Here’s how you can make more considered purchases.


Over the last few years, change has been in the air. We’re increasingly seeing brands adopt more ethical manufacturing practices and forge the future of sustainable shoes with smaller eco-friendly companies challenging the big players to up their game.

It seems a shift in consumer mindsets is perhaps driving this change. A 2020 study by fashion search platform Lyst revealed a 37 per cent increase in searches for sustainability-related keywords over the last year. This same report revealed that sneakers are in the top two searched categories for shoppers interested in sustainable fashion – growing 142 per cent since 2019.

But where to from here? Sure, we all know making more informed purchases is a good thing, however, it’s often hard to know where to start. If you’re keen to make a positive impact – from your feet up – read on for our guide to shopping more sustainably.


Seek Out Brands That Upcycle and Use Innovative Materials.

It’s 2020, so there’s really no excuse for brands not to embrace technology to develop more sustainable and environmentally friendly materials. Take Hype DC favourite Teva for example. The straps on the brand’s sandals are made from 100 per cent traceable, recycled plastic – that’s a whole lot of single-use plastics being kept out of landfill. Teva is continually reducing its overall water usage, while also working with suppliers and partners to conserve water at all steps of the production process. Since 2017 it has saved over 380 million gallons of water.

It’s 2020, so there’s really no excuse for brands not to embrace technology to develop more sustainable and environmentally friendly materials. Take Hype DC favourite Tevafor example. The straps on the brand’s sandals are made from 100 per cent traceable, recycled plastic – that’s a whole lot of single-use plastics being kept out of landfill. Teva is continually reducing its overall water usage, while also working with suppliers and partners to conserve water at all steps of the production process. Since 2017 it has saved over 380 million gallons of water.

adidas is another brand pushing the boundaries when it comes to eco-friendly technology. Since 2012, adidas has been working to tackle the problem of environmental plastic waste and has pledged to completely stop the use of virgin polyester by 2024. Back in 2015, adidas teamed up with Parley for the Oceans – an organisation that empowers brands to explore new ways of protecting our oceans. Since then, the partnership has seen countless styles issued that are made from high tech, recycled plastic. If you are looking for a new pair of sustainable running shoes, we recommend the adidas Performance UltraBOOST 20 Parley. The style is made with UltraBOOST's signature seamless knit upper but uses yarn spun from plastic reclaimed from beaches.

Converse and Nike are also taking massive strides in the right direction when it comes to innovative construction. The Nike Zoom X Vista Grind not only taps into the current chunky sneaker trend, but the sole is constructed from recycled foam. Likewise, if you’re a fan of the classics, next time you invest in a pair of Chuck Taylors, check out Converse’s Renew Chuck 70. The canvas uppers are made by repurposing excess materials, with a blend of recycled and virgin cotton. Meanwhile, the soles feature environmentally friendly repurposed rubber.

Converse and Nike are also taking massive strides in the right direction when it comes to innovative construction. The Nike Zoom X Vista Grind not only taps into the current chunky sneaker trend, but the sole is constructed from recycled foam. Likewise, if you’re a fan of the classics, next time you invest in a pair of Chuck Taylors, check out Converse’s Renew Chuck 70. The canvas uppers are made by repurposing excess materials, with a blend of recycled and virgin cotton. Meanwhile, the soles feature environmentally friendly repurposed rubber.

Make an Informed Choice About Leather and Non-Leather Alternatives

We recommend doing your research about the pros and cons of leather versus vegan alternatives – it’s a very personal choice. While leather has been a wardrobe staple for thousands of years, its downsides are quite obvious. It is, however, one of the most durable materials, which leads to longevity and inherently makes it reasonably sustainable.

Vegan leather, on the other hand, while it doesn’t directly harm animals, is often made with polyurethane (PU) or vinyl (PVC) – both of which are derived from crude oil. Technological advances are, however, making way for other forms of innovative, environmentally-friendly vegan alternatives. These include materials made from organic compounds such as Piñatex, a leather-like fabric made from pineapples.

Look For Brands With a Commitment to Transparency

If knowing where your purchases come from is high on your priority list, a great place to start is Good on You. The platform gives consumers the power to check how brands rate when it comes to ethical and eco-friendly practices, as well as transparency in their supply chains.

Top of our list of brands with a strong commitment to transparency is ethical shoe brand Veja. Veja provides access to all supply chains and details all manufacturing contracts on its website. Geographical maps illustrate the entire journey of your shoes – from where cotton and rubber are harvested through to the locations of Veja factories. As well as these internal checks and balances, Veja is B Corp Certified. This certification means you can shop with the added assurance that the brand’s impact has been assessed and accredited by a globally recognised organisation. Delivering sustainable sneakers with timeless designs, their Esplar and V-10 models have taken the world by storm, even being the sneaker-of-choice for The Duchess Meghan Markle!

Keen to invest in some sustainable kicks? You can shop our edit of sustainable footwear here.

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