Cool, Comfy, and Socially Conscious: CURIO's Guide to Sustainable Sneakers

Nothing is better than parading a fall-fresh pair of sneakers while they’re in idyllic shape. But as the Amazon fires still rage, companies such as the H&M Group, Vans, Timberland, and The North Face are eliminating Brazilian-imported leather, coercing consumers to reckon with how products are sourced. Faux-leather isn’t a reasonable answer - between the extensive chemical processes required to produce the mimic-material and the hundreds of years it takes to biodegrade, it’s not a real eco-friendly alternative. 

To encourage you to rethink your sneaker game, we sifted through the nether reaches of the internet, scouting out the chicest sustainable kicks for you to wear as you hurl into leaf piles, snag your nutmeg latte, or blaze through a haunted house. Whatever your fall activities are, make sure your feet are cozy while leaving the smallest carbon footprint possible. 

Oliver Cabell

Low 1 Alloy / $178

As a direct-to-consumer brand, Spain-produced Oliver Cabell uses Italian full-grain leather while circumventing retailer markup — offering you the best prices with the lowest packaging and transportation impact. Relying solely on ethical factories and sustainably sourced materials, this three-year-old brand has risen to be a major competitor in the sneaker-game. This cool-grey color is easy to festoon with a sweet, white-frilled sock or collaborate with a smart button-up for work.

Community Made

Westsider / $180

Nothing is more versatile than a classic black sneaker, and this one does the most good. Crafted from sustainable Italian Napa Leather with USA made laces and Ortholite insoles, these shoes are accompanied by a $10 donation to a local community effort to the arts, education, or ending homelessness.

Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather

SAMO / $125

We never said all vegan leather is bad, ‘cause it isn’t, especially when it comes to Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather. Endorsed by Emma Watson and Miley Cyrus, this brand is constantly thinking outside the box to create more eco-friendly materials. Using polymers derived from natural, renewable sources and dye sourced from cereals as well as vegetable seeds for their FW19 collection, these crafty devils are going next-level in 2020. Apple Skin shoes made from 50% apple fibers. Enough said. But hey, in the meantime why not peak at their adorable, mustard, leaf-camouflaging kicks? Claim your pair at Moonshoes or California Drifters.


Venturi B-Mesh / $140

Veja has garnered a cult following since its conception in 2005 while maintaining fair wages for its workers in Brazil and boasting B Corp certification. All of their leather is responsibly sourced in Southern Brazil, outside of the Amazon and on land that hasn’t deforested for cattle.

Chanel you inner Billie Eilish with this chunky number and your favorite over-sized sweatshirt. Alternatively, take a dress down a notch for a more casual look.