Designers are creating eco-friendly footwear.

Young consumers, particularly women, would rather wear a socially conscious brand than a luxury brand, preferring companies that make a difference by giving back to society or creating goods that are environmentally friendly. In response, brands are designing shoes made of recycled materials that are stylish, functional, and eco-conscious. 


Adidas began a new partnership with Parley for the Oceans, a company that addresses threats toward the sea by raising awareness and collaborating with companies and creators on eco-forward projects. This collaboration involves producing sneakers and soccer jerseys made of recycled ocean plastic. The first production of the footwear, based on Adidas’s UltraBOOST design, is a limited edition line. The jerseys, representing Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, will be worn by each team during a game to prove they’re eco-friendly and functional.


French designer Philippe Starck took a minimalist approach to the eco-friendly sandal line he created for Ipanema. Each of the four styles, including flip flops and strappy sandals, are available in 12 different colors, from white and black to bright hues. The shoes are made of 30% recycled materials and are a completely recyclable product. A plastic injection moulding technique was used to create them, with the sandal straps attached by hand to the soles, which also includes Starck's signature plus symbol. Starck has also explored other eco-conscious designs like a furniture line and water taps.


Though Brazil is the world’s second largest producer of leather, Insecta Shoes stands apart from the country’s popular industry as a vegan business. The company’s Oxford shoes and Chelsea boots are handcrafted in limited numbers, and every single model is unique. What’s more, the eco-conscious brand upcycles vintage dresses and plastic bottles into one-of-a-kind pairs of shoes. Earning its first million Brazilian reais (equal to $300,000) last year, owner and co-founder Barbara Mattivy says the colorfully patterned shoes sell well because they’re “eco-sexy.”