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 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 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.
Type: Sustainable Production
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! (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, 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: Ethical & Fair Trade
Fashion forward and artsy. The heels from Miista definitely made a statement. Their production is ethical and fair trade. 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. They also source their vegetable-tanned leather locally which minimizes their carbon footprint.
Known for her classic womenswear. 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 gives their sustainable footwear a great debut. They had previously dipped their toes into sustainability with their good wool collection as well. Their heels are made with nappa leather from a tannery that will be zero environmental waste by 2020. They are also crafted ethically from 3rd generation shoemakers in Italy.
Type: Ethical & Slow
Female first heels are found at Sarah Flint. They are crafted slowly. The heels are made by artisans in Parabiago at a family-owned factory. The brand also cuts out the middle-man so the prices are more transparent and affordable.
Paloma Wool is an art, photography, and fashion creative project. Founder Paloma Lanna brings together a collection of different artists who collaborate on each collection. The pieces are then handmade locally in Barcelona with natural materials.
Aeyde is focused on longterm wear that will outlast the trends. Their heels are made at a small factory in Italy. Aeyde buys directly from their manufacturer which helps them build sustainable relationships and be transparent in their pricing.
Known for their cult bags, soon they’ll be known for their cult heels. They incorporate their recycled and sustainable bamboo into their heels and make everything ethically in L.A. and Italy.
Minimalist and bold, Kalda heels have been cult favorites for a while. Every pair is made in a sustainable, family-run factory in Portugal and keeps the long tradition of cobblery alive in the region.
Type: Sustainable & Socially-Aware
Suzanne Rae is designed in Brooklyn and produced in the NYC garment district.or in Italy. The style is feminine and experimental. Suzanne Rae incorporates sustainable materials like recycled nylon and fabric mills that use innovative sustainable practices.
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.
For ATP Atelier the design process starts with their materials. They use eco-friendly vegetable-tanned vachetta leather. It is naturally dyed and the tannins for dying are recycled and reused. The heels are worked by hand at a family-run facility in Tuscany.
Type: Ethical, Artisanal, Ecological
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.
Classic styles with a refined aesthetic. They are designed in Seoul by founder Rei Yoon Hong mi. They are also produced ethically with fair wages locally in Seoul.
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.
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: Fair & Charitable
Some people love minimalism and some people love experimenting. Alterre’s heels are perfect for the experimental heel lover because they are interchangeable. You choose a base style and then can swap out new straps to totally change the shoe. Their heels are crafted in fair labor facilities in Brazil and Alterre also donates 5% of their profits to Restore NYC, a nonprofit that helps rehabilitate sex-trafficking survivors.
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.