On the hunt for some conscious kicks?
The footwear industry is notorious for its use of virgin plastic and with 90% of shoes ending up in landfill, its environmental footprint is huge.
Fortunately, several brands are helping us put our best foot forward by creating recycled shoes made out of more sustainable materials.
So, what companies makes recycled shoes? Luckily (for both your feet and the planet), lots of brands now make shoes made of recycled materials.
Our Favorite Brands For Recycled Shoes
There are a thousand uses for used plastic bottles, shoes from Thousand Fell being one of them. Not only are their shoes made from recycled materials (plastic bottles, yoga mats, and food waste) but they are 100% recyclable, too.
Vivaia’s recycled bottle shoes are made using a low-waste knit technology. Most of their models are machine washable, helping you hold onto each pair for longer.
To protect our collective home while at home, Dooeys offers house shoes made out of recycled materials that are also plant-based—like recycled apple scraps and cork!
Now pull up your ethical socks and get ready to step out in sustainable style with more fashion-forward, planet-friendly footwear.
If you want to know how we chose our favorite brands offering recycled material shoes, sprint down to the end of the article.
Our Curated List Of 11 Brands Making Shoes Made From Recycled Plastic & Other Recycled Materials
1. Thousand Fell
Price Range | $125–$135 (+$20 recycling deposit) | Shop Thousand Fell’s Shoes
Materials | Thousand Fell uses a vegan leather upper made from recycled bottles, coated with corn waste resin and a natural quartz barrier to provide water and stain resistance. Other materials include a natural rubber outsole, a recycled rubber insole (made from yoga mats), castor bean oil foam cushioning, aloe vera coated antimicrobial sock liner, palm leaf fibers, sugar cane, and coconut husks.
What We Love | Championing the circular economy, Thousand Fell creates vegan, zero-waste, closed-loop shoes that are durable, repairable, and recyclable, either to be refurbished or broken down into new shoe materials. How’s that for hitting the sustainability nail on the head (er, toe)?!
Thousand Fell’s Recycled Shoes
What is a recycled shoe?
Ask Thousand Fell. The NYC-based brand offers a collection of stylish, comfortable shoes made from recycled plastic bottles, yoga mats, and food waste.
Their classic sneaker designs include the Men’s and Women’s Lace Up. Breathable, comfortable, and durable, these can easily become your go-to sustainable sneaker as it has ours.
We also tested their Women’s Slip-On and can say that these slip-ons don’t slip-up when it comes to both comfort and performance. They’re light, warm, and feature comfortable foot beds capable of walking for miles.
For either, choose between White, Dune, Black, and Stone, or add a pop of color to your recycled plastic sneakers with one of several bright color accents.
Thousand Fell’s Sustainability
Carbon Goals & Achievements | Circular processes are an environmental win, eliminating the carbon cost of creating new materials. Thousand Fell also takes part in carbon offset programs, and makes their local (NYC) deliveries by bike.
Supply Chain | The brand’s recycled plastic shoes are made at a family-owned factory in Brazil, where they prioritize using locally sourced materials, including palm fiber, sugarcane, and coconut husk food waste.
Pay It Forward | Refurbished shoes are donated to those in need via a partnership with Soles4Souls, in addition to their 1% for the Planet membership.
Price Range | $97–$199 | Shop VIVAIA’s Shoes
Materials | Recycled PET, hemp, recycled faux fur (from post-consumer recycled plastic), natural rubber, recycled rubber, rice husks, Artemisia Argyi Herbal/PU foam, Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
What We Love | VIVAIA’s plastic bottle shoes come in several stylish and versatile designs and are created using a low-waste process. At least six bottles go into each pair.
VIVAIA’s Recycled Women’s Shoes
Their collection of women’s shoes made from recycled plastic includes boots, flats, heels, loafers, mules, sandals, and sneakers.
For fashion-forward flats that don’t cost the earth, the Margot Square-Toe V-Cut Flats come in a huge selection of colors and prints and tick all our boxes for flats made out of recycled plastic.
Equally happy on the beach or in the office, the stretchy, breathable uppers are easy to slip on, and you can say goodbye to smelly feet with the deodorizing insole made from the Artemisia Argyi plant and PU foam.
