Of the different shoes I present on UniGuide, flip flops are a “shoe-in” for the highest echelons of casual vegan and eco-friendly shoes. Today, you can find a variety of really cool vegan flip flops that are also gentle on the planet. Today, bother new designers and established brands are making flip flops with recycled plastic, upcycled tires, cork, hemp, and more. Some of the 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 you’re wearing flip flops that are made with materials that are not Earth- or animal-friendly – like plastic, certain types of foam, suede, or leather – it erodes their feel-good vibe.
Flip flops transcend cultures, as people all over the world wear them. In fact, the earliest record we have of a flip flop-style sandal was the type worn by the ancient Egyptians in 1500 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.)
1. Recycled Flops by Indosole
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!
2. Vegan Cork and Recycled Polyester Flip Flops by SOLÉ
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.
3. Crevo Men’s Faux Suede and Hemp Flip Flops
4. All-Natural Cork Flip Flops
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.
5. Rider Recycled Vegan Flip Flops
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.
6. Gumbies Recycled Rubber and Jute Sole Flip Flops
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.”
7. Bumpers Massaging Flip Flops
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.
8. Sanuk Vegan Flip Flops
Owned by Deckers, the Sanuk brand has a variety of shoes made that are made with vegan and natural fibers. Deckers carries some non-vegan brands, but they do put out an annual corporate social responsibility report and focus on worker safety along their supply chains.
9. Recycled and Recyclable Flip Flops by Okabashi
Made in the USA, Okabashi‘s sandals contain 20% recycled materials. Okabashi has their own recycling program – when you’re done with your flip flops, you can mail them back and Okabashi will use the materials to make more of their products.
10. Feelgoodz Natural Rubber, Non-Toxic Flip Flops
Feelgoodz makes men’s and women’s flip flops with natural rubber. They also use all-natural dyes and non-toxic ink. You’ll find a variety of colors at a great price point. (For you vegans, they do make some styles with leather, so be sure to read the product details!)
11. Fair Trade Flip Flops by OLLI
OLLI makes Fair Trade flip flops with natural rubber sourced in Sri Lanka. The company was founded by two sisters, The Olli Sisters. They found the chemicals that are used in traditional flip flops to be unacceptable. So, they set out to make a better flip flop with natural rubber, but soon realized the treatment of workers on many rubber plantations was also not acceptable. The result of their innate sense of decency was to create these socially conscious, Fair Trade flip flops (plus other cool, Fair Trade products.)
12. Waves 100% Natural Rubber Flip Flops
13. Rainbow Sandals Hemp Flip Flops
San Clemente, California-based Rainbow Sandals has a line of hemp flip flops that have a natural aesthetic. And they get the cool frayed look once they’re worn in a bit. Rainbow Sandals does make some leather versions, so be sure to check the product details. But I salute them for giving to a number of charities, with a special emphasis on education. I can’t argue with that! They offer men’s and women’s styles, and their hemp sandals comes in natural, brown, and black.
14. Recycled Tire Tread Sandals
15. Classic Tatami Sandals
These sandals are probably the closest modern day flip flops to the original Japanese zōri sandals mentioned at the beginning of this post. Wish cloth straps and grass mat-based soles, their comfy and casual. (Be sure to read the products details before you buy as some are made with synthetic materials instead of real grass.)
16. Hemp Flip Flops
A variety of importers offer eco-friendly hemp flip flops from Nepal, which is one of the world’s premier hemp-growing regions. These natural, eco-friendly flip flops get more comfortable with wear and they come in a variety of colors and designs, including tie dyed. To see more styles, visit my post on hemp sandals and shoes. And if you’re looking for more hemp styles, check out my posts on hemp clothing and hemp hats. Enjoy!