9 Sustainable Sandals That Are Better Than Your Birkenstocks
The Good Trade editors endorse products we’ve personally researched, tested, and genuinely love. Learn more about our methodology and business model here.
Summer’s here and we are ready. From sipping Aperol spritzes at outdoor happy hours, to hanging out at the beach, to visiting our local farmer’s market for the most delicious strawberries, we are embracing all of the warmer weather activities and the fashion that comes along with it. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite brands that are bringing ethical and fair trade sandals to the masses. We love all the new recyclable styles, and are partial to easy slides, ourselves. Happy summer (and shopping)!
Don’t forget to check out our complete guide to sustainable shoes.
Ethics | Female artisan-made in Peru, fair labor practices
Best For | Ankle-strap sandals
Our Pick | Macy Sandal
Price | $70–$115
ABLE knows that investing in women leads to disruptive change: they’re more empowered, economies grow, and generations of poverty are broken. That’s why they craft everything from jewelry to denim to fair trade sandals made by women around the world. And to be fully transparent, they provide wage and cost transparency as well—because all too often, women are held back from the wages they deserve. Consider us hooked—we’ll take every pair possible.
2. Girlfriend Collective
Ethics | Vegan, cruelty-free, zero-waste design, recyclable
Best For | Slides
Our Pick | ReSlide
Price | $58
One of our favorite sustainable brands, Girlfriend Collective, has turned their eco-friendly design practices to shoes. Partnering with Atlanta-based factory Okabashi, they’ve created their first ever shoe: a fully recyclable slide that is as stylish as it is sustainable. Constructed from recycled materials– used shoes, scrap material, and a bio-based material containing soy– this zero-waste design is comfy, lightweight, and can even be cleaned in the top shelf of your dishwasher. When you’re done, send them into the brand’s recycling program ReGirlfriend—your slides will get a new life and you’ll get store credit!
3. Native Shoes
Ethics | Ethically-made, eco-friendly, cruelty-free
Best For | Water-friendly sandals
Our Pick | Spencer X Sandals
Price | $35–$55
Change happens one (literal) step at a time. Native Shoes wants us to feel better and lighter with their animal-free and eco-friendly sandals. These beach-ready sandals are hand-washable, water-resistant, and super affordable. And by 2023, all of Native Shoes’ products will be upcycled and repurposed. Wear to the shore, a waterfall, or anywhere in between.
Ethics | Climate-neutral certified, purchases carbon offsets, recycling program, sustainable fabrics, fair wages and working conditions
Best For | Strappy sandals
Our Pick | Gigi Strappy Mid Heel Sandal
Price | $128–$298
A leader in both trends and sustainability, Reformation has been climate neutral since 2015, with the goal of becoming climate positive by 2025. They also track all their products’ environmental impact with RefScale, publishing everything on their site for full transparency. We love their strappy sandals to instantly transform a casual summer ‘fit into a sexy date night look, or to refresh our favorite wedding guest dress.
Ethics | Artisan-made, beyond fair trade wages, transparent production practices
Best For | Huaraches
Our Pick | Burnt Siena Huaraches
Price | $90–$160
When we think of sustainable and ethical footwear, we immediately think of Nisolo. Their line of boots, oxfords, mules, and sandals are all made ethically working with partners in Peru, Kenya, and Mexico. This offers jobs to more than 500 workers across their supply chain. Nisolo is best known for their huaraches, inspired by pre-Columbian Mexico and perfect for airy summer days.
6. Christy Dawn
Ethics | Fair trade, eco-friendly, made in LA, uses upcycled leather
Best For | Flat sandals
Our Pick | The Monroe Sandal
Price | $238
Handcrafted in Los Angeles by a number of artisans, Christy Dawn reimagines what eco-friendly vintage looks can be. Inspired by Mother Earth and using upcycled deadstock leather and fabric whenever available, they sew together stunning pieces that are limited edition and better for people and the planet. Minimizing our environmental footprint while rocking the perfect, goes-with-everything sandal? Yes, please.
Ethics | Certified B Corp, carbon-neutral, sustainable & responsible materials, gives back, recycled packaging, ethically made
Best For | Cushy sandals
Our Pick | Sugar Sliders
Price | $40–$50
Known for their washable wool sneakers, Allbirds also makes an ultra-comfortable sandal that will keep your feet secure, supported, and cool all day long. In keeping with their sustainable goals, these sandals are made from their unique SweetFoam®, a material derived from sugarcane and the world’s first carbon negative green EVA. Even the straps are made from 100% recycled polyester. We love the cherry or pistachio colorways for a fun, summery pop of color even when you’ve skipped the pedicure.
Ethics | Certified B Corp, vegan options, eco-friendly packaging & materials, gives back
Best For | Fun prints
Our Pick | Carly Sandal
Price | $40-$110
Famous for its original canvas slip-on, TOMS’ shoes have expanded significantly since its founding in 2006, making everything from heels to boots in sizes and styles for the whole family. Their revolutionary one-for-one purchasing model has resulted in over 100 million pairs of shoes given to children in need, and their sustainability agenda is just as bold: The certified B Corp uses vegan and organic or recyclable materials, including natural hemp, organic cotton, and recycled polyester. We love their fun fruit prints and bold patterns to bring a little pep to our steps on hot summer days!
Ethics | Vegan options, on-demand production, fair trade, ethically made in Spain
Best For | Sandals for work
Our Pick | Janice Vegan Leather Sandals
Price | $62–$198
Alohas makes eco-friendly, sustainable sandals handcrafted in Spain using an on-demand model that reduces carbon emissions, fights overproduction, and creates no waste. They handpick providers by working with the Leather Working Group to find ethically sourced leather from environmentally certified suppliers. Alohas also makes vegan options with plant-based material that is sleek and sophisticated enough to shake up your workwear on those sweltering summer days.
Featured image is from Alohas