3 hot footwear brands combining ethics and aesthetics

by Lea Roelz

What exactly is shoe sustainability? Shoe sustainability is defined as shoe design, development, manufacturing, distribution and selling processes that minimise negative environmental impacts, conserve energy and natural resources, are safe for employees, communities and consumers and are economically sound.


Shoes are notoriously difficult when it comes to sustainability, considering the sheer amount of materials and components needed to make them. Like everything else there is no “perfect” sustainable option but so many brands making positive steps towards a greener industry.


Have you got the feeling that you kind of have a good grip of the sustainable fashion world but not yet about the ethical footwear scene? Well look no further we are here to help you out with our pick of the ones to watch for 2021.


1. Veja

The word Veja is a literal translation of the Portugese - Brazilian for “look” - it means “look beyond the sneakers & look how they are made”. They don’t spend money on crazy advertising, they don’t produce their sneakers in sweat shops or under terrible circumstances and they don’t budget on their morals Thats why we have been obsessed with Veja for quite some time.


There are a ton of pretty heavy barriers to entry in the competitive footwear industry. One which is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, margin crunching, marketing and shifting consumer desires. But this French rooted brand is doing it’s best to throw out traditional through processes and stick to it’s guns. It’s all about keeping it’s eco friendly philosophy as well as turning a profit. From working with ethical sourcing, supply chain and production right through to packaging and distribution all the steps they take are higher than industry standard. Way higher. All products are ethically produced in Brazil.


Many brands have tried to imitate their signature V, but none succeeded. After a few hot years dominating the white sneaker market the brands newest developments into the comfort sneaker space are what’s getting us the most excited. Throughout the pandemic our daily walk has almost become therapeutic pushing models like Venturi and our newest family member the Condor 2 marathon grade running sneaker to the forefront of our wish lists. Utilising organic cotton, recycled materials and fair trade rubber amongst some innovations you can check out our full line up from the V10 to the Esplar, Campo, Venturi and Condor in our Veja store here


Two pairs of Veja sustainable sneakers


 2. Virón

This Parisian shoe house is making vegan and sustainable footwear so bloody effing cool. Definitely one of our innovators to watch out for this year. Their sustainability pillars focus on sustainable, vegan and plant based materials. The brand is founded by Julian Romer as well as Mats Rombaut behind the footwear label Rombaut.


Hot on the point of the current debate around the negative environmental impact of  vegan leathers Virón chooses to use a selection of bio based and innovative plant based textiles instead of the status quo of fashion brands choosing to use PVC and other plastic based materials. All the materials are 100% PETA certified.


The brand also addresses the question of circularity. The sole units are made of 70% consumer waste rubber and old pairs can be sent back to be recycled into new ones. Thats what we call full circle. Our favourites are these 100% vegan boots crafted with an upper made of apple leather (the left over of Northern Italy’s apple juice industry). Coming soon are the vegan sneakers. All products are ethically produced in Portugal. Shop our Virón collection here.


A young man making a dance move presenting a white Viron sneaker 


 3. Humans Are Vain

Premium. Swedish. Conscious. Fashion. Is what defines this brand for us. They fuse the latest vegan sustainable materials and innovative methods with timeless contemporary design. Again moving away from the PVC approach they use materials like pineapple leather and recycled plastic ocean trash. Every pair can also be recycled at the end of the lifecycle into a new pair.

All their factories are currently monitored with their own quality control, which we love. Transparency is everything. All their products are certified 100% vegan which is another important point, they even scrutinise every small part including the glues. Discover our selection of Humans Are Vain here.



Pair of black Humans Are Vain Tide trainers
Pair of white sneakers from Humans Are Vain made with pineapple leather



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