Your Guide to Sustainable Footwear Choices - COMUNITYmade


Your Guide to Sustainable Footwear Choices

Your Guide to Sustainable Footwear Choices

by Shannon Scott August 04, 2023

Just because you want to do your part for the environment doesn't mean shoe shopping has to be boring – quite the contrary, in fact. Choosing sustainable raw materials like organic cotton and seeking out shoe brands with a longer-lasting product lifecycle can take you in new directions that you've never thought of before, and that's anything but boring.

Ok, I admit it, it's fun to shop for new fashions. Chances are you probably feel the same way. The concept of fast fashion, characterized by cheap and disposable clothing, has gained immense popularity over the past few decades. The convenience of buying a new shirt for a few dollars might seem tempting, but it comes at a high cost to the environment.

More and more people are becoming aware of how fast fashion contributes to poor working conditions for factory workers and a decrease in the overall quality of products.

It's the same for the footwear industry, where shoes are frequently produced cheaply and quickly, resulting in a need for more frequent replacements. However, it's important to recognize that the quality of the product we purchase is essential to reduce our impact on the environment, support an ethical manufacturing process, and ultimately save money in the long run. A few fashion brands are making adjustments to their business model to support this, but we need more.

Have You Tried Rent The Runway?

Rent the Runway is an online clothing rental service that allows customers to rent designer dresses, clothing, and accessories for a fraction of their retail price. Founded in 2009, the company has revolutionized the fashion industry by providing an affordable way for women to access high-end fashion. Customers can rent items for four to eight days, and Rent the Runway takes care of dry cleaning and shipping. The company has also expanded its offerings to include unlimited rentals and subscription-based services. With a wide selection of clothing and accessories, Rent the Runway is a popular choice for special occasions, workwear, and everyday fashion needs.

Ethical Fashion Can Be Fun

Just because you want to do your part for the environment doesn't mean shoe shopping has to be boring – quite the contrary, in fact. Choosing sustainable raw materials like organic cotton and seeking out shoe brands with a longer-lasting product lifecycle can take you in new directions that you've never thought of before, and that's anything but boring.

Here are some reasons why buying quality products that last for a long time, especially when it comes to shoes, is crucial:

Environmental Impact: Fast fashion and disposable shoes are filling up landfills and polluting the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency,11.3 million tons of textile waste were generated in 2018 alone.

When we purchase cheaply made shoes, we're contributing to this issue. Not only do they break down quickly and require frequent replacements, but they're also often made from synthetic materials that take hundreds of years to decompose. By investing in a quality pair of shoes made with sustainable materials, we're reducing the overall waste we produce and positively impacting the environment.

Ethical Fashion Manufacturing: Cheap products are often produced in factories that employ unethical labor practices, including low wages and dangerous working conditions. These conditions not only harm workers but can also lead to low-quality products. On the other hand, purchasing products from companies that value ethical manufacturing practices can have a positive impact on both the workers and the quality of the product.

Cost: Although the initial cost of a quality pair of shoes might seem steep, it can actually save money in the long run. Investing in a pair of shoes that is made from durable materials and is built to last means that you'll have to replace them less frequently. As a result, you'll end up spending less money over time. Additionally, a well-made shoe can be repaired, extending its lifespan even further.

Comfort: Shoes that are cheaply made often lack the support and comfort that high-quality shoes provide. Investing in a pair of shoes that is well-made and designed for comfort means that you'll be able to wear them for longer periods without experiencing discomfort.

Style: While fast fashion may seem like a quick fix for keeping up with the latest trends, investing in high-quality shoes means that you'll have a timeless and versatile pair of shoes that can be worn for years to come. Quality shoes are often designed with classic styles and materials that are timeless, making them a sustainable choice in terms of fashion.

