THE BEST Eco-Friendly & SUSTAINABLE FLIP-FLOPS
Whether you only wear them at the beach or they are your favorite everyday shoes in the summer, you probably have at least one pair of flip-flops in your shoe collection.
Flip-flops are so practical and easy to wear that humans have worn them for thousands of years. Murals dating back to 4,000 BC show people wearing them as their primary type of shoes!
Nowadays, they are still extremely popular all around the world! This is particularly true in developing countries, where a large percentage of people can only afford to buy flip-flops as opposed to other forms of footwear.
Unfortunately, almost all the flip-flops we buy are made of synthetic rubber, or in other words, non-biodegradable plastic. They also break very easily because of their low quality, and they eventually end up in landfills or oceans where they will take hundreds of years to decompose.
If you too are tired of having plastic flip-flops that only last a season or two, consider investing in high-quality, sustainable flip-flops.
In this article, we are writing about 12 eco-friendly brands selling comfy flip-flops that are both durable and sustainable!
WHAT MAKES FLIP-FLOPS SUSTAINABLE?
Sustainable flip-flops are made with eco-friendly materials and are built to last. You should be able to wear them for many years before seeing any visible signs of damage.
They are also produced in an ethical environment by brands that pay their workers a fair living wage. People working in the supply chain should be treated humanely and work under safe, healthy conditions.
Look for third-party certifications whenever you want to buy a pair of flip-flops. Brands that are B Corporation or Fairtrade certified are great brands to support!
Some companies even offer to recycle your flip-flops at the end of their lives, so consider giving them a chance!
WHAT ECO-FRIENDLY MATERIALS SHOULD YOU SEARCH FOR?
When looking for new flip-flops, try to avoid petroleum-based materials and remember that investing in quality is worth it.
Sustainable brands make theirs using natural, recycled, or renewable materials. For instance, you can buy flip-flops made from cork (or recycled cork), FSC-certified natural rubber (or recycled rubber), hemp, algae, or bio-based materials.
You can also choose ones made with all kinds of recycled materials, like recycled plastic, recycled car tires, used shoes, or scrap materials.
Leather is not sustainable, but it is an incredibly durable material. So if you choose a pair of leather flip-flops, make sure to choose one made of vegetable-tanned leather.
NOW, OUR TOP PICKS FOR DURABLE, SUSTAINABLE FLIP-FLOPS
1) Third Oak
Materials: Recycled & Bio-Based Soy Materials
Third Oak is a Georgia-based brand crafting comfortable, sustainable sandals and flip-flops for women. It offers eight different colors of flip-flops, featuring classic styles with a soft, neutral palette so that you can wear them with any outfit.
These minimalist-looking flip-flops are lightweight and designed to be water- and slip-resistant.
They have light arch support and a heel cup for increased stability and extra support.
Third Oak manufactures them in a closed-loop process combining recycled plastics with its proprietary bio-based soy material. This material blend is created to be the perfect balance of durability and flexibility, so you can wear them all day long and they last for years.
The brand produces its Scout flip-flops in the United States, and they are 100% recyclable. It means that Third Oak’s factory can reuse scraps of material during the manufacturing process, and when they get worn out, you can send them back and the company will turn them into new sandals!Shop Third Oak
For: Women & Men
Materials: Recycled Cork, Leather, Bloom Algae Foam, EVA, Nylon, PU
Price Range: $65-99
Founded in 2001 in Canada, SOLE creates eco-friendly footwear designed to reduce and prevent foot issues, including plantar fasciitis, overpronation, and knee, back, or hip pain.
The brand has a great selection of flip-flops for men and women, many of which are made of recycled cork. SOLE has collected over 128 million wine corks over the years and has used them to replace fossil-fuel foams in its footwear.
Cork is an excellent material for shoes because it provides great shock absorption and long-lasting support. It also has moisture-wicking and odor-reducing properties, and it naturally molds to your feet within days of wear.
SOLE also makes its footbeds with Bloom algae foam, which has a 40% smaller environmental impact than regular petroleum-based alternatives. Its production helps clear harmful algae from natural ecosystems and filter water.
The company is a member of 1% For The Planet, and it plants cork oak trees to offset its carbon footprint.Shop Sole
Materials: Bio-Based Soy Material
Price Range: $35-44
Oka-B is a woman-led, family-owned shoe brand selling sustainable ballet flats, sandals and flip-flops. The shoes are slip-resistant and completely waterproof, which means they are super easy to clean. The brand’s flip-flops are designed in many styles and flashy colors, so they will make you stand out from the crowd!
