Of the different shoes I present on UniGuide, flip flops are a shoe-in for the highest echelons of vegan and eco-friendly shoes. Today, you can find a variety of really cool vegan flip flops that are also gentle on the planet. There are styles made with recycled plastic, upcycled tires, cork, hemp, and more. Other eco-friendly materials include natural rubber, recycled polyester, and upcycled industrial hoses.
If we could wear them every day, we probably would. Why? Because flip flops feel like sunshine, warm weather, the beach, and relaxation. But if your flip flops are made from materials that are not Earth- or animal-friendly – like plastic, certain types of foam, suede, or leather – it erodes their feel-good vibe.
According to Wikipedia, flip flops transcend cultures, as they’re worn by people all over the world. The earliest record we have of a flip flop-style sandal was the type worn by the ancient Egyptians in 1,5oo B.C. But the modern flip flops that we all know and love today were probably inspired by the Japanese zōri, which American soldiers brought back to the U.S. after World War II.
So, if you’re getting ready for summer, going on vacation somewhere warm, bumming around town, or walking from the shower to your locker at the gym, look no further – you’ve come to the right place to find some cool flip flops that are also easy on the Earth. (And it goes without saying – on UniGuide, any flip flops you see will be vegan.)
It’s estimated that 80% of the debris that pollutes our oceans is plastic. This is why I’m a huge fan of the collaboration between adidas and Parley. Parley for the Oceans is an organization that sets out to intercept waste on the beach and in coastal communities before it reaches the ocean. They recycle this waste into threads that adidas then uses to make not only flips flops and sneakers, but also a new line of yoga and active wear. The sustainable cork foot bed in these sandals makes them even cooler. The adidas Eezay Parley Slide is available in men’s and women’s styles.
Indosole is a certified B Corporation, which means it’s a for-profit company that is certified by the nonprofit B Lab for maintaining rigorous social and environmental standards. Indosole is helping to solve a significant environmental problem by repurposing some of the billions of discarded tires that would otherwise pollute important places, like riverways, other natural habitats, and even cities, into useful footwear. Their socially conscious vegan flip flops are super popular with UniGuide visitors, so be sure to check out a pair for yourself!
SOLÉ takes corporate social responsibility and environmental stewardship seriously, which led them to using cork, an all-natural and sustainable material, in their vegan and eco-friendly sandals. Plus, they incorporate other Earth-friendly materials, like hemp and recycled polyester, into their designs. SOLÉ focuses on reducing CO2 by running a business that is carbon negative. They achieve this by planting cork trees, harvesting the bark, recycling wine corks, and purchasing carbon offsets.
Cork is a superstar sustainable material because when cork bark is harvested, it does not harm the tree. In fact, the harvesting process enable the cork tree to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere. Plus, cork forests are home to over 13,000 species of plants, animals, and insects that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. So, purchasing cork products helps to ensure cork forests are not cut down. Cork is also a perfect material for flip flops because it’s durable and naturally anti-microbial.
These all-natural cork flip flops, by Original Cork Shop, come in a variety of fun colors.
I can’t believe I just discovered this brand! Rider is all about making socially conscious and eco-friendly sandals. Their flip flops are made with 15-30% recycled materials, and 99% of the industrial waste generated from their production is either re-used or recycled. On a monthly basis, the company recycles 960 tons of materials. And when your Rider flop flops wear out, you can send them back to the company and they’ll recycle them into something new, like the flooring for children’s playgrounds. Warning: They have so many cool, vibrant color combinations that it’s going to be hard to choose.
Gumbies Flip Flops have their own unique look. Company founder Michel Maurer is a freedom-loving adventurer who never wanted to be boxed in to a traditional way of living. Gumbies’ design reflects that philosophy. Maurer tinkered with different materials to be used in his sandals, and eventually settled on a sole made with recycled rubber, cut into little squares, and woven together with jute. The company puts an emphasis on using the “most practical, natural, recycled, and planet friendly materials possible.”
Theses eco-friendly flip flops will massage your feet while being gentle on the planet. They’re made with natural and recycled rubber. Plus, Bumpers has a zero waste production process, so all scraps are sent back to their rubber factory to be recycled and made into the next pair of massaging flip flops. If you’re into reflexology, or just super happy feet, these may be your Holy Grail of flip flops. But be warned: they come in so many fun color combos, it’s going to be hard to choose.
Husband and wife team Josh and Heather Carpenter started Landfill Dzine when they saw a lot of useful materials come through the family’s recycling center, which served the agricultural industry. Self-described recycling fanatics, The Carpenters saw style and innovation where others just saw trash. Landfill Dzine makes a variety of products for men, women, and kids – including belts, shoes, and bags – all made from upcycled and recycled materials.