What Makes an Ethical Shoe Brand

Footwear is an essential part of our wardrobes. On our social media feeds we are constantly exposed to a barrage of alluring advertisements in the fashion and beauty market.

From high-end fashionable pumps to the latest brand of sneakers.  With clever marketing, it’s easy to splurge on an impulsive shoe purchase! 

But have you ever stopped to think about how ethical the shoes you’re buying are? The reality is with every step we take in our favorite footwear, we can contribute harm to the environment and for the people who make them. 

Find shoes that match your ethics 

There are lots of questions to consider when shopping for a new pair of shoes. Are they comfortable? Do they fit? Do they match my style? So here’s one more very important question to ask: are they ethically made?

Footwear is one of the most polluting industries in the world, responsible for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Along with a colossal carbon footprint, the industry is known for extracting huge amounts of raw, non-renewable materials and producing hazardous and non-recyclable waste. Behind a lot of footwear brands lies a complex and unsustainable world.

On the other hand, an ethical shoe brand takes into account every step of the process, from how the shoes are made to what goes into them, how people are treated, and how safely the materials can be recycled or disposed of at the end of their life.

How to identify an ethical shoe brand

  1. Look for shoe brands that use natural, eco-friendly and recycled materials

 Sustainable footwear can be made of recycled materials, like plastic and rubber, or renewable materials, like cotton, bamboo, or cork. You can also look for plant-based options like bio-based leather, hemp, and many more.

All of these offer a more ethical solution to unsustainable traditional leather, suede, plastics, and petroleum products which use a huge amount of energy and water to produce and aren't made from recycled materials.  

  1. Look for shoe brands that are passionate about maintaining strong social and ethical practices

Ethical shoe brands have visibility of their supply chain to make sure that the people involved in making the shoes are treated fairly in their work. Ethical labor practices ensure that workers are paid a fair wage and enjoy safe working conditions. They are also committed to minimizing their environmental footprint, and not overproducing.

  1. Look for shoe brands that make their ethics easy to find

When you look at a shoe brand’s website, is it easy to find information on their sustainability and ethics? Or is it hard to find or not there at all? A shoe brand that is ethical believes that the people who make their shoes are just as important as the people who buy them. They make the information about their materials and ethical practices easy for their customers to find. 

Choose shoes for the future

It’s time we factor in the planet to our purchasing decisions. 

The good news is that people are choosing ethical brands and sustainable consumption is becoming a bigger priority for many. 

Just as you wouldn't choose shoes that hurt your feet, you also don’t need to choose something that hurts the planet. As an individual, you have the power to choose wisely and use your clothing and footwear purchases to create a positive social impact.

Looking for an ethical shoe brand? Dooeys have a strong focus on ethical manufacturing, supporting communities, and artisans. We make our house shoes in small batches at a factory in Portugal dedicated to ethical manufacturing, ensuring fair treatment of all workers and providing a safe and healthy work environment. In addition to using only plant-based & recycled materials to make our women’s house shoes, we also offset carbon emission on every order shipped.