Eco-friendly Footwear Brands Are Taking Over the Sneaker Industry

Eco-friendly products are rising in popularity now that manufacturers are more conscious of their carbon footprint. Our article on the ‘10 Benefits of Eco-Friendly Clothing’ highlights that the production of these sustainable products helps in reducing the number of pesticides and toxic wastes being released into the environment. Moreover, sustainable products also benefit the people by limiting the strain on the planet’s resources and supporting the working conditions of employees.

Though numerous manufacturers are making an effort to become sustainable, associate professor of fashion design and sustainability at the Parsons School of Design Timo Rissanen emphasized that brands should do more than focus on recycled materials. Rissanen pointed out that brands need to transform all aspects of their operations into carbon removal activities, instead of carbon-emitting activities. Thus, manufacturers are encouraged to do more than recycling efforts to truly uphold sustainability.

Recognizing the call for improved production practices, eco-friendly footwear brands are starting to make a mark in the sneaker industry. To illustrate, here are four brands that are staying true to their mission:

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A post shared by Cariuma® (@cariuma)

Credit: @cariuma

The name of Brazilian brand Cariuma serves as the company’s motto, since it represents diversity and inclusion. Cariuma exemplifies eco-friendliness by ensuring that each footwear design is better than everything on the market. In fact, co-founder Fernando Porto stated that each shoe is designed to deliver greater comfort, sustainability, durability, and affordability to consumers. Despite the affordability, Cariuma remains sustainable by practicing fair employment, utilizing recycled materials, and providing carbon-neutral shipping. Since the brand continuously strives to improve itself, sneakerheads can look forward to more eco-friendly options in the future.



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A post shared by Nisolo Men’s (@nisolomens)

Credit: @nisolomens

Nashville-based fashion brand Nisolo was created after its founder, Patrick Woodyard, met talented shoemakers that were unfortunately subjected to dangerous working conditions. Since then, he established Nisolo to support the livelihood of thousands of workers across Peru, Mexico, Kenya, and the US. By prioritizing the condition of their workers, Nisolo can create high-quality and comfortable products that were made with care. On top of that, the brand has been recognized as a B-Corp Certified, Climate-Neutral Certified, and Leather Working Group certified company for its sustainability efforts.



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A post shared by Noah Clothing (@noahclothing)

Credit: @noahclothing

Despite launching environmentally sustainable garments and footwear, Noah refuses to be called a sustainable company. As a brand that wants to be recognized as ethical, SoleSavy reports that Noah is changing the sustainability discourse by allowing consumers to discover the true definition of an eco-friendly manufacturing process. The brand even dedicated blog posts to explain their decisions behind their production process, manufacturing factories, and even their pricing. By being transparent with their practices, Noah serves as living proof that companies can create eco-friendly products without compromising style and quality.



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A post shared by Rothy’s (@rothys)

Credit: @rothys

Rothy’s rose to fame after Meghan Markle wore one of their ballet flats made of recycled plastic bottles. Now, Rothy’s is expanding into men’s shoes by launching a men’s shoe line with footwear created from recycled plastic bottles and environmentally-friendly materials. The brand even wants to take its recycling efforts up a notch by aiming to establish a program where their customers’ old shoes can be used to create new footwear. This is a part of their commitment to achieving circular production wherein every material from their production process is to be recycled and repurposed.

These four footwear brands show that manufacturers can create comfortable and high-quality footwear without contributing to carbon emissions and illegal labor practices. Their success serves as a challenge for other manufacturers to be more sustainable, ethical, and honest.

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