the make sure their shoes are making a positive impact.
Perfect for the office. Nine to Five makes statement pumps that are elegant and strong. They are made sustainably in Portugal at a small family-owned factory. Plus, they source their vegetable-tanned leather locally which minimizes their carbon footprint.
Above all, Gabreila Hearst is known for her womenswear. However, I also love Gabriela Hearst for her eye-catching heels. Her heels are made slowly and ethically in Italy with carefully sourced materials that reflect Gabriela’s ethics.
Theory’s Spring 2019 collection is a great debut for their sustainable footwear. They have previously dipped their toes into sustainability with their good wool collection. Now, their heels are made with nappa leather from a tannery that will be zero environmental waste by 2020. Plus, they are crafted ethically by 3rd generation shoemakers in Italy.
Type: Ethical & Slow
Above all, Sarah Flint is female first. However, that’s not all. Her heels are crafted slowly. The heels are made by artisans in Parabiago at a family-owned factory. Plus, the brand cuts out the middle-man so the prices are more transparent and affordable.
Paloma Wool is an art, photography, and fashion creative project. Therefore, founder Paloma Lanna brings together a collection of different artists who collaborate on each collection. Then, the pieces are handmade locally in Barcelona with natural materials.
Above all, Aeyde focuses on longterm wear that will outlast the trends. For instance, their heels are made at a small factory in Italy. Aeyde buys directly from their manufacturer which helps them build sustainable relationships. Plus, it helps them practice transparent pricing.
First, we loved Cult Gaia for their bags. Now, we will love them for their heels! They incorporate their recycled and sustainable bamboo into their heels. Plus, everything is made ethically in L.A. and Italy.
Minimalist and bold, Kalda heels have been cult favorites for a while. However, production is more sustainable than most cult brands. For example, every pair is made in a sustainable, family-run factory in Portugal. This factory helps keep the long tradition of cobblery alive in the region.
Type: Sustainable & Socially-Aware
Overall, Suzanne Rae mainly designs in Brooklyn and produces in the NYC garment district. However, some of the collection is produced in Italy. The style is feminine and experimental. In addition to local production, Suzanne Rae incorporates sustainable materials like recycled nylon. Plus, the fabric mills she partners with use innovative sustainable practices.
M4D3 is actually an acronym is supposed to mean Make A Difference Every day. Above all, making a difference is their goal. Since they launched they’ve made charitable donations across the board. For example, they’ve contributed to childhood education, international development, and women’s health.
ATP Atelier the design process starts with their materials. Therefore, they use eco-friendly vegetable-tanned vachetta leather. First, it is naturally dyed. Also, the tannins for dying are recycled and reused. Then, the heels a family-run facility in Tuscany handcrafts every heel.
Type: Ethical, Artisanal, Ecological
Swedish clogs have been around for millennia. However, in 2006 Swedish Hasbeens launched to bring them back into the mainstream. They are handmade by expert craftsmen in Sweden. Plus, the leather they use is ecologically prepared and made without toxins.
Above all, Reike Nan makes classic styles with a refined aesthetic. Rei Yoon Hong mi designers her collection in Seoul. They are also produced ethically with fair wages locally in Seoul.
Starting in 2004, has helped bring traditional Peruvian styles to the international market. Peru is the basis for everything at Fortress of Inca. Therefore, Fortress of Inca produces everything ethically while employing expert Peruvian artisans. Plus, the leather in these heels comes from the local area around the factory that Fortress of Inca produces at.
Producing in Germany and Italy, Alina Scherfeld makes her heels with tanning from vegetables and rhubarb. First, leather is sourcing comes from certified organic salmon. Therefore, it doesn’t fall in line with the specific horrible process of hide leather. Because, Salmon leather comes from fish waste. I’ve loved Alina’s heels for a long time. Above all, the colors add a great twist on a classic pump.
Type: Fair & Charitable
Some people love minimalism and some people love experimenting. But, Alterre’s heels are perfect for the experimental heel lover because they are interchangeable. First, You choose a base style and then can swap out new straps to totally change the shoe. Also, their heels are crafted in fair labor facilities in Brazil. In addition to fair, Alterre also donates 5% of their profits to Restore NYC, a nonprofit that helps rehabilitate sex-trafficking survivors.
Type: Made in the USA
Marais USA produces their shoes in L.A. Therefore, they are definitely sunny weather appropriate. For example, these sandal heels come in lovely colors with a sensible low heel. Additionally, Marais has a great selection of vegan options on the website. These are a great summer heel. Plus, they’d be perfect for a weekend music festival or day in the park.