Nowadays, it is no longer enough for shoes to be stylish and trendy - they must also tread lightly on the environment and be partially or fully recyclable at the end of their life. More and more consumers are making a point of ensuring that their shoes are made in this way and from materials that do not harm animals. FashionUnited has found five young shoe brands around the globe that promise a better future.
Flamingos Life is a Spanish shoe brand that has been specialising in the production of vegan shoes since 2015, and every step is made exclusively in Spain. But not only that, each shoe project is also linked to a social project to offset any negative impact on the environment. Currently, the shoe brand works with Agua ONG to build wells in Uganda, with Eden Reforestation on reforestation projects in Madagascar and Mozambique, and with Waste Free Oceans to rid the world's oceans of waste.
Flamingos Life currently ships to the UK, US and Canada as well as 18 European countries (including the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Germany and France), and is available at select retailers. The various unisex shoe models cost between 100 and 150 euros (86 and 120 British pounds/116 and 162 US dollars) and are available in sizes 36 to 46 (3.5 to 11 UK/5.5 to 12 US).
Native Shoes was founded in Seattle in 2009 with the aim of making the environmental footprint of the men's, women's and children's shoe brand as light as possible. Accordingly, the company only uses vegan, alternative materials and by next year has set itself the goal that every pair of Native Shoes will be reused in various projects through the Remix Project.
The shoes are made in selected factories in China and Vietnam that produce ethically and fair. Native Shoes are available worldwide through the company's webshop and selected retailers. Prices range from around 50 to 150 euros (48 to 130 British pounds/50 to 135 US dollars).
Shoe brand Yatay is the result of two years of diligent research and development. Founded in 2018, the shoe brand uses only recycled or Peta-certified vegan materials such as recycled car tyres and plastic, corn and wood from sustainable cultivation. The aim was to combine the best 'Made in Italy' quality with the most advanced green technology to create timeless, comfortable and sustainable sneakers for men and women. In addition, for every pair sold, the company plants a tree.
Yatay shoes are available through the brand's webshop and are delivered worldwide. They are also available at selected retailers in various cities in Italy and Switzerland as well as in Vienna, Sydney and Dubai. Handmade in Italy, the unisex shoes range in price from 270 to 330 euros and in size from 35 to 47 (2 to 12 UK/4 to 13 US).
Munich-based sneaker label Nat-2 was founded in 2007 by Sebastian Thies, whose family has been making shoes for six generations since 1856. The brand is dedicated to discovering unusual, natural materials for shoe design, including stone, coffee grounds, corn, cork, mushrooms, fish leather, flowers, cannabis, red pepper, oxblood, leaves, moss and more.
Nat-2 shoes are available through the online shop Coilex via worldwide, carbon-neutral delivery or at select international retailers such as Rinascente, Galeries Lafayette and Manufactum. Prices range from around 40 euros for children's shoes to 440 euros for women's and men's shoes. Purely vegan models are also available.
Founded in 2011, Nisolo is a sustainable brand dedicated to making shoes and accessories that are produced under fair conditions and that pay a living wage. Factories are located in Peru, Mexico, Kenya and the USA. The company from Nashville, Tennessee currently still uses leather, but it is vegetable tanned, and does not yet offer purely vegan items. However, this is planned for the future.
Each product comes with a "Sustainable Factsheet” for customers to read about its environmental impact. The brand works with Ecosphere+ to offset the impact of its products, for example through reforestation projects. The prices of the shoes range from around 100 to 250 US dollars (around 88 to 220 euros/74 to 185 British pounds). Currently, the items are only available via the US webshop or at selected retailers such as Nordstrom, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters.