How to find stylish recycled shoes

Play your part and help the planet with these eco-friendly recycled footwear options

Mature woman looking at shoes

by Emily Gilbert |

There are masses of shoe options to choose from when the time comes to buy a new pair, but have you ever considered recycled shoes?

Each year, 25 billion pairs of shoes are manufactured world-wide. However, hardly any of these are made sustainably, with most used shoes eventually ending up in landfill where they will sit for hundreds of years. But it doesn't have to be that way.

What are recycled shoes?

Put simply, recycled shoes are essentially footwear which have been made sustainably from recycled materials such as plastic bottles and cork. These are usually made in such a way that once the wearer has decided they no longer want the shoes, the recycled shoes can either be passed onto someone else or remade into something new. This very much depends on the materials and glue that the shoes are made from.

The good news is that recycled shoes are commonly trainers, flats and generally soft and comfortable footwear you already may be used to wearing.

Read next: 14 eco-friendly clothing brands in the UK

How to find recycled shoes

With many of us much more aware of the environment and global warming, it is now a lot easier to find recycled shoes than it once was. We've rounded some of the best brands who are offering fashionable recycled shoes that both look good and do good.

Here are a few eco-friendly shoe brands we love...

Rothy's 'The Loafer'

Romy's Loafer

View offer

If you favour a loafer shoe, Rothy offer loads of fun patterns including cheetah and camo. All Rothyu2019s are carefully crafted with eco-friendly materials in our sustainable manufacturing workshop. From thier signature thread made from repurposed plastic water bottles to bio-based algae strobel boards (aka the spot under the insoles), each material is chosen carefully.

Adidas Ultraboost 20 shoes

Adidas Ultraboost 20 shoes

View offer

After a new pair of trainers? Adidas have partnered with Parley, an organisation that works to address major threats to the ocean. The Ultraboost shoe's upper is made with Primeblue, a high-performance recycled material containing at least 50% Parley Ocean Plastic.

Saola Sequoia Women Obsidian

Sequoia Women Obsidian

View offer

Slip-in to SAOLAu2019s eco-cool slip-ons, made with recycled and organic materials. The upper is made from 90% knitted from recycled plastic bottles while the insole 100% natural cork + Algae Foam. The removable insoles are easy to replace with your own too.

All Birds Wool Runners

Wool Runners

View offer

Allbirds shoes are made from merino wool, recycled bottles and other sustainable materials. These Wool Runners are soft and cosy and flexibly conforms to your movements offering you greater freedom.

Have a go at minor shoe repairs

Before you go to chuck out a busted pair of shoes, consider whether you or someone else could do minor repairs to restore them to their former glory. Sometimes, it's easier than you might realise and YouTube can be a huge help. Alternatively, many shops such as Timpson offer shoe and boot repairs.

How to recycle your shoes

One man's trash is another man's treasure as they say and before you get rid of old shoes, consider selling them on Ebay or Gumtree. That way someone gets a 'new' pair of shoes and you get some cash - win win!

If you don't have much luck selling your shoes, Recycle Now say: 'You can take your old or unwanted shoes and boots to most recycling centres, put them in a bring bank or donate them to a charity shop.' Find your nearest recycling location here.

Read next on Yours:

Ways you can help the environment after lockdown

Strive footwear review

Help the environment and get free make-up remover

The best way to clean white trainers

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us