A new era of sustainable footwear is shaking up the sneaker market with innovative fabrics, circular production and high quality craftsmanship. It makes it transparent as to who, where, and how its products were made. Look at the brands that pioneer sustainable shoewear production.

pineapple beside person's feet

Reef, a company best known for its beach-friendly sandals, is launching a bio shoe made using a footbed of renewable sugar cane and leather ethically sourced by tanneries that have been awarded a gold or silver rating by the Leather Working Group. The sandal will be available on the e-commerce website by August 31st.

Clarks, purveyors of the original desert boot, has debuted a vegan version of its classic shoes, including the iconic Wallabee style which features vegan-friendly uppers, linings, and natural rubber crepe soles. This material mimics suede but has a significantly lower environmental impact.

Consumers have shifted priorities since the pandemic. These shoes are made with 100 percent recycled PET plastic from post-consumer, which reduces carbon emissions by at most 48 percent.

white wind turbine on green grass field under blue sky during daytime

Koio, a company that manufactures in Italy, aims to be the world’s first regenerative luxury footwear brand, sourcing its leathers from regeneratively managed farms, which are proven to help slow and even reverse the effects of climate change.

Many tanneries use plastic-based components from virgin, fossil-fuel-based materials to produce linings and soles. Mold-injection results in trimmings that are often discarded. Besides, fast fashion, cheaply-produced footwear means shoes are made at a low-quality level, resulting in a shorter product life of the shoes. With this new era, none of these poor practicies are used by the most innovative and luxury brands.