A Quick Womens Shoe Guide to EcoFriendly Footwear

This articles lays out suggestions on eco-friendly footwear brands for women and where to find them.

Not long ago, when the word eco-friendly women's footwear popped up in our everyday language, all I could think of was ugly, hemp and burlap. Today, that is not the case anymore. Eco-friendly women's footwear has become mainstream as well-established brands have taken notice of the importance of maintaining a healthy environment by being conscious about the materials they use and the way they manufacture products. Smaller brands have also flourished in this niche market and both have taken note that just because it's eco-friendly, it doesn't mean it can't be fashionable.

What is considered eco-friendly footwear?

While the definition is broad, eco-friendly footwear are those made out of sustainable and/or recycled materials such as organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, man-made leather and other materials, recycled car tires and inner tubes - even eco certified leather and suede. Eco-friendly footwear also includes those that are leather free/animal free/cruelty free, vegan footwear.

What brands are out there for eco-friendly footwear?

Given the popularity of eco-friendly footwear, today there are many brands to choose from. Mainstream brands have dedicated portions of their collections, or have created a brand within a brand, that caters to those who look for eco-friendly, vegan footwear. Moreover, several brands carry all the current trends in women's footwear in eco-friendly versions.

For the ultimate eco-friendly footwear brand, look no further than Simple Shoes. A casual line of footwear for women, men and kids, Simple Shoes is a brand committed to preserving the environment by using 100% sustainable, recycled materials. My picks from the brand are women's TOEst, a knit mid-length boot, and I am a huge fan of their ecoSNEAKS Collection, in which my favorite style is Satire, made from organic cotton velvet.

For the ultimate luxury in women's footwear, explore the collections from Stella McCartney. A vegan herself, Stella McCartney combines her love for the environment and animals, with her passion for fashion, and the result is absolutely exquisite. From footwear to handbags, Stella McCartney delivers ultimate style, which does come with a steep price tag. My picks from her current collection are Stella McCartney's Perforated Bootie, and Stella McCartney's Gold Trim Platform Pump, both available at NeimanMarcus.com.

What retailers carry eco-friendly shoes?

Today, many retailers and department stores carry eco-friendly, vegan footwear. However, for the widest selection available, e-tailers are going to be the best bet. My favorite sites include www.mooshoes.com, which carry eco-friendly vegan brands from all over the world, including Novacas, a Portuguese brand of footwear that makes stylish pumps and booties, and www.zappos.com who also carries a selection of eco-friendly, vegan footwear. 

With all the choices out in the market for eco-friendly footwear, women do not have to sacrifice style for environmental consciousness. Explore these brands and websites the next time you shop for shoes; beautify yourself and the environment.