For parents looking to outfit their children in fashion that's great for both their family and the planet, it can be hard to come across sustainably made shoes and sneakers. Luckily for parents with a desire to do good AND keep their children looking stylish, several companies have begun making practical, casual shoes with ethically-sourced materials.
Between seeking alternative resources to create their products (like banana leaves and recycled tires) and making sure their products are fairtrade, these innovative shoe companies are giving eco-focused consumers new earth-friendly options. This is great news not only for the environment and for parents looking for shoes that can keep up with their everyday lives. From sports practices to chasing little ones down the hallway, these six ethically-made shoe brands are the perfect fit for busy parents.
1. The People's Movement
The People's Movement is a shoe company founded to fix common problems that exist within the shoe industry--particularly the copious amounts of plastic used in the manufacturing of traditional shoes. The People's Movement shoes are made with as many natural materials as possible, such as natural dyes and organic cotton. Any plastic used in the shoes is 100% upcycled plastic from Bali and California. These casual shoes are available in a wide variety of styles and colors for both men and women, all of which could move seamlessly from a workout to traversing the backyard with the kids.
2. Keep Company
Keep Company's shoes are perfect for parents in more ways than one, as this company also makes kids shoes! Feel free to outfit the entire family in these 100% vegan, 100% practical sneakers, created in factories that are committed to ethical working conditions. Keep Company has a special commitment to keeping alive traditional crafting techniques from around the world, which means that, depending on which style you choose, your shoes could include hand-woven fabrics, hand-pieced patchwork and more.
Looking for an ethical alternative to classic high-top sneakers? Ethletic has you covered. Once strictly for edgy teens, the high-top sneaker has moved decidedly into mainstream fashion for all ages. Hip, eco-conscious parents will want to grab a pair of these vegan kicks, which are created with fair trade cotton by fairly-paid workers in Pakistan. These shoes helped earn Ethletics a Fairtrade Company Award in 2016.
Native is a Canadian company with a unique approach to shoe- making. Their sneakers have a modern look due to the foam injection molding process used to create them, a process that cuts factory emissions. These vegan shoes also have soles made from EVA, which, while still a plastic, is a good alternative to more-commonly used PVC, as EVA is produced without chlorine and other materials which cause extreme off-gassing. EVA provides a unique, molded-to-your-foot feel as well as odor-resistance and washability, perfect for any parent whose shoes need to endure a lot of abuse without staining, stretching or ripping. As an added bonus, Native's shoes come in kid's sizes as well.
Indosole creates stylish shoes that are casual enough for running errands yet stylish enough for parent-teacher conferences. Did we mention that the soles are made from recycled tires? And the upper portion of each shoe is made from natural, organic materials such as cotton and banana leaves. No fuel-powered machinery is used in the creation of Indosole's shoes--only "strong hands and minds" as the website states. The company also ensures that every worker at its factory in Indonesia is paid fairly for their labor.
If you're looking for classic sneakers to outfit the whole family look no further than Veja. Though their shoes look practically identical to traditional tennis shoes, the components of these shoes are obtained in very untraditional (and completely ethical) ways. The cotton used to create the upper part of each shoe is certified fair-trade. This means that cotton farmers are paid fairly for their product and receive a premium at the end of each year for community development purposes. The rubber soles of each shoe are made with rubber which is sustainably sourced from trees in the Amazon.