When it comes to footwear, buying quality shoes that last for a long time is especially important for environmental sustainability. Here are some reasons why:

Synthetic Materials: Many cheap shoes are made from synthetic materials, such as plastic and polyester, which have a detrimental impact on the environment. These materials take hundreds of years to decompose and release harmful chemicals during the process. In addition, synthetic materials often require the use of fossil fuels to produce, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Investing in shoes made from natural materials such as leather, cork, and rubber can reduce our overall environmental impact.

Manufacturing Processes: The production of cheap shoes often involves unethical labor practices and environmentally harmful manufacturing processes. By investing in shoes made from ethical and sustainable manufacturing practices, we're supporting companies that value fair labor practices and environmental sustainability.

Quality: High-quality shoes are often made from durable materials that can withstand wear and tear for years. This means that we'll have to replace them less frequently, reducing our overall environmental impact.

The future of sustainable footwear depends on a variety of factors, including more sustainability-conscious supply chains, the use of reusable resources, eco-friendly energy sources, and better-quality shoe designs. In addition, implementing transparency and accountability between manufacturers and suppliers can help maximize efficiency and production development while also committing to making a social impact.

Here are some factors that can contribute to the future of sustainable footwear:

Using Resources That Can be Reused and Repaired: One of the most significant contributors to waste in the footwear industry is the use of materials that are not reusable or repairable. By using materials that can be repurposed or repaired, companies can minimize waste and reduce their environmental impact.

Designing Better-Quality Shoes: Investing in better-quality shoes can help to extend their lifespan, reducing the need for frequent replacements. This means using durable materials and better design techniques to make shoes that can withstand wear and tear for longer periods.

Using Eco-Friendly Energy Sources: The footwear industry, like many others, relies heavily on energy consumption. Using eco-friendly energy sources, such as wind or solar power, can help reduce carbon emissions and minimize the environmental impact of production.

Cleaning Materials: Toxic dyes and chemicals used in the manufacturing process can pollute our cities and water sources. By using eco-friendly cleaning materials, companies can minimize the impact on the environment.

Taking Advantage of Local Materials and Manufacturers: The transportation of materials and finished products is a significant contributor to carbon emissions. By taking advantage of local materials and manufacturers, companies can reduce their carbon footprint and support the local economy.

Implementing Transparency and Accountability: Transparency and accountability are crucial in the manufacturing process. Companies should be committed to social impact and should work closely with their manufacturers and suppliers to ensure that ethical and sustainable practices are in place.

Using Eco-Friendly Packaging: When it comes to transporting and distributing materials, using eco-friendly packaging can help minimize waste and reduce the environmental impact of production.

Manufacturing practices play a critical role in the sustainable footwear industry.

Transparency and locality of footwear production create less waste and more efficiency. Currently, many manufacturing companies are not local, and shipping cargo from overseas creates a hazard to the environment. Crates falling overboard in the ocean and flights to and from factory visits contribute to pollution and carbon dioxide emissions of airlines.

Manufacturing locally not only benefits transparency and efficiency between the factory and the footwear companies but also contributes to a more eco-friendly world, reducing carbon footprints and engaging easier communication between shoemakers and footwear retailers. For example, at COMUNITYmade, our footwear is manufactured locally in Los Angeles, advocating for a better world where efficient transparency exists between our manufacturers and us.

At COMUNITYmade, we're proud of our people and the part we play in our community. We're right here in Los Angeles, and we'd love for you to come visit us. We'd be happy to show you around and introduce you to our designers and artisans. Sustainability and fashion can create some wonderful choices we'd love to show you.

Shannon Scott
Shannon Scott


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Find Your Perfect Size

We want to help make sure that your new shoes have the best fit possible.  

We have created a separate fit for men and women to provide the ultimate foot hugging comfort.  Our sockliner and upper materials will naturally mold to your foot and stretch out after a short period of time, so do allow for this when trying our shoes on initially.


 In general, our shoes are running closer to an everyday shoe fit vs. an athletic shoe fit and can be worn with or without socks - but the socks have to be eye catching for best results.


Any variances from this chart will be noted on each individual product page.