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10 Best Sustainable Footwear Brands for Older Women

By Sandra Roussy November 06, 2022 Makeup and Fashion

Are you trying to live an eco-friendly and green lifestyle? Have you made conscious choices to reduce your carbon footprint? Do you recycle, compost, buy less, eat organic or vegan, and buy sustainable clothing? Doing a few or all of these things is a good way to protect our planet and also our health.

List of sustainable footwear brands for women over 50:

  1. Able
  2. Allbirds
  3. Cariuma
  4. Everlane
  5. Nisolo
  6. Rothy’s
  7. Toms
  8. Veerah
  9. Veja
  10. Vivaia

Most of us don’t stop to think much about our footwear. Did you know that the footwear industry is one of the most polluting industries, along with the clothing industry? Shoes, sandals, and boots are typically made from a toxic mixture of man-made rubber, plastics, glues, dyes, and harmful chemicals. 

Thankfully, several companies have branded themselves sustainable over the past years, providing you with a lot of choices in that department – sustainable clothing and footwear are more accessible than ever.

What Does Sustainable Mean?

The word sustainable can mean many things and can be confusing when applied to things like shoes, right?

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word sustainable as using a source efficiently so that it doesn’t disappear completely. That can mean using less of it or assuring that it is replaced. A good example in the footwear industry is the use of rubber. Man-made rubber is cheap and widely used. Natural rubber comes from trees and is a more expensive source. Harvesting rubber trees at the same rate as they are taken is considered sustainable. Also, an important one in the footwear industry is abiding by strict animal welfare guidelines for leather production. 

Designers and brands responded to the demand when consumers wanted to know more about the products that they were buying. Where is the new item made, and by who? What is it made of? 

Sustainability is also applied to the production process and shipping methods. This means keeping in mind environmental concerns and social justice issues during the production and distribution of items. 

  • Natural fibers grown without pesticides.
  • Fabrics and materials created with fewer chemical additives and dyes.
  • Recycled, upcycled, and recyclable materials.
  • Cruelty-free.
  • Environmentally friendly manufactured, packaged, and distributed.
  • Manufacturers who implement ethical and fair labor conditions.

Some words, certifications, and terms to look for:

The movie True Cost exposes the fashion industry in grim and transparent detail. You may be able to watch it on Netflix or Prime depending on which country you live in.

But should we all stop buying clothing? Of course not. If you’re like me, you like cute shoes and boots – but you still want to save the planet, right? Well, maybe not save the planet, but at least not make it any worse by being conscious about your consumer habits and making the changes where you can. In my book, purchasing sustainable footwear is an easy one to achieve. 

Some brands exclusively offer 100% sustainable shoes and boots while others offer a selection in their collections. 

Best Sustainable Footwear Brands for Older Women

Able

Able

Able is a sustainable clothing and shoe brand that specializes in timeless and elegant designs. The Able color palette typically consists of neutrals and basics – like tan, black, and white. They offer shoes, sandals, and boots using responsible leather and employ international women artisans. 

Sustainability initiatives:

  • Certified B Corp
  • Eco-friendly packaging
  • Fair labor and healthy wages
  • Leather Working Group certified
  • Promotes women artisans

Allbirds

Allbirds

Allbirds design simple and ultra comfortable footwear for men, women, and kids. The main fabrics used are sustainable merino wool and Tencel. They ensure environmental and animal-friendly practices throughout the production and distribution of their products.

Sustainability initiatives:

  • Certified B Corp
  • Carbon-neutral 
  • SMETA Certified production
  • Natural and recycled materials 
  • WRAP Certified

Cariuma

Cariuma

Cariuma designs super stylish and comfortable sustainable footwear for men and women. They use GOTS-certified organic cotton, bamboo, recycled PET, and are Leather Working Group-certified. Furthermore, when you purchase a pair of shoes they plant 2 trees in Brazil. 

Sustainability initiatives:

  • Ethically made via ILO standards
  • Natural materials
  • Low impact dyes
  • Carbon-neutral 
  • Reforestation program

Everlane

Everlane

Everlane is an ethical fashion brand for men and women. Their footwear collections are minimalistic and yet trendy. They practice Radical Transparency, offering a look inside the true cost of apparel and footwear production. They also abide by The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare for their leather goods and don’t use any new plastics. 