They’re also machine-washable and foldable, perfect for throwing in your suitcase for your next travel adventure.
They offer two models of sneakers for men, too.
Carbon Goals & Achievements | VIVAIA’s manufacturing partner uses some renewable energy and takes steps to reduce its energy usage. Uppers are made from recycled bottles using a knit technology that reduces production waste by 30%.
Supply Chain | The shoes are made at a regularly inspected factory in Dongguan, China, that ensures good working conditions.
Pay It Forward | VIVAIA supports several charities, including SOS Children’s Village and United Breast Cancer Foundation (UBCF). This year, they donated 706 pairs of new shoes to Dress For Success, a non-profit helping women achieve economic success.
3. Native Shoes
Price Range | $32–$160 | Shop Native Shoes’ Shoes
Materials | Sugarlite™ (a blend of sugar cane resin and EVA), RISE by BLOOM (an algae-based alternative to petroleum-based EVA), EVA, Clarino Tirrenina™ (a solvent-free microfiber alternative to natural leather made in a way that produces 35% less CO2 and uses 70% less water than conventional microfiber), recycled PET, and recycled rubber.
What We Love | Vancouver-based Native Shoes takes its climate impact seriously. Their Jefferson shoe leaves a carbon footprint of only 3.85kg CO2e per pair, meaning these lightweight shoes help you tread more lightly on the planet.
Native Shoes‘ Recycled Shoes
With a large collection of shoes, boots, and sandals made from recycled materials, you can kit your feet out in sustainable style with a pair of shoes from Native Shoes.
The PETA-Approved Vegan company is a great place to find recycled kids shoes, too, with plenty of colors and styles to choose from.
Sweet dreams are made of…sugarcane, and that’s also what you’ll find as an ingredient in the 40% sugarcane-based EVA used for several models.
The best-selling Jefferson Sugarlite™ comes in a choice of fun prints. These lightweight shoes have a perforated upper and are hand washable. They’re also odor-resistant and shock-absorbent.
Native Shoes’ Sustainability
Carbon Goals & Achievements | Native Shoes has set SBTi-approved science-based targets for reducing its carbon footprint. By 2030, they aim to cut their Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 42% via clearly defined steps.
Supply Chain | All collections are made in China and Vietnam in factories committed to responsible working practices. Native visits their factories several times annually to ensure ethical working conditions are upheld.
Pay It Forward | Can shoes be recycled? With Native, they can. The Native Shoes Remix™ Project sorts shoes for donating or reclaiming raw materials (like insulation). The brand partners with Indigenous-led organizations working to create positive change through reconciliation and youth projects.
Price Range | $79–$169 | Shop Cariuma’s Shoes
Materials | Organic cotton, natural rubber, cork, bamboo, sugarcane, organic mamona oil, recycled nylon, recycled PET. Cariuma uses leather and suede from Leather Working Group Gold-Rated tanneries, and bluesign® approved chemicals to dye their fabric.
What We Love | We can feel good knowing that the vintage-inspired kicks from Certified B Corp Cariuma are ethically manufactured—especially since 65% of their products are vegan.
Cariuma’s Recycled Shoes
Offering hi-tops and low-tops, Cariuma is the place to go for classic-style sneakers made from recycled materials.
Embrace old-school cool in a pair of vegan canvas sneakers from the OCA Low collection. The vegan version of the brand’s signature sneaker features an organic cotton canvas upper, a cushioned vegan insole (made from bio memory foam, cork, and mamona oil), and a natural rubber outsole.
The lining, laces, labels, and threads are all made from recycled plastic bottles.
There are lots of great colors and prints to choose from. Art lovers, check out the Cariuma collaboration for some stunning wearable art.
Carbon Goals & Achievements | Cariuma’s solar-powered warehouse is LEED Gold-Certified. They offer carbon-neutral shipping via a partnership with DHL’s GoGreen. Shoes ship in an FSC-certified recycled and recyclable box colored with soy-based ink.
