Step in to winter on the right foot with some of our favourite ethical and sustainable boots for the winter season.
Whether you prefer a glamourous knee-high or a practical chelsea style, winter boots are an essential for any capsule wardrobe. However, as is the case with much of the fast fashion industry, the ethics and environmental consequences of shoe manufacturing are at the detriment of the planet, with the leather industry in particular causing deforestation and emissions associated with livestock, chemical usage in tanneries and unethical working conditions for employees. It is as a result of these environmental impacts that The Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Materials Sustainability Index, which measures impact up to the point of fabrication, gives most leathers an impact score of 159.
Fortunately, these brands have found a way to create beautiful and practical boots without comprimising the planet. For those wanting leather boots, opting for a brand that is part of the Leather Working Group ensures consideration of chemical, water and waste management within tanneries, in addition to employee safety. If shopping for vegan products, the use of leather-alternatives by the likes of Dr Martens and Taylor + Thomas is done with an awareness of plastic pollution and carbon emissions – focusing on ethics from start to finish.
Here are some of our favourite boots to invest in this winter:
The Boss Boot, £195, Everlane
Everlane‘s ‘Boss Boot’ is made from 100% Italian leather with a comfortable and very walkable 2 inch heel. Thanks to Everlane’s commitment to transparency, these boots can be traced to Lastra a Signa, Italy, with details of the manufacturing process and factory employees available to read before commiting to purchasing.
Elon Boot, $595, Coclico
These knee-high Italian leather boots from Coclico are perfect paired with Autumn midi skirts and thick woollen (sustainable!) tights. The brand focuses on sourcing workers and partners who operate on a small scale, with artisinal crafters and third-party certification verifying their integrity and processes.
Waterproof Beige Leather Mesa Boots, £125, Toms
If you want waterproof shoes but don’t want to compromise on style or ethics, Toms‘ lined waterproof Mesa boots can be worn in snow and rain. Every purchase from Toms has the added bonus of contributing to its charity work, with its shoe initiative having resulted in over 93 million pairs of new shoes being given to children in need.
2976 Chelsea Boots, £139, Dr Martens
A pair of black leather boots is a staple for any wardrobe – versatile enough for work, weekends and evenings out. Dr Martens‘ extensive range of boots offer something for everyone; be it leather or a leather alternative, lace up or pull on, platform or not. Be sure to read its social responsibility page to learn about the great initiatives it has in place, focusing on its supply chain and employment, as well as its part in the Leather Working Group.
Heeled Chelsea Boot, $228, Nisolo
These heeled chelsea boots from Nisolo – a certified B Corporation and member of the Leather Working Group – are great for everything from work to weekend wear. Made with by-product leather and hand-crafted in an ethical factory in León, Mexico, these leather boots are the perfect solution for day to night boot.
Classic Ankle Rain Boot, $120, Alice + Whittles
Alice + Whittles‘ rain boots offer both a sustainable and chic alternative to a welly boot. Made from fair-trade rubber from sustainably-managed forests in Sri Lanka, these rain boots will keep you dry without compromising the planet.
Lizzie Boot, $248, The Root Collective
The Root Collective‘s 100% leather boots are handcrafted in Guatemala and are made in partnership with small, independent workshops with a focus on community. These Olive green boots are a low-heel alternative and add a little twist on the classic boot.
Medusa B Block Heel Knee High Vegan Boots, £375, Beyond Skin
These knee-high tan boots by Brighton-based vegan shoe company Beyond Skin are handmade in Alicante, Spain. Beyond Skin endeavours to source components and fabrics for its shoes as locally to the factories as possible to try to reduce its carbon footprint, and pledges to give 1% of the profits to grass-root environmental and social projects.
Debbie Boots, $585, Taylor + Thomas
Luxury vegan footwear brand Taylor + Thomas offers this stylish eco-alternative to a heeled pointed boot. In addition to the use of leather alternatives, Taylor + Thomas focuses on being carbon neutral, PETA-approved and donates 1% of sales each season to charity.