Sustainability initiatives:

  • GOTS Organic Cotton Certification
  • Recycled plastics
  • Leather Group Certified
  • Sneaker recycling program
  • OEKO-TEX Certified
  • BRS Certified

Nisolo

Nisolo

Nisolo makes intentionally designed, ethical, and fair traded footwear for men and women. Production is made in Peru in collaboration with artisans who are assured living wages and healthy working conditions. 

Sustainability initiatives:

  • Artisan-made
  • Certified B Corp
  • Fair labor and wages
  • Climate-neutral certified
  • Leather Working Group certified 
  • Vegetable-tanned leather

Rothy’s

Rothy’s

Rothy’s uses single-use plastics found within 30 miles from a coastline (probably bound for the ocean). They have managed to recycle 125 million plastic bottles (and counting) to create their signature material to create their products. They have a recycling program to minimize landfill issues where you can return your used Rothy’s that they will recycle responsibly and offer you a discount on your next purchase. 

Sustainability initiatives: 

  • Recycled plastic materials
  • Recycling program
  • Sustainable packaging
  • Fair labor practices

Toms

Toms

In 2006 Toms started the initiative of giving a pair of shoes to a child in need with every pair they sold. They have provided up to 100 million pairs of shoes to children all over the world. Today the company gives back ⅓ of its profits to grassroots organizations. 

Sustainability initiatives:

  • Certified B Corp
  • Recycled materials
  • Fair labor and wages
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Eco-friendly packaging  
  • Leather Working Group certified

Veerah

Veerah

Veerah offers vegan dressy shoes for women. The stylish brand is led by women and made for women. All of the shoes are ethically made using only vegan, innovative materials. That means no leather, suede, or any other animal products are used. For example, they use materials that come from apple peel leather and recycled plastic textile. 

Sustainability initiatives:

  • PETA Cruelty free vegan
  • Recycled plastic
  • Organic cotton
  • 1% of revenue go directly to social impact causes
  • Recycled packaging

Veja

Veja

Veja works with farms in Brazil and the Amazon to produce their casual shoes and sneakers. As part of their giving-back program, they partner with a charity that employs marginalized people as a way to help them reintegrate into society. Veja uses vegan leather and recycled plastic mesh to create their sneakers. 

Sustainability initiatives:

  • Certified B Corp
  • Vegan leather
  • Fair trade practices
  • Organic cotton
  • Upcycled materials

Vivaia

Vivaia

Vivaia’s mission is to create stylish, comfortable, and sustainable footwear that is eco-friendly and sustainable. They use 3D plastics to produce the shoes, minimizing waste altogether.

Sustainability initiatives:

  • Recycled plastic bottles
  • Zero waste process
  • Recycled packaging material
  • Fair trade

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you wear sustainable footwear? Which brand is your favorite on our list? Do you want to add another brand to our list? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sue

Thank you, great info.

I do have a thought about another article you wrote; Plus size clothing that listed best places to buy plus sizes. I tried 80% of the sites and some had great quality and offered great styles, however most did not ship internationally. Is there any chance you would consider another article on finding clothes for us ‘chubettes’ that do ship internationally??

Sandra Roussy

Hi Sue,

Thanks for your comment.

I didn’t realize that most of the brands did not ship internationally. Thank you so much for pointing that out. Where are you located exactly?

I will consider writing an article that includes international shipments.

Cheers!
Sandra

The Author

Sandra is the middle-aged woman you hear about who sheds everything she owns and sets out into the world to rediscover and redefine herself. After more than twenty years spent in the fashion industry designing collections for brands such as La Senza, Victoria’s Secret, and JACOB Lingerie, she shifted her path and pursued her longtime passion for writing, traveling, and photography. Sandra was published in the NY Times best selling book Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It. A deeply personal essay hand-picked by Elizabeth Gilbert about loss, facing fears, and going after dreams. Visit her website: www.sandraroussy.com

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