Supply Chain | Committed to fair wages and prioritizing the well-being of their workers, Cariuma works with a WRAP GOLD-certified manufacturing partner and has a comprehensive Code of Conduct. They’re increasing traceability at all levels of their supply chain, currently able to trace 100%, 85%, and 55” of tier one , tier two, and tier three suppliers, respectively.
Pay It Forward | Cariuma supports reforestation projects in Brazil by planting two trees for every pair of recycled sneakers sold, totaling over two million so far.
Price Range | $130–$140 | Shop Dooeys’ Shoes
Materials | Vegan apple leather (made from apple juice industry waste), recycled polyester, sugarcane EVA, cork, organic cotton, recycled rubber, and recycled foam.
What We Love | Taking house shoes to the next level, Dooey’s 100% vegan slippers are made from plant-based and recycled materials.
Dooey’s Recycled Sandals & Mules
For comfy slip-on house shoes made out of recyclable materials, Dooeys has your back (or rather your feet).
Their collection includes supportive and stylish loafers, mules, and sandals made from recycled materials.
Available in black, beige, or gray, their House Mules make the ultimate slipper shoe for at-home comfort.
We own a pair and absolutely adore how comfortable the contoured cork insoles are. Despite being “house” mules, you can definitely catch us out running errands in these surprisingly supportive and stylish shoes.
Carbon Goals & Achievements | Shipping is carbon offset and shoes are made in small batches.
Supply Chain | Dooey’s shoes are ethically made in small batches by a small factory in Portugal.
Price Range | $138–$209 | Shop Thesus’ Shoes
Materials | Thesus offers shoes made from recycled ocean plastic, recycled and natural rubber, recycled PU, recycled foam, recycled plastic, and recycled PET plastic water bottles.
What We Love | For recycled shoes, Canada’s Thesus makes some of the best, being100% vegan and created from 95–100% recycled materials.
Thesus’ Recycled Ocean Plastic Shoes
Their all-seasons Weekend Boot is perfect for outdoor adventures, wherever your day off takes you.
Featuring a nylon upper made from recycled ocean plastic, an anti-slip natural and recycled rubber sole, and a memory foam insole, these 98% virgin plastic free boots are designed for comfort both for you and the planet.
If boots aren’t your style, they also offer more casual clogs to slip-on before running errands.
Carbon Goals & Achievements | The Canadian brand supports the UN’s SDGS and ultimately aims to be regenerative and Climate Positive.
Supply Chain | All shoes are made in Portugal, and Thesus is committed to providing living wages.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | The BIPOC and woman-owned recycled shoes brand is committed to equality in the workplace and celebrates diversity.
Price Range | $39–$135 | Shop SUAVS’ Shoes
Materials | Knit uppers feature 100% recycled materials (i.e. post-consumer plastic bottles), with a foam insole, and rubber outsole.
What We Love | Lightweight, packable, machine washable, and quick drying, these recycled water bottle shoes are the ultimate shoes for traveling.
SUAVS‘ Shoes Made From Recycled Plastic
This recycled shoes USA brand is committed to creating versatile, sustainable footwear.
SUAVS offers several styles of women’s and men’s shoes made from recycled plastic, including low tops, high tops, and slip-ons, all made with the same soft and stretchy knitted upper.
For twenty-four-seven comfort and style, The 247 might just become your go-to pair of shoes. The minimalist, versatile design will take you from work to dinner, the gym, or the beach with ease.
The breathable and moisture-wicking upper means they can be worn with or without socks and, with an-all terrain sole, they’re ready for any adventure.
Carbon Goals & Achievements | To reduce packaging and shipment sizes, each pair comes in a compact, dual purpose shoebox/shipping box.
Supply Chain | These recycled plastic bottle shoes are ethically and sustainably made by SUAVS’ manufacturing partner in Fujian, China.
Pay It Forward | Any unsold pairs of SUAVS’ water bottle shoes are donated to those in need via Soles4Souls.
Price Range | $119–$159 | Shop Tropicfeel’s Shoes
Materials | Recycled nylon and polyester, recycled EVA, organic cotton, and Bloom algae foam.
What We Love | For one shoe that does it all, turn to Tropicfeel, whose travel-friendly recycled material sneakers are designed to meet all of your adventure needs so you can keep your luggage and your impact light.