They also come with cool shoe attachments you can add to make them even more unique. For instance, you can decorate them with little bows, butterflies, flowers, cute turtles, or starfishes.
Made to stimulate foot health, Oka-B’s flip-flops have a comfortable footbed with built-in heel cups, soothing massage beads, toe rests, and premium arch support.
They are also handmade in Georgia using a bio-based soy material, and at the end of their lives, you can send them back and Oka-B will recycle them for you.
Through its partnership with Soles4Souls, the company has been regularly donating shoes to survivors of natural disasters and micro-entrepreneurs based in developing countries. So far, it has gifted over 8,000 pairs of shoes to communities in need!Shop Oka-B
Materials: FSC-Certified Natural Rubber Latex
Etiko is an Australian ethical fashion brand offering the perfect solution if you want your flip-flops to do a lot more than just take you to the beach.
By buying one of its two pairs of flip-flops, you will be supporting a cause that may be close to your heart.
If you opt for Etiko’s black flip-flops, 10% of the proceeds will go towards Sea Shepherd to help them save sea life and clean up the oceans. Plus, they are adorned with incredibly cute marine animals!
The brand also has a green pair decorated with little bears and trees. If you buy them, 10% of the profits from the sale will be donated to Free The Bears, a non-profit working to free bears kept in captivity in South-East Asia.
Both pairs are Fairtrade certified, made with a combination of recycled and FSC-certified natural rubber, and dyed with organic dyes.
Etiko is also a certified B Corporation and social enterprise, and it received many awards for its commitment to sustainability.Shop Etiko
5) Deux Mains
Materials: Leather, Upcycled Tires
Deux Mains crafts sustainable luxury fashion pieces in Haiti, using locally sourced discarded car tires and turning them into beautiful sandals, bags, and accessories.
Its main priority is to alleviate poverty and provide dignified jobs in a country where they are hard to find, especially after the catastrophic earthquake that decimated the country in 2010.
The brand sells a pair of flip-flops for men, which are made by a Haitian artisan. They look very masculine, yet refined, and they are so unique that the soles bear the marks of the individual tire they were repurposed from!
These flip-flops are also handmade with sustainably-sourced leather, and they are ideal to wear as everyday shoes when the weather gets warm.
Deux Mains produces everything in its women-run and solar-powered factory and chooses to make its products in small batches to reduce waste. All the pieces are timeless and built to withstand the test of time so that you can wear them for many years.Shop Deux Mains
For: Women & Men
Materials: Bio-Based Soy Materials, Used Shoes, Scrap Materials
Okabashi has been producing high-quality shoes since 1984. This family-owned shoe company has different kinds of flip-flops for both men and women, and they are all made in the United States. Okabashi’s flip-flops are made with its innovative bio-based soy material as well as recycled materials from the brand’s closed-loop manufacturing process.
The final material is 100% recyclable, so you can send your shoes back at the end of their lives and Okabashi will recycle them into new shoes.
The company designs its footwear with foot therapy and reflexology in mind. Its flip-flops have heel cups to improve stability and arch support so that your feet and spine are properly aligned when walking. They also feature massage beads on the footbeds for better circulation, and toe rests to let your toes relax.
Okabashi’s shoes come with a two-year warranty, and cleaning them is very easy as they are machine washable.Shop Okabashi
Materials: Leather, EVA, Beads
Price Range: $67-93
Laidback London creates unique boots, sandals and accessories, all of which are handmade by local communities in Kenya using traditional craftsmanship. Buying them helps provide income for the locals all while preserving their skills and artistry.
The brand has a very large selection of flip-flops for women.
Produced the old-fashioned way, these beautiful shoes feature a hand-embellished leather upper and leather lining, which makes them very durable.
The leather upper is adorned with striking Maasai beaded detailing, and you have many styles to choose from. Most of them are very colorful, and they will make you stand out for sure!
Since the flip-flops are handcrafted and made of leather, each pair is a little different, adding to their authentic character and charm.
Laidback London makes sure to source its materials locally whenever possible, and it sends its products in recycled paper packaging.Shop Laidback London
Materials: Cork, Natural Rubber, Recycled Car Tires, Recycled Plastic
Nae is a Portuguese vegan footwear brand making shoes and accessories with natural, recycled and sustainable materials.
It sells two lovely pairs of flip-flops, both of which are handmade in Portugal in an ethical work environment.
