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Three sustainable shoe brands to keep an eye on

By Léana Esch

1 Sep 2021

Fashion

Credit: Allbirds

Comfortable sneakers, pared-back boots or polished oxfords, FashionUnited has selected three shoe brands for which sustainability is key.

Allbirds

With already more than a million pairs of sneakers sold in the US and the UK, Allbirds has reached cult status in terms of comfortable everyday sneakers. The new-zealander brand creates timeless styles that are eco-friendly and B-Corp certified, so we know they meet the highest environmental and social standards. It’s carbon neutral and partners with Soles4Souls to donate any returned shoes to those in need, on top of using water and energy saving practices in its factories. The women’s and men’s collections are made from ZQ-certified merino wool - Allbirds’ main material - and the soles are crafted from sugarcane SweetFoam™ and recycled bottle laces with upper fabrics from eucalyptus trees. While the Dasher running shoe is sold at 120 pounds, the everyday Tree Runner sneaker is 98 pounds.

Baabuk

Baabuk’s shoe collections are made from handmade felted wool and B-Corp certified. Breathable and antibacterial, its sneakers are water-repellent and made in Portugal’s historic Burel Factory with wool sourced from nearby sheeps. The footwear offer ranges from 89 euro for a pair of ballerinas to 125 euro for a pair of high-top sneakers and they’re all easy to pair with just about anything. The brand has partnered with the BVA Foundation in Switzerland to employ in its logistics centre people with mental and physical disabilities, therefore committing to more inclusion and raising awareness in the industry.

Oliberté

From oxford shoes to chukka boots, Oliberté has been handcrafting pared-back and elegant shoes since 2009. The Canadian company was the owner of the first fair trade footwear factory in the world - based in Addis Ababa - before starting manufacturing its collections in small batches in Canada in 2019. The brand has supported workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa and produces sneakers - think 85 pounds for a pair - that are set on comfortable and durable Vibram soles. The collections feature timeless designs that can easily be mixed and matched year-round for a stripped-back but eye-catching look.