Happy Monday! In honor of our latest member, one of my favorite newly discovered shoe brands, Poppy Barley, as the first official ethical shoe brand on Conscious Shop Collective (if you haven’t seen their member listing yet, check it out here and don’t forget to share with your conscious man friends as they have a men’s line too!), I wanted to share some of the ethical footwear brands I’ve come across over the last year or two.
Ethically made shoes has to be the one wardrobe necessity that I’ve had the most trouble with buying. For one, 90% of my conscious closet is secondhand. As you can imagine, it’s pretty difficult to find good quality, not completely worn to death, secondhand shoes. I wouldn’t be opposed to them, they’re just hard to find. Secondly, ethical shoes are quite the investment, and unless you’re already paying a hefty price tag for designer footwear, it’s the ultimate sticker shock. However, I’ve come to realize that a good pair of shoes is so hard to come by (consciously produced or not), so if I can find one that’s perfect for me and fairly made, it’s probably worth the extra $$$. Nevertheless, I tried to find shoes a variety of budgets could invest in. So, here’s a working list of my fave ethical shoe brands!
1. Etsy (featuring ankle boots from Olive Thomas Shoes)
Etsy is a great place to find a lot of things, but I’ve noticed they have a huge selection of handmade footwear brands from all over the globe. Just make sure you check out each shop’s about page, product descriptions, and contact the seller with any questions before purchasing. And, as Etsy is now a huge marketplace, there definitely are some less-than conscious brands floating around–if the price tag is too good to be true, the product probably is. Anyway, once you find a brand like Olive Thomas Shoes above, be sure to favorite it!
I came across Canada based, Mexico made ethical shoe brand Poppy Barley on Instagram a few months ago, and immediately knew I wanted to share their mission here on CSC. Not only are all of the shoes worthy of being your wardrobe staple, they pride themselves on making flats, booties, and more, that are actually comfortable to wear (which you’d think more brands would focus on!). I can’t do a shoe if it’s not totally comfortable, so it’s a win for me. | Poppy Barley’s factory
Bryr clogs are made in San Francisco, and these days you’ll find them for everything from everyday wear to bridal fashion. Probably one of the most unique shoe brands you’ll find today! | Bryr’s story
I feel like most people who are into socially conscious brands have heard of Sseko, and I had the pleasure of hearing their founder Liz Bohannon speak at Yellow Conference in 2015. I’ve always loved their mission, but have never been particularly into their sandals–I just always happened to need other footwear! Thankfully, they’ve expanded into other footwear, including super cute flats and booties. This is one of the more affordable ethical brands, so definitely check them out if you’re on a budget. | Sseko’s Mission
6. Roma Boots
I hadn’t actually heard of Roma (even though they’re available at Nordstrom) until I heard founder Samuel Bistrian share his story on Kestrel of AWEAR’s podcast Conscious Chatter (a must listen!). He talked a lot about social enterprise, fashion, and why he chose rain boots specifically to base his one-for-one model around. Not only is the get one give one model a great way for them to give back, 10% also goes to funding educational initiatives all over the world. | Roma’s Mission
7. Proud Mary
Proud Mary works with artisans across all over the world to produce beautifully, globally inspired textiles. On their website you’ll find not only pillows and home decor, but gorgeous woven sandals and leather shoes too. | Proud Mary Artisans
They have an enormous selection of booties, heels, wedges, and more (I’ve been obsessed with the ALDEN cut-out in neutral ever since coming across their brand on Ethica. | Bhava’s mission (it’s awesome)
Vejia is an environmentally + socially conscious French brand featuring super cute and trendy sneakers. | Vejia’s mission
Don’t these look sooo comfy? Los Angeles based brand Zuzii has sweet ‘n simple made in America footwear (there are lots of sweet printed pairs too), and they also have a baby + kids line. I love seeing everything in action on their Instagram. PLUS, you can design a custom pair online.
Have you heard of these shoe brands before? Where do you go for conscious footwear? Stay tuned for later this week when we share Poppy Barley’s latest lookbook!