All outfits need a shoe. Some outfits need a heel. I am an unabashed heel lover. 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 just fall in love with. Obviously, I was totally wrong. Below are 16 of my favorite shoe brands that carry chic, amazing heels. They definitely rival any Louboutin, or Jimmy Choo is style.
Founded by Francisca Pineda, this vegan-friendly brand uses artisanal craftsmanship to make its eco-friendly heels. Bhava Studio works to set new standards in footwear with their timeless, comfortable, and sustainable designs. They are made by hand in Portugal with organic, recycled, and cruelty-free materials.
The leather in these heels comes from the local area around the factory that Fortress of Inca produces at. Founded in 2004, to help bring the traditional Peruvian boot to the international market, Fortress of Inca produces everything ethically and employs expert Peruvian artisans.
A shoe brand that has the jazziest heels around. Love Sofie is a vegan and responsible. They use materials like eco-PU, recycled denim, recycled polyester, and organic pieces of cotton to make sure their splendid heels don’t hurt the planet. Their ethics are unimpeachable too, everything is produced ethically in the E.U.
RAFA is hand-crafted in L.A by a group of 20 artisans. All RAFA products are made using ecologically friendly materials and sustainable processes. My favorite thing about Rafa sandal heels is the strong heel. When you are on your feet for hours on end a block heel can do wonders to provide support.
Type: By-product leather
These shoes are handmade in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Morocco. The main material in the leather-based shoes is kudu leather- an animal byproduct that comes from a government-mandated culling. These heels are so much fun, full of light colors, laces, and bows.
Coclico looks for leathers from local tanneries that have a small-scale operation and their factory in Mallorca, Spain 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. Each pair uses recycled and renewable components within their structure like cork and natural woods. Coclico was the winner of the 2013 SOURCE AWARD in the footwear category for it’s commitment to sustainable fashion. Coclico has amazing day heels. My favorites are the pastel blue kitten heels.
These heels are made with influences from Japan and feminine design. They are made ethically in Spain with careful attention to comfort and traditional Spanish craftsmanship. An added plus? Carry Somers, the co-founder of Fashion Revolution is a fan! (An article on her is where I found the brand)
NOAH’s vegan heels are PETA and Vegan Society certified and Noah has also won a Green Product Award. Each step in the production process incorporates sustainability. They are handmade in Italy using vegans (and many times recycled) materials like micronappa and microsuede.
Handcrafted in Bulgaria. The factory that by FAR uses is family-owned and operated, and 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: Carbon Neutral
Carbon-neutral production, vegan materials, ethical production. SO many good things tied up in one heel. Did I mentions they’re stylish too?
Matt & Nat has expanded to footwear! The designs are as simple and sleek as you’ve come to expect from their vegan bags and the shoes are still made with man-made materials like vegan PU.
M4D3 is actually an acronym is supposed to mean Make A Difference Every day. Since they launched they’ve made charitable donations across the board. In their portfolio, they’ve got contributions to childhood education, international development, and women’s health.
Swedish clogs have been around for millennia, but in 2006 Swedish Hasbeens launched to bring them back into the mainstream. They are handmade by expert craftsmen in Sweden. The leather they use is ecologically prepared and made without toxins.
Tom’s employs the same model that you expect with their iconic slip-ons to their heels. Every pair you purchase donates a pair to a child in need. They also try to make sure they manufacture in the countries they are donating shoes.
Certified by PETA as cruelty-free, BC Footwear has been around since the early 2000’s and has been making cute heels since then. My favorites are their heeled booties, but they also have a great selection of wedges.
SUSI Studio advocates for of social responsibility. They show this by practicing mindful design and sustainable production. Materials used in the shoes are- canvas, denim, hemp, faux leather produced from recycled plastic bottles, and recycled microsuede.
Beyond Skin is an ethical footwear label that produces it shoes at factories in Spain. They now use 100% recycled PU lining materials. The synthetic leathers are sourced in Italy and produced from cotton-backed polyurethane (PU). They also use ‘dinamica’ faux suede material which is made from 100% recycled PET plastics.
Alina Schuerfeld Heels
Produced in Germany and Italy. These heels are tanned with vegetables and rhubarb. The leather is sourced from certified organic salmon. I’ve loved Alina’s heels for a long time. The colors are a great twist on a classic pump.
Type: vegan and innovative
Nemanti Milano is an Italian vegan shoe brand that uses cruelty-free materials. The shoes are produced in of two artisanal districts of Milan- Marchigiano, and Parabiago. The materials that make up the shoes range from the more traditional- linen, waxed cotton, and wood, to innovative materials like Alcantara, produced without CO2 emissions, faux leather derived from the excess grain production material, and pellemela, a faux leather that comes from biodegradable apple cores. The word for these shoes is elegance.
Type: Made in the USA
Produced in L.A. these sandal heels come in lovely colors with a sensible low heel. Marais has a great selection of vegan options on the website. These are a great summer heel. Perfect for a weekend music festival or day in the park.
Olsenhaus was created with the mission to merge design and fashion with being a voice for animals, the environment, and social responsibility. Olsenhaus has its factories in Mexico, India, and Spain. All the shoes are made to order and the materials are vegan. Instead of leather, Olsenhaus uses a combination of plant-based and man-made materials. They are certified fair trade, and cruelty-free.
Cult of Coquette
Responsibly handmade. All heels are vegan and cruelty-free. Cult of Coquette just won the Best of Vegan Award from Unicorn Goods. Why do I love these heels? They are power heels. That moment when you put on an amazing pair of high heels, you stand a little straighter, you feel a little more confident? These heels have that.
They are always cruelty-free and 100% vegan. They use lots of different innovative materials like bio-based vegan leather material derived from organic apples grown in the Italian Alps. This revolutionary material is highly breathable and just as durable if not more so than genuine and synthetic leathers. These heels are versatile. With one pair of pumps, you can add a strap or a bow. #3heelsin1
Cri de Coeur uses some of the highest quality vegan materials like Ultrasuede made from recycled plastics, eco-PU, organic cotton, hemp and reclaimed wood. They were named one of the top 10 eco-designers in the Huffington Post. These heels are a cry of the heart from my heart. I love colorful shoes and Cri de Coeur has them in abundance.
Neu Aura Heels
NEUAURA shoes are free of leather, fur, silk, wool, shell, and pearls. A portion of Neuaura’s manufacturing is done in an awesome eco-factory located in Southern Brazil. The factory makes sure waste is separated and almost all the materials can be recycled. They also sponsor a habitat for endangered animals native to their area that serves as an educational tool and provides an overall awareness of the community. I want all factories to be like this one.