The fashion industry has long been associated with exploitation and unsustainable practices. The footwear industry, in particular, has been criticized for its use of forced labor and unsafe working conditions. Additionally, the production of conventional leather high heels has raised concerns about animal cruelty.

However, there are ethical and sustainable high heel brands that have stepped up to address these issues. Sustainable Jungle has independently researched and compiled a list of seven such brands, with a focus on those that prioritize both style and sustainability. This article will highlight these brands and their efforts to create a more sustainable fashion industry.

Sustainably Strut Your Stuff With The Best Heel Brands

Looking for sustainable and ethical heels that not only look good but also make you feel good? Look no further than these top brands that are leading the way in eco-friendly and vegan footwear.

1. Nisolo

Nisolo is a Certified B Corp that is committed to sustainable and ethical practices. Their range of women’s shoes includes not only ethical leather heels, but also sustainable sandals, boots, flats, mules, oxfords, loafers, and other accessories.

Their Heeled Chelsea Boot, for instance, is a versatile option that boasts a 3” heel height, breathable and water-resistant upper, and memory foam cushioned insoles. It’s a natural choice for those seeking something comfortable and stylish for all seasons and occasions.

Nisolo sources nubuck leather from the food industry, and all partner factories and tanneries are personally visited to ensure ethical practices. They also reduce and offset 100% of their carbon emissions and have a Shoe Reclamation Program that allows customers to return their old Nisolo shoes for upcycling, recycling, or donation.

2. Volair

Volair is a brand that puts the flair in sustainable vegan leather. Their range of eco-friendly high heels all feature a bio-based vegan apple leather or corn leather upper combined with heels that are either made of recycled materials or bio-based polymers that replace the traditional ABS material. The uppers are also PETA, REACH, and USDA Biobased certified.

All heels are manufactured in Asia with a manufacturer that aligns with ethical business practices, and they ensure all suppliers have the proper certifications. Volair encourages a pre-order sustainable production model to prevent the waste associated with excess stock and offsets their shipping emissions through


VEERAH is a vegan shoe brand that wants you to be an eco warrior in their ethical heels, boots, flats, and sandals. Their HEDY Ankle Boot, named after female powerhouse, actress, and inventor Hedy Lamarr, is a personal favorite that surpassed comfort standards on a long day of running errands.

Their vegan materials are 100% cruelty-free, PETA-approved, and include apple leather, polyurethane, bamboo leather, algae foam, resin-coated rubber, and recycled plastic. Their apple leather is bio-based and made from organic Italian apples that are a byproduct of the apple juice industry. Using an algae foam cushion allows VEERAH to as

4. Bhava

Bhava is a vegan shoe brand that uses sustainable materials such as organic cotton, recycled rubber, and cork. Their range of heels includes block heels, pumps, and clogs, all of which are made ethically in Spain. Bhava also offsets their carbon emissions through and is a member of 1% for the Planet.

5. Matisse

Matisse is a brand that combines fashion with sustainability. Their range of vegan shoes includes sandals, pumps, and block heels that are made with eco-friendly materials such as recycled rubber and cork. Matisse also donates a portion of their profits to environmental causes.

6. NAE

NAE is a Portuguese vegan shoe brand that uses sustainable and eco-friendly materials such as cork, recycled PET, and microfiber. Their range of heels includes pumps, sandals, and ankle boots that are made ethically in Portugal. NAE also offsets their carbon emissions through

7. The Root Collective

The Root Collective is a brand that empowers artisans in Guatemala by providing them with fair wages and safe working conditions. Their range of heels includes block heels, pumps, and sandals that are handmade by these artisans using sustainable materials such as recycled rubber. The Root Collective also donates a portion of their profits to social impact projects in Guatemala.

These top sustainable shoe brands offer a variety of on-trend styles, from block heels to vegan sandals, that are both eco-friendly and ethical. By choosing to support these brands, you can sustainably strut your stuff and feel good about your fashion choices.

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How We Discovered These Sustainable High Heels

When it comes to finding eco-friendly high heels, there are several factors to consider, such as the materials used, the supply chain and labor practices, carbon commitments and green practices, and community and charitable giving.

In terms of materials, natural options like organic cotton, cork, and natural rubber are preferable. Innovative materials such as algae foam, Piñatex, and apple leather are also gaining popularity. However, it is important to note that apple leather and Piñatex are not biodegradable due to the PU coating used for durability. Synthetic fabrics like PU and EVA foam are better than highly toxic PVC, but still come with environmental concerns. For those concerned about animal welfare, vegan leather is a popular option. However, for those who prioritize durability, natural ethical leather is the most suitable option, especially if it is vegetable-dyed or chrome-free.

Several certifications can help identify sustainable materials, including Leather Working Group (LWG), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), OEKO-TEX, Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), and USDA BioPreferred.

When it comes to supply chain and labor practices, it is important to look for brands that support fair wages or 100% living wages, independent artisans, family-owned factories, and safe working environments. Several certifications, such as B Corporation (B Corp) and International Labour Organization (ILO), can help identify brands that prioritize ethical labor practices.

In terms of carbon commitments and green practices, many sustainable brands are making use of carbon offset programs, circular programs to recycle/donate shoes, efforts to reduce waste and water and chemical use, and closed-loop manufacturing processes.

Lastly, brands that make donations to social impact or environmental causes or provide paid employee volunteer days are highly regarded for their community and charitable giving efforts.

Overall, finding sustainable high heels involves considering several factors, from materials to supply chain and labor practices, carbon commitments and green practices, and community and charitable giving. By prioritizing these factors, consumers can make informed decisions and support brands that prioritize sustainability.

Final Thoughts on Ethical High Heels

Sustainable high heels are not only stylish but also socially responsible. By investing in ethical brands, consumers can make a positive impact on the environment and society. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Look for certified B Corps or brands that prioritize social responsibility and transparency.
  • Choose heels made from sustainable materials such as recycled plastic, vegan leather, or leather that is certified by the Leather Working Group.
  • Opt for PETA-approved brands that do not use animal products or test on animals.
  • Consider adjustable heels with a cushioned insole for added comfort and versatility.
  • Support carbon-neutral brands that offset their carbon emissions through sustainable practices.

While sustainable high heels may come at a higher price point, they are durable and can last longer than fast fashion alternatives. Investing in ethical fashion aligns with values of conscious consumerism and promotes a more sustainable future.