A Guide to Ethical Women’s Shoes

Ethical Womens Shoes Guide | Curiously Conscious

Something I’m routinely asked is where I source my shoes from. In all honesty, ethical shoes are hard to find, even when you live, breathe, and dream about ethical fashion.

I believe it has something to do with the intricacy of shoemaking – it strikes me as far easier to create an organic cotton t-shirt than the soles, insoles, outers, and buckles of a pair of shoes. Correct me if I’m wrong though!

So, in order to redress the balance, I’ve decided to put together a quick guide to the best brands providing ethical shoes in the UK.

My own shoe collection

I have a surprisingly small collection of shoes. Comprising of eight pairs, I have: black Chelsea boots, black stilettos, black vegan Dr Martens, low-top white casual trainers, black sports trainers, leopard-print flats, silver sandals, and white flip-flops.

For my basics, I’ve had these for years – my stilettos barely leave the box. My Chelsea boots are a H&M rip-off of Acne’s signature boots that I wear almost every day, so while they might not be ethically made, by looking after them I’ve treated them as ethically as possible.

My truly ethical shoes are my silver Matt & Nat sandals that I treated myself to two years ago, and my second-hand leopard-print flats are my newest addition – I wore them in just last week!

And coming from the old-world cobbling capital of the UK, Northamptonshire, I also have to give a shoutout to Dr Martens, who produce a vegan version of their trademark boots, and still have a warehouse in the area. Mine are three years-old and still going strong!

Ethical womens shoes brands

So, here’s my list of ethical shoe brands available in the UK. Please do note that the brands I’ve listed all serve the UK, but may source their shoes, materials or production outside of the UK. Please check with the supplier if you prefer to shop UK-produced only!

Beyond Skin: Vegan shoes that are cute, cool, glitzy and glamourous.

Bourgeois Boheme: Vegan footwear across flats, heels and boots.

Converse Renew: Typical hi-top and low-top styles made from waste materials

Dr Martens: I’m referring to their vegan boots, which I own and love. Read my review!

Everlane: US brand making Italian leather shoes in ethical factories with real transparency.

Fashion Conscience: A mix of different shoe styles and brands, all with different ethics too.

Gather & See: Ethical footwear brands from around the world, stocked in the UK.

Green Shoes: Ready-to-wear and made-to-order ethically made, with a vegan range.

Hooves: Vegan leather and vegan suede desert boots.

Juta Shoes: Espadrilles made from reclaimed materials that help women get into work.

Matt and Nat: Shoes, sandals and heels made from vegan leather, cork, recycled and natural materials.

NAK Shoes: Cruelty-free vegan shoes with a signature black style spanning heels, boots and more.

OFKT: Classic leather brogues reinterpreted in contemporary styles, made in the UK.

Po-Zu: Scandi sneakers, heeled sandals, and even Star Wars themed shoes.

Rockfish: Natural rubber wellingtons made in the UK, stocked by Fat Face.

Veja: Spanish brand producing leather and vegan ethical sneakers – free UK shipping over €150.

Will’s Vegan Shoes: Beautiful brogues, Chelsea boots, trainers and more – all PETA-approved.

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  1. Jenny
    May 30, 2019 / 10:41 am

    Hi, I wear flats a lot for work – ballet style and/or pointed – and would love some washable ones like Rothys, but can’t seem to find that sort of thing here in the UK. Any ideas please?

    • besma
      May 30, 2019 / 10:56 am

      Hi Jenny, thanks for the comment. I’d not heard of Rothys until now – the shoes look great! Unfortunately I’ve also not seen anything like them before, UK-made or otherwise. I’ll keep an eye out and let you know if I do x

  2. Sara
    February 13, 2019 / 11:08 am

    Which is the best brand for sports shoes?

    • besma
      February 13, 2019 / 4:05 pm

      Great question Sara – while Po-Zu and Veja both offer ethical sneakers, neither are designed with sport in mind. I know that Adidas partnered with Parley to create recycled plastic sports trainers, which might be worth looking into. Otherwise, Patagonia may have the type of shoe you’re looking for x

  3. Hollie
    October 11, 2018 / 5:08 pm

    Thank you for this guide! Do you have any suggestions for loafers / office appropriate shoes that are under £200? I’m struggling to find suitable options that are available in the UK!

    • besma
      October 15, 2018 / 3:56 pm

      Hi Hollie, my pleasure! That’s a great question, especially as I was doing the same a few months ago! If you’re looking for first-hand, I would try Everlane, Matt & Nat, or my favourite wishlist place OFKT on Etsy.

      Otherwise, try Oxfam Online – I picked up a pair of lace-up flats à la Alexa Chung a little while ago for only £12! You can see them in this post.

      B x

  4. Ellie
    September 23, 2018 / 6:55 pm

    Pics please! (Of your shoe collection) Intrigued

    • besma
      October 1, 2018 / 8:14 pm

      That’s a great idea! I’ll have to do a post in the near future.

      B x

  5. Loretta
    August 24, 2018 / 6:46 am

    Thanks to the wonderful guide

    • besma
      August 24, 2018 / 1:57 pm

      My pleasure Loretta!

  6. Johanna
    August 19, 2018 / 9:14 am

    Do you have any recommendations for cosy slippers that are ethical and vegan?

    • besma
      August 20, 2018 / 9:31 pm

      Hi Johanna, that’s a great question! I am currently wearing a pair of linen slippers from Muji, which have lasted me just over 12 months now. Materials-wise they’re great, however they are made in China.

      I’ll certainly keep an eye out for any others too! x

  7. February 20, 2018 / 10:35 am

    I agree with you Besma, I think finding ethical shoes really can be a challenge! Especially if you’re picky, or you have awkwardly sized feet.

    I’ve looked in charity shops many times, but there is rarely shoes in my size. If on the odd occasion a pair does appear, they’re usually not to my taste, which is always a shame.

    I suppose this is why you should always invest in options that will last, and also take care of your shoes to they can go the extra mile (haha).

    Out of your shoes, which is your favourite pair Besma?

    • besma
      February 20, 2018 / 10:45 am

      You’re so right Emma – I’ve only ever bought my leopard-print flats from a charity shop, and they took me a long time to find!

      My favourite pair has to be my Chelsea boots, and they’ve lasted a long time now. I’m thinking of asking for a new pair for my birthday, as ethical shoes really are an investment – but I know I’ll wear them pretty much every day!

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