Summer is here, and even though in many parts of the country it’s been unseasonably cool, it’s sandals season and we’re not letting the weather stand in our way. Here are seven of our favorite pairs of sandals made by companies that prioritize eco-friendly and responsible business practices. Now, schedule that pedicure and sandal up!
This lightweight slip-on is made from locally sourced leather and recycled tires. In fact, Brave Souls is responsible for upcycling more than a thousand tires in the name of fashionable footwear. If that weren’t enough, 10 percent of the revenue from each pair of Oceana slides purchased goes to the Dominican Republic Education and Mentoring Project, which helps provide environmental awareness to more than 7,000 children in the Dominican Republic. Pair these with your white jeans, STAT!
Ahimsa Telma Sandals, $139
You’d never know this Brazilian brand uses vegan leather in its handmade shoes. All the shoes are made in the Ahimsa factory, which is 100 percent vegan. The brand is committed not only to sustainable manufacturing but also to educating consumers about a vegan lifestyle from plate to purse. Aside from that, these chunky slides are super trendy and super comfy, with a padded footbed and a lightweight sole — perfect for an evening stroll to get ice cream.
I’ve written about this brand more than once, and it’s because their shoes are exquisite and the company deserves good press. Made from vegan recycled textiles (including reclaimed wood blocks for all the heels) and a deadstock metal buckle, these gorgeous blue sandals will truly never go out of style. So yes, while they are something of an investment, you can feel good about wearing them for years to come. Just in case you forgot, Rafa products are handmade in Los Angeles by 20 different artisans, all of whom are paid a fair wage. Rafa even makes made-to-order shoes, if that’s more your style. It’s my style. Someone please buy me these shoes!
Sometimes, you just need a pair of sandals for the pool, and this minimalist gray pair fits the bill. These shoes are made from natural rubber and vegan leather, and the soles are made from recycled tires (are you sensing a theme here?). They also have excellent arch support and a super-cushioned sole. Definitely a cut above the slides you’ve been wearing.
These gorgeous brown suede wedges are practically begging to be worn with your new summer sundress on a date night. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Able produces minimalist shoes handcrafted by women in Peru using fair labor practices. Able is dedicated to improving the lives of women around the world by consistently hiring female artisans.
These sandals were handmade in Guatemala for beyond fair-trade wages. The genuine leather upper and lining are hand-stitched, and the grayish-black color is a surprisingly perfect neutral that goes with everything. The Root Collective partners with small, independent business owners as a way to put money back into communities in Guatemala. By doing so, they are working to reduce poverty and gang violence through safe, stable jobs. That means you should probably buy two pairs.
These may look like your average strappy sandals, but Alterre Shoes is committed to ending the cycle of fast fashion with interchangeable straps that attach to a variety of bases. That means you can buy this beachy blush and teal combo and then buy the coral straps later (I could hardly pick which pair I liked better — so best to get both). Alterre’s shoes are designed in New York and made in fair labor factories in Brazil. In addition, 5 percent of proceeds are donated to Restore NYC, a nonprofit that provides long-term rehabilitation to sex-trafficking survivors in New York City.
Jessica Suss is a native Chicagoan residing in Washington, D.C. She is currently getting her master’s degree in secondary English education at the University of Maryland. She enjoys petting other people’s dogs and is faithful to Lou Malnati’s alone. Jessica is also a supporter of MAZON and No Kid Hungry.