Forget diamonds– shoes are a woman’s best friend. Why do we love shoes so much? My theory is that it’s because shoes are versatile and body type doesn’t matter when it comes to rocking a pair of shoes. As I’ve learned more about ethics of the garment industry I’ve especially focused on what I put on my feet.
Over the years shoe companies have become exposed and known for bad labor and environmental practices. In the 90s Nike and other sports shoe brands were exposed for their use of child labor and sweatshops. However, it’s not just sneakers that are made unethically. When it comes to boots, many consumers are duped into believing they are buying well made Italian leather products, when the reality is boots are often made poorly in poverty-stricken Eastern European sweatshops. So be weary the next time you see a “Made in Italy” tag.
If you’re looking for quality, ethically made fall boots that won’t break the bank you’ve come to the right place. I looked for boots that are durable as well as stylish so you can keep them in your closet for years to come (and don’t toss them when they show signs of wear- go to a cobbler!) Here are a few of my favorite boots from sustainable brands:
ABLE’s boots are made by women in Peru, Ethiopia, and Brazil. ABLE helps women transitioning out of trafficking and publishes its workers’ wages on its website. I love this company’s commitment to transparency and the quality of its products! I just purchased the Joselynne boots and am loving the comfort and style!
FORTRESS OF INCA
Fortress of Inca is a fair trade company that works with family owned and operated factories and workshops in Peru to produce high quality and handmade boots and shoes.
Everlane makes classic pieces using ethical factories. Everlane does a compliance audit to evaluate factors like fair wages, hours, and environment of its workers.
Every TOMS purchase has an impact. The company has given over 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need through humanitarian organizations. Learn more about TOMS impact here. TOMS offers shoes made with sustainable and vegan materials and their shoe boxes are made from recycled post-consumer waste.
Nisolo makes elegantly designed shoes and ensures that its workers receive beyond fair trade wages, health care, and a safe work environment.
THE ROOT COLLECTIVE
The Root Collective Partners with small, independent workshops in Guatemala. Their workers make anywhere from 50-400% over the fair wage minimum in Guatemala, depending on their job description.
Other ethical brands worthy of mention are Coclico, Susi Studio, Handmade Matters, Huma Blanco, Red Wing Shoe Company, and Sydney Brown.