9 Ethical Shoe Brands You Need To Know
At VETTA, we are firmly committed to creating our pieces using eco-friendly fabrics, in our responsible, family-run factory in New York City. We believe that you don't have to sacrifice shopping ethically for style.
That's why we're obsessed with brands like Nisolo, Marais USA and Coclico, that make the chicest ethical shoes for us to pair with our capsule wardrobes. When we think about these brands, we like to think of them in terms of three categories: people, planet and animals.
People brands manufacture their products in responsible factories, and ensure that their employees are treated with dignity and paid fair wages.
Our favorite planet brands make their shoes with the environment in mind. The fashion industry is the third most polluting in the world behind oil and agriculture, and these brands aim to reduce the negative impact we make on the planet caused by manufacturing shoes.
Animal-concious shoe brands are cruelty-free and are made with alternative materials, without animal products. Other brands will use the leather that was already a byproduct of the meat industry to eliminate as much animal-cruelty as possible.
Meet our top nine ethical shoe brands - maybe one of our favorites will end up being your new go-to staple!
Coclico - People & Planet
At Coclico, their motto is, "luxury isn't the ability to purchase endlessly, but the privilege of choosing wisely." See why we love them? Materials for Coclico's shoes are sourced locally in Europe near their family-run factory in Mallorca, Spain. Coclico is heavily invested in environmental integrity, partnering with Native Energy to track its annual in-house carbon usage and offsetting that amount by investing in renewable energy projects.
Their shoes are perfect for the minimalist who loves a quirky twist. Our favorite style is the Bask Sandal, a thick-strap wooden heel with color-block details.
VEERAH - Planet
VEERAH is a sustainable, luxury shoe brand that's female-founded and made for the modern woman. We love that VEERAH uses more unconventional materials such as apples, algae, and renewed plastic, to create their vegan leather shoes.
We are fans of the Vicky, a pointed-toe flat that comes in multiple colors ranging from black to a shimmery gold! Each pair saves 11 gallons of filtered water & keeps 8 balloons of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
Everlane - People
Everlane may one of the biggest names in socially-conscious fashion. With a dedication to radical transparency via minimalist styles, Everlane is one of our favorite responsibly-made brands. The company spends a hefty amount of time searching for the best factories around the world to ensure its integrity.
Beyond the clothing basics that Everlane is known for, they craft their shoes with the same philosophy in mind. We can fully get behind the versatility of Everlane's shoe selection and think each one would be a great addition to any lean wardrobe. The Modern Loafer, for example, can easily be worn in the office or to Sunday brunch, while the Heel Boot is another dress-up or dress-down staple.
Fortress of Inca - People & Planet
At Fortress of Inca, they believe that the people who make their shoes are just as important as the people who buy them. By working with and closely auditing several workshops and factories in Peru, they maintain the shoemakers' excellent working conditions as well as provide health care, paid maternity leave and social security benefits. Beyond the social responsibility that Fortress of Inca takes on, the leather that they use for their shoes is a byproduct of the meat industry that might otherwise have been turned into harmful waste.
Their shoes are heavily inspired by typical South American footwear, combining pops of color with Incan textiles. Our favorites styles include Carmen, Miko and Adriana Coco, each a modern take on Peruvian styles.
Marais USA - People & Animals
Haley Boyd, designer and owner of Marais USA, fuses the "confidence and practicality of the New Yorker" with the effortless sophistical of the "Parisienne." And we think she nails it every time. Many of Marais' styles are made with vegan materials, as they are determined to offer as many eco- and animal-friendly options as possible. Boyd is committed to ethical fashion the entire way through, which includes in-person quality-control inspections in their responsible Los Angeles factory.
Veja - People & Animals
Veja's tomboy sneakers are the product of a push for fair trade and ecologically-conscious efforts. Each and every shoe is made in Brazil and respects the standards of work put forth by the International Labour Organization. A handful of the trainers are made from organic cotton, vegetable-tanned leather and wild rubber from the Amazon (the only place in the world where rubber trees grow in the wild!)
With sneakers that look as if they're fresh out of a retro editorial, Veja combines heavy-duty styles with pastels and unique color combinations. The Holiday Silk shoe serves as the ideal staple sneaker for the girl on-the-go with a monochromatic wardrobe. For a classic white shoe, check out their vegan Wata Canvas sneaker.
Nisolo - People
Determined to create a healthy work environment for those who make their shoes and accessories, Nisolo pays fair trade wages and provides benefits for their factory employees in Peru. They also carefully partner with factories in León, Mexico as well as independent artisans who help to craft Nisolo's high-quality products.
With a wide range of styles from heeled slides to patent leather oxfords, Nisolo's shoes come in neutral colors for a variety of personal aesthetics. We're into the simplicity of the Isla Slide Sandal and the business-casual chic tone of the Ava Ballerina Flat.
Nina Z - People
Swedish designer, Nina Z, launched her namesake shoe label in 2008 because of the lack of clogs she saw while living in New York City. Nina Z strongly believes in ethical sourcing and labor, primarily focused on how and by whom the brand's clogs are made.
After growing up in Sweden and being married to her husband who is of African decent, the brand pays homage to both cultures' overarching styles with a modern twist. Besides their clogs, Nina Z makes sandals and boots that are also influenced by the classic clog.
Sseko - People
Sseko Designs aims to use fashion to create opportunity for global women through employment as well as scholarship opportunities. The brand hires women in Uganda to make their sandals to enable them to earn money through dignified employment. The money these women earn goes directly towards their college education funds, and as a result, Sseko has helped 60 women to continue on to university so far.
With their relaxed styles, Sseko's sandals are footwear staples for a beach vacation or for a warm, laid-back day. We love how the Crossover Slide Sandal and the Ribbon Sandals is easily integrated into any comfy-casual wardrobe.
Zou Xou - People
Zou Xou footwear is made using age-old techniques and premium leathers, for elegant, slow fashion footwear that lasts. After many trips to Buenos Aires, Katherine Theobalds had the connections and the courage to launch her own collection by partnering with local artisans. Every piece is ethically handcrafted by Argentinian shoemakers in small quantities. Their focus on ethical manufacturing processes that reduce waste and energy consumption makes them a must-have in our wardrobes.
Zou Xou shoes are designed to make you feel like you are living your best (most comfortable) life! We especially love the Mules and Lagos Sandal- which pair perfectly with minimal and classic wardrobes.
We hope you're able to find a new pair of shoes that you love from a brand that goes beyond the call of duty in the modern day fashion industry.
Pair your new ethically-made shoes with VETTA's new capsule collection!