Tropicalfeel’s Recycled Footwear
Tropicalfeel is “committed to inspiring conscious travel and leaving a positive footprint”.
They offer two types of all-terrain footwear: water-friendly and weatherproof.
The former is perfect for summer and warm climate adventuring. The mesh fabric on the side of the shoes will let some water in, and they dry quickly. Conversely, the weatherproof sneakers are designed to keep your feet dry (just avoid submerging your feet).
Dune is their all-terrain, water-friendly sneaker designed for city adventures and beyond. Each recycled material pair is made with 77% recycled polyester and 20% recycled EVA.
The foldable heel allows you to go from sneakers to slippers, and because they weigh only 0.2kg, they’re ideal for travel.
Carbon Goals & Achievements | Tropicfeel has partnered with BCome to measure the impact of their products. They offset 100% of their carbon emissions and are in the process of becoming carbon-neutral certified.
Supply Chain | Products are made in Vietnam or China, and manufacturing partners are carefully chosen for their ethical manufacturing. Supplier certifications include BSCI, Better Work Program, bluesign®, GOTS, GRS, and ISO14001. The brand’s partnership with Retraced provides full transparency of its supply chain.
Pay It Forward | Tropicfeel is a member of 1% for the Planet.
Price Range | $50–$170 | Shop Allbirds’ Shoes
Materials | ZQ-Certified Merino Wool, TENCEL™ lyocell, Proforest-certified SweetFoam® (the world’s first carbon negative EVA), FSC-certified natural rubber, castor bean oil, recycled PET plastic, bio-TPU, and recycled nylon.
What We Love | Serious about sustainability, Allbirds is committed to reducing its impact through regenerative farming, renewable energy, and the innovative use of natural, renewable materials in their recycled running shoes.
Allbirds‘ Recycled Shoes
Allbirds is committed to using as many natural materials as possible but also uses recycled synthetics for increased durability when necessary.
Their collection includes casual sneakers, flats, slip-ons, high tops, sandals, and running shoes made from recycled plastic for men, women, and kids.
The Men’s and Women’s Tree Runners are ideal for warmer weather. Featuring a lightweight, breathable upper made from TENCEL™ lyocell (from FSC-certified eucalyptus tree fiber), a heel lining made from ZQ-Certified wool, and a sugarcane-based EVA midsole, these pebblemag tied and tested sneakers help us tread lightly and comfortably.
Carbon Goals & Achievements | Allbirds is Carbon Neutral certified. They’re on track with their mission to halve their carbon footprint by 2025. In 2022, the average carbon footprint for an Allbirds product was 19% smaller than the previous year. They’ve also created the world’s first net-zero carbon shoe, M0.0NSHOT, to be released in spring 2024. The brand’s resale platform Allbirds ReRun™ offers like-new shoes at a fraction of the price.
Supply Chain | Allbirds works with WRAP-certified manufacturing partners in Vietnam and South Korea. They have a comprehensive Supplier Code of Conduct, and regular audits ensure high social and environmental standards are maintained.
Pay It Forward | Gently-used pairs of Allbirds are donated to those in need via the brand’s partnership with Soles4Souls.
Price Range | $79–$175 | Shop Astral’s Shoes
Materials | Hemp and recycled polyester
What We Love | Committed to creating low impact products for “wilderness athletes”, Astral helps us get ready for outdoor adventures with footwear built for high performance and low environmental impact.
Astral’s Recycled Shoes
Astral created the world’s first breathable PVC-free life jacket, and then turned their attention to performance shoes.
With shoes for every outdoor adventure (canoeing, hiking, kayaking, rafting, and sailing), as well as sandals and flip-flops, Astral is a one-stop-brand for outdoor enthusiasts.
Get high on life with a pair of Hemp Loyak canvas shoes. Featuring a 77% hemp and 23% recycled polyester upper and a non-marking Flex-Grip™ outsole, these sneakers can easily become your favorite sustainable travel companion.
Supply Chain | Astral’s sustainable footwear is made in China. They take care to choose manufacturing partners that share the company’s values.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | Men’s and women’s shoes fit the same. The only difference is the colors.
