Don’t step on my green eco-suede shoes

Gone are the days when buying eco-friendly shoes meant choosing between chunky sandals or chunky sandals… Now there are an ever-increasing number of eco-friendly, vegan, organic and fairly-traded shoes to choose from. Good job too as I am in need of some new shoes. I thought I’d share some of the shoe-shaped treats I’ve found:

Terra Plana
Terra Plana say that they are striving to achieve “urban respect and eco-sustainability whilst producing shoes that are good for your feet”. Sounds good. Their designs use a combination of interesting materials and lower impact manufacturing techniques (which as a Designosaur I particularly like, its not often you get to know details of how stuff that you are about to buy is made).

The Vivobarefoot range is based on the principle that being barefoot is the healthiest way to be and incorporates an ultra-thin puncture resistant sole to keep the shoe as minimal as possible. They are in fact intended as ‘barefoot’ running shoes. I bought a pair of these (made from recycled leather) a while back and love them, although can’t say I’ve ever run for anything other than the bus in them.


Simple womens 300x192 Don’t step on my green eco suede shoesSimple shoes are… well… simple (in a good way). Their target is to make their products 100% sustainable and they work towards this by using a range of interesting materials such as recycled car tyres and carpet lining, bamboo and organic cotton. Their materials page is interesting and reassuringly they apply the same sustainable principles to their packaging as to their shoes. Nice. And simple!


Melissa Gaetano 300x199 Don’t step on my green eco suede shoesA whole host of famous fashion names have worked with Brazilian shoe brand Melissa. Creating plastic shoe designs ranging from comfy flats to Vivienne Westwood killer heels. One of my favourites has to be the recent collaboration with Italian architect Gaetano Pesce; an ankle boot formed from circles. But if that’s not the style you fancy (and you’re feeling brave enough to wield a pair of scissors) then you can transform the boot into whatever style you like.

I love it when Designers dabble in different fields or materials… the results often bring fresh new ideas. I also love it when products are designed to encourage individualism. So these shoes get two big ticks from me. The only downside being that they are made from plastic, Meflex to be exact (hopefully not another name for PVC). But it’s okay apparently, as according to Melissa it is 100% recyclable (where facilities exist) and hypoallergenic. The factory runs on a closed loop recycling system making recycling easier and keeping recycled material quality high. Phew.


Olsen Haus
Olsen Haus1 Don’t step on my green eco suede shoes100% animal free and claiming to have ethically approved factories and suppliers, Olsen Haus shoes poke the livestock/leather industry (allegedly the world’s largest contributor to global warming) in the eye. Luckily they are also very easy on the eye. Not so easy on the wallet but then they are made to order.



Veja orange 300x192 Don’t step on my green eco suede shoesBringing some french style and amazonian rubber to this post’s list of eco-shoes. Veja make their trainers in Brazil working with local co-operatives to incorporate organic cotton and natural rubber in their products.




So there you have it. By no means a comprehensive list of eco-shoe options, there are many, many more… but hopefully any of you who, like me, thought that eco-shoes were just for hippies have been convinced to think otherwise?!

I haven’t made a decision yet about which ‘eco-shoe’ to buy myself… so if you know of any more brands or are wearing a pair of eco-shoes right now then please let me know.