Sustainable Footwear: Shoes to Make a Difference

For a long time, the industry associated high fashion with the use of leather, furs, and other animal products to create luxury textiles not always in the most ethical ways. While animal cruelty and unsustainable practices are very much still an issue today, the growing global concern for minimal impact on the environment and surroundings have influenced consumers’ buying habits, with shoppers only wanting to buy apparel that supported human, animal and environmental rights.

But there’s a certain stigma that also comes with buying fair trade, as products that fall under that category tend to be pricier than their fast fashion counterparts. But numerous retailers are working hard to change the mindset of the masses, to invest in a cause that also complements their sense of style. Even footwear companies like Will’s Vegan Shoes are doing what they can to bridge the gap between everyday people and their ethically made vegan products.

Over the years, more ethical shoe brands have gained traction among the fashion conscious, purchasing footwear from brands that maintain the values of love and respect throughout the entire production process. Respectable names in high fashion have even jumped on the bandwagon, including Stella McCartney who is formerly known as the Creative Director for Chloé. “Renowned for her ethically conscious and socially aware collections,” as described by Lyst, her eponymous brand uses vegetarian leather, woven and faux materials for her clothes, shoes and accessories, which are made in select factories in Italy that specialize in non-leather production.
Shoes have always given women a sense of empowerment. Women’s footwear expert Dr. Valerie Steele explains that shoes have this autonomous quality, a structural aesthetic that clothes seem to lack and provides us a bit of insight as to why ladies are so obsessed with their shoe collection. The undeniable attachment between a woman and her shoes perhaps is one of the more successful ways to connect the consumer with a greater purpose. Ethical shoes are the perfect medium to inform the public that fashion is not a superficial industry; rather, it’s also platform to increase awareness for societal issues.

So the next time you’re out shoe shopping, consider doing your research beforehand to find out which companies you should be supporting.

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