Price Range | $70–$245 | Shop VEJA’s Range
Materials | Chrome-free leather (from LWG Gold-certified and REACH-compliant tanneries), recycled polyester, regenerative or organic cotton canvas, organic jute, natural rubber, recycled rubber, sugarcane, rice waste. The 54% bio-based coating is made from castor bean oil, cornstarch, and PU.
What We Love | French brand VEJA are industry pioneers, and while they don’t just make sneakers made of recycled materials, they’re steadily increasing their recycled content and decreasing leather use because they know it accounts for the majority of their carbon footprint.
VEJA’s Recycled Sneakers
VEJA is an old hand at making shoes from recycled materials.
Their B-mesh fabric is made from 100% recycled polyester from plastic bottles. Around three bottles go into each pair of recycled sneakers.
Their Hexamesh fabric is made from 70% organic cotton and 30% recycled polyester from plastic bottles.
If you love classic white kicks, the Urca CWL Sneaker has a sustainability spec sheets as shotless as their white C.W.L. (Cotton Worked as Leather) uppers. That’s paired with recycled materials in the lining and sole.
Carbon Goals & Achievements | VEJA is completely transparent about its carbon emissions, and the carbon footprint of each pair of VEJA’s shoes can be found in the product description. They measure scope1-3 emissions and are working to reduce them. If you’re in France or NYC, you can drop off your old pair of VEJA shoes for refurbishing or recycling.
Supply Chain | VEJA’s shoes are ethically manufactured in Brazil by employees who receive fair wages. The Certified B Corp pays double the market value for their organic cotton to improve financial security for farmers.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | The community-minded brand provides employment opportunities for disabled people by partnering with Log’ins to staff its warehouse.
How Did We Choose The Best Recycled Shoes?
While using recycled materials is important, we also want to know how and where the shoes were made and what other steps companies are taking to keep their footprint small.
Here are all the things we look for:
B Corporation (B Corp), bluesign®, Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), Climate Neutral Certified, Fair Trade Certified, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Global Recycling Standard (GRS), Leather Working Group (LWG), LEED, OEKO-TEX, Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), ZQ, Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), International Organization for Standardization (ISO 14001), Leadership In Energy And Environmental Design (LEED)
Fabrics & Materials:
What are recycled shoes made of?
As the recycled shoe brands on this list demonstrate, several recycled materials can be used for creating planet-friendly footwear.
These include recycled polyester (often made from post-consumer plastic waste like plastic water bottles), recycled nylon, recycled EVA (often used for midsoles), and recycled rubber (used for outsoles).
Durability is key when choosing materials for footwear so that each pair of recycled sneakers can last a long time. That’s why leather is still a go-to shoe material, but because of its high environmental and ethical cost, recycled leather shoes are the ideal choice.
It’s also important to consider what will happen when a pair eventually wears out with recyclability being the ultimate aim.
Carbon Goals & Achievements:
The best recycled shoe brands take their carbon footprint seriously.
We look for brands committed to reducing their emissions through responsible material sourcing, manufacturing processes, the use of renewable energy, considerations around transport, carbon offsetting, and supporting the circular economy.
Transparency is key. Ethical brands ensure their manufacturing partners have high standards of worker welfare. Fair wages, safe working conditions, and no forced or child labor are a must.
Pay It Forward:
It puts an extra spring in our step when brands give back, whether that’s through donating money to charity, donating new and lightly used footwear to those in need, or carrying out educational activities.
Closing Thoughts On Shoes Made From Recycled Plastic
Plastic pollution is a huge environmental problem. Plastic waste enters the environment and oceans where it pollutes the water and harms wildlife.
The recycled shoe brands on our list are helping to turn the tide against plastic waste by creating shoes made of recycled plastic.
While moving away from the use of virgin plastics is a huge step in the right direction, we want to ensure we don’t fall short of the finish line by continuing to send shoes to landfill.
That’s why brands committed to creating a circular economy by designing recycled shoes that can be recycled for their materials get the biggest thumbs up.
Even if you’re not in need of new shoes, take a simple step to help them by sharing this article.
Looking for more? Check out our list of ethically made shoes.