Sustainable fashion and a sustainable lifestyle in general, can sometimes feel like a looong road trip that doesn’t really end. 

It’s easy to get caught up in feeling like you’ll never be able to buy sustainable products to live ‘truly’ sustainably and that whatever you already own isn’t good enough. 

It’s this consumer-driven attitude that makes it hard to enjoy the journey- and honestly solely focusing on the next thing you can buy to be sustainable, actually isn’t that sustainable. 

Instead, we should focus on using what we already own, caring for our pieces and making them last and then replacing the item with a sustainable option at the end of its life. 

To help promote a re-thinking of what sustainable fashion means, I’ve created a new series, From the Toes Up.

This series features buying guides and tips to consider when purchasing new sustainable pieces- again, only when you’ve burned through your existing ones, as well as care guidelines to help make your new closet addition last as long as possible, all to help you build the sustainable closet of your dreams. 

Today we’re starting with- you guessed it- the ‘toes’ part of the series, or more specifically, footwear. 

Below you’ll find the key terms and materials to look out for when selecting sustainable boots, recommended brand, as well as sustainable boot care tips to keep your sustainable boots in tip top shape. 

Components of a Sustainable Boot

When it comes to shopping for sustainable boots, here’s a guideline for what to look out for: 

  • Upper: vegan leather, vegetable tanned animal-based leather, deadstock leather where possible 
  • Outsole: rubber (Fair Trade, responsibly sourced, recycled where possible)
  • Insole: vegan leather or natural fabric
  • Lining: organic cotton or natural fabric is ideal for breathability 
  • Laces: look for laces that have metal aglets as opposed to plastic 

One common component of a lot of sustainable boots included in this list below, is the inclusion of vegan or animal- based leather.

If you want to take a deep dive into both types of leather and decide which option is best for you, check out this post here.

Also be sure to check out this sustainable shopping guide for clothing.

For reference, the brands below are priced in USD.

Price Range:

$= typically under $150

$$= typically under $300

$$$= typically under $500

$$$= typically $500+

Alice & Whittles

Alice and Whittles offers functional and minimalistic footwear.

They carry hiking boots, rain boots, sneakers, boot laces, insoles.

Based in Ontario, ship worldwide

They use natural fair trade rubber, re-claimed ocean plastics, recycled PET, vegan water based glue

Price Range: $

All of its supply chain is traced

Favorite Item: Classic Black Riding Rain Boot


AERA is a luxury vegan footwear brand that offsets their environmental impact 110%. 

They carry women’s boots, flats, heels, sandals, loafers, mules, platform sandals, pumps, men’s boots, derbies, loafers

Based in New York, ships throughout US

They use recycled ABS plastic, Thunit leather, bio polyols from field corn, cotton, polyester, polyurethane, poly-viscose, polystyrene, nylon

Price Range: $$$$

Certifications: Positive Luxury Brands to Trust, PETA, Carbon Negative by SCS Global Services

Favorite Item: the Gisele

Beyond Skin

Beyond Skin is a luxury vegan footwear brand that offers timeless and seasonless shoes.

They carry women’s sandals, flats, boots, heels, loafers, pumps, trainers, mules, accessories.

Based in England, ships worldwide

They use cotton-backed polyurethane (PU) leather, recycled faux leather, vegetable polymer coating, polyester satin

Their packaging is recycled or recyclable

Price Range: $$$

Certifications: PETA

Most of its supply chain is traced

Give Back Programs: donates 5% of profits to grass-root environmental and social projects

Favorite Item: Kelly Black Block Heel Over The Knee Vegan Boots

Bionda Castana

Bionda Castana offers a zero-waste made to order footwear system. 

They carry women’s pumps, sandals, mules, mid-heels, flats, boots.

Based in UK, ships worldwide

They use recycled materials

Price Range: $$$$

Favorite Item: Sahar Khaki Calf Suede Fringed Ankle Boot 100 MM 


They carry boots, clogs, flats, pumps

Based in New York, ships worldwide

They use vegetable tanned leather, rubber, shearling, suede

Price Range: $$$

Most of its supply chain is traced

Favorite Item: Darbette Boot

Christy Dawn

They carry dresses, jumpsuits, bottoms, tops, footwear, outerwear, kids’ wear

Based in California, ships worldwide

They use deadstock leather, organic cotton

Price Range: $$$

All of its supply chain is traced

Favorite Item: The Dawn Boot

Good Guys

They carry women’s boots, sneakers, clogs, mules, sandals, flats, men’s boots, sneakers, clogs, sandals, casual shoes, accessories

Based in France, ships worldwide

They use vegan leather, wood, AppleSkin

Packaging: shoe boxes made from recycled paper

Certications: OEKO-TEX Standard 100, PETA

Price Range: $$

Favourite Item: Lucky Brown Vegan Western Boots


They carry women’s boots, flats, sandals, sneakers, heels, men’s boots, sneakers, sandals

Based in Portugal, ships worldwide

They use Pinatex, organic cotton, cork, recycled PET, vegan leather (mix of cotton, polyester and nylon)

Certications: PETA

Price: $

Favorite Item: Luce Black Vegan Boots


They carry women’s boots, sneakers, flats, oxfords, loafers, mules, sandals, men’s boots, sneakers, loafers, slip ons, oxfords

Based in Tennessee, ships throughout US

They use leather

Price Range: $$

Favorite Item: Classic Chelsea Boot 


They carry men’s boots, shoes, loafers, sneakers, women’s boots, shoes, loafers, sneakers, heels, flats

Based in Germany, ships worldwide

They use polyester, cork, rubber

Certications: PETA

Price Range: $$

Most of its supply chain is traced

Favorite Item: Ginevra Vegan Boot


They carry sandals, boots, mules, pumps, custom heels and sandals

Based in California, ships worldwide

They use recycled materials

Price Range: $$$

Favorite Item: Sock Boot in Sloe


They carry men’s and women’s sneakers, women’s boots

Based in Italy, ships worldwide

They use chrome-free leather from slaughtering waste, AppleSkin, polyurethane

They use recycled packaging

Price Range: $$

Most of its supply chain is traced

Favorite Item: Vegan Loop White 

Will’s Vegan Store

They carry women’s shoes, accessories, knitwear, men’s shoes, accessories, knitwear, kids’ shoes

Based in UK, ships worldwide

They use vegan leather, rubber, vegan suede

Certications: PETA

Price Range: $

Favorite Item: Riding Boots

Sustainable Boot Care

One major component of sustainable fashion is proper garment care- this includes boot care too!

To ensure your sustainable boots last as long as possible, here are some boot care tips to consider: 

For waterproof vegan leather boots: 

  • To remove any dirt, wipe with warm water, soap and a cloth or brush, then dry

For non-waterproof vegan leather boots: 

  • For general maintenance or to remove dirt, using a synthetic leather shoe cleaner, water and a soft brush, gently scrub then wipe with a clean cloth to dry

For vegan suede boots:

  • Gently wipe with a damp cloth to remove any dirt

For animal- based leather boots: 

  • Clean using a soft dry cloth. 
  • Be sure to use a leather protectant spray 

For animal-based suede boots: 

  • Be sure to use a suede protectant spray 
  • To remove dirt, gently brush with a designated suede brush

Always consult the care guidelines provided by the manufacturer on their website for the most accurate care information, specific to your ethical boots. 

If you want to learn more about how to properly care for your garments, check out this post. 

Until next time,

Leave a Comment