You can choose between a model with an upper made from cork, and another one made of recycled PET, produced from post-consumer plastic bottles.
Both flip-flops are lined with an OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified microfiber, meaning that they are free of harmful chemicals. The comfy footbeds provide arch support and are made from cork and natural rubber, and the soles are crafted with recycled car tires.
Sold in the colors black, pink or natural cork, Nae’s flip-flops are great everyday shoes you can wear all day long in the summer. The brand ships them in recycled packaging that is also 100% recyclable.Shop Nae
For: Women & Men
Materials: Recycled Polyester, Recycled EVA
Founded in 1984, Teva has been making sports sandals and boots for those who love exploring the great outdoors. The brand has a very comfortable model of flip-flops, the ReFlip, which is made with upcycled post-industrial waste.
Teva’s flip-flops are the ideal pair of summer shoes you can wear all day long while wandering in nature or traveling.
They dry very quickly and are designed to prevent foot odors. The women’s model is sold in black only, but men will be able to choose between black, blue and a lovely brownish color.
Teva makes its straps with recycled plastic, using traceable recycled polyester yarn. The webbing is built to last, so you do not have to worry about them ripping on your next hike. The flip-flops also feature supportive, cushioned midsoles and outsoles crafted from a mixture of recycled EVA and new materials.
Since Teva transitioned to 100% recycled polyester straps in 2020, it has diverted over 24 million plastic bottles from landfills!Shop Teva
For: Women, Men, Kids
Materials: Recycled Tires, Natural Rubber, Nylon
Price Range: $26-45
Indosole is a sustainable footwear brand selling flip-flops for each member of the family. It offers timeless, discreet looks that are all waterproof and very comfortable.
The company makes the shoes’ soles out of recycled car tires. So they are incredibly durable and provide maximum grip, preventing you from slipping even on slick and muddy surfaces.
These all-terrain flip-flops also feature footbeds made of responsibly-sourced natural rubber, which is dyed with natural dyes and no chemicals. They also provide arch support for ultimate comfort when walking.
Indosole uses a custom-made fiber for the uppers: they are designed not to rub against the skin and to withstand all conditions. This fiber is colored with all-natural dyes and little water is needed to produce it.
The brand is a certified B Corp, and it sources its materials locally. Not to mention it has saved over 80,000 tires from the landfill!Shop Indosole
For: Women & Men
Materials: Natural Rubber, Recycled Rice Husks, Vegan Leather
Price Range: $24-60
Feelgoodz partners with different artisan groups around the world to make eco-friendly slippers, slides and flip-flops for both men and women.
The brand offers several models of flip-flops crafted with natural rubber by artisan farmers in Thailand.
They have a very simple design and are available in different colors. Designed for all-day comfort, they should become your go-to summer staple!
Feelgoodz also sells vegan leather flip-flops that feel like you are walking on a yoga mat. These Zensole sandals feature a sculpted footbed with arch support and a heel cup. The outsoles are made of a combination of natural rubber and recycled rice husks for added traction and wear resistance. Some Zensole flip-flops are even handwoven and sold in different colorful designs.
By crafting these flip-flops, the company directly supports rice-farming communities in Vietnam, traditional weavers in India, and rubber-farm co-ops and artisans in Thailand.Shop Feelgoodz
For: Women & Men
Materials: Vegetable-Tanned Leather, Hemp
Price Range: $120-165
Jivanas works with artisans based in Nepal to create handmade sandals for men and women, using 100% natural and biodegradable materials. The brand has various pairs of flip-flops, available in different styles and colors. Crafted using remarkable workmanship, each pair is made of Italian vegetable-tanned leather, produced with tree bark, leaves and fruits.
The leather is extremely durable, so Jivanas’ shoes last for many years and become even more beautiful and unique as they age. They feature built-in arch support and an insole that molds to your footprint.
Some of the flip-flops have a Himalayan hemp upper, which adds to their authenticity. The brand also uses sustainable adhesives, dyes and conditioners, all made from organic, plant-based materials.
Everything Jivanas creates is handmade in its ethical workshop by skilled artisans who are provided fair wages, safe working conditions and healthcare. The brand helps them break the cycle of poverty, and it prevents unemployment and exploitation that are oh-so widespread in Nepal.Shop Jivanas
About the Author
Eva Astoul is a French freelance writer, specializing in content related to sustainability, simple living, and a growth-focused healthy lifestyle. She runs her own blog, Green With Less, to inspire people to live a more minimalist and sustainable life.
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