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Spending time outdoors is one of the best things you can do for your health. Nature gives us so much! It helps us sleep better, reduces stress and anxiety, and boosts our happy hormones.
No matter what kind of hiker you are, a good eco-friendly hiking boot is essential for happy feet and keeping you prepared for anything that might happen on the trail!
Sustainable Hiking Boots To Stand Behind!
Ready to tackle any terrain, these boots were made for walking.
Made in Italy to the highest standards, the WV Sport Hiking Boots have been designed for traction, stability, comfort, and durability in the most demanding terrains.
I wore them on a recent camping trip and did not need to break them in! We hiked for 4 hours with no issues at all! The rubber outsoles provide great grip, traction, braking, and stability. Not only are these one of the best sustainable waterproof hiking boots they are also fantastic women’s vegan hiking boots.
Will's — fabrics and materials
Most of their footwear and accessories are made using Italian bio-based vegan leather sourced from cereal crops. This material is a great sustainable alternative to traditional leather and is a step towards a more environmentally-friendly production process.
Their latest version of this material contains 69% bio-oil and a backing fabric made from viscose, a natural material derived from eucalyptus trees. However, it still contains 31% polyurethane, a type of plastic that is not biodegradable.
Their vegan suedes, on the other hand, are made entirely from 100% polyurethane, which is not the most sustainable option. However, the brand is actively searching for more eco-friendly alternatives.
It's worth mentioning that none of their products use PVC or contain PFCs, which are harmful chemicals commonly used in manufacturing.
Will's — ethical sourcing
As well as working under EU employment, discrimination, and health & safety law, the factory has its own Charter of Human Responsibilities (or Code of Ethics), which helps ensure the company is committed to respecting the rights, work, and dignity of its employees.
For sourcing the materials to create each model they work with the factory using a traceability system that enables us to trace back every step in the production process. Hence, they always know what has been used and where it originated.
Will's — corporate responsibility
The factory where these sustainable hiking boots are made features one of Italy's largest photovoltaic plants, meaning that 70% of the power used to produce WVSport footwear is from solar.
These boots are product certified carbon-neutral and delivered to you through their carbon-neutral supply chain in paper and cardboard packaging
You can return it free of charge for 365 days with our paperless carbon-neutral returns service. Use their return-to-recycle service when this product is at its end!
Price Range: $180-$210
You will love Forsake's ethical, sustainable hiking boots for men and women. Choose from a variety of styles and colors. The Hiking Sneaker Boot is durable, waterproof, and made for the all-terrain adventurer. I love the classic design and combinations of colors.
Foresake's — fabrics and materials
These boots are made from a combination of fabrics and materials. The leather is sourced exclusively from tanneries with a Gold rating from the Leather Working Group.
Foresake's — ethical sourcing
The boots are manufactured ethically in China, and the tanneries have undergone multiple audits of their facilities, waste management, emissions, and oversight. Over the audit process, they’ve reduced their energy use by up to 48%.
Foresake's — corporate responsibility
Forsake ships boots using 100% recyclable shrink wrap, reducing their cardboard waste by 50%.
They also our footprint by purchasing carbon credits. That’s another way of saying that we invest in programs that help reduce global emissions.
For 2021, our credits support Envira Amazonia, a rainforest conservation project in Brazil recognized for its biodiversity and community benefits. It directly protects about 500,000 acres from deforestation.“
Price Range: $138–$220
Thesus is a BIPOC women-owned Canadian brand that makes eco-friendly hiking shoes free of new virgin plastics and 100% vegan! Their selection of ethical hiking boots has a very versatile design and will look good with any outdoor outfit.
The Allegra Weekend Boot can take you on a hike or even run errands and is a good option for cold and warm weather. Choose from 11 gorgeous colors. We recommend going one size up, and they can fit a little on the small size, and you will probably want to wear a good pair of sustainable socks with them!
Thesus — fabrics and materials
Inside the boot is a temperature-controlled lining made with 100% synthetic wool. The upper is made using repurposed marine plastic, making them waterproof. The soles are made from natural rubber, and vegan glue holds them together. The rubber is 45% recycled, and the laces are made with 100% recycled PET bottles.
Thesus — ethical sourcing
All their products are made in Portugal and Sri Lanka, where staff is paid a living wage.
Thesus — corporate responsibility
Thesus will be Climate Neutral Certified by the end of the year and some of their products support charitable organizations.
Price Range: $180–$280
With a strong commitment to sustainability, Vivobarefoot’s Tracker Hiking Boot is made to be flexible and durable. Reviewers tout that they are secure on feet, waterproof, and keep out sand and gravel too!
Vivobarefoot wants to ensure you feel the “joys of natural foot freedom” and offer a 100-day trial on all orders. If you change your mind within that period, you can return them for a full refund with no hassle.
Vivobarefoot’s — fabrics and materials
They also use sustainably sourced natural yarns and materials like cork. They use recycled PET and rubber compounds to minimize their use of virgin materials.
Vivobarefoot’s — ethical sourcing
Where possible, they ensure that the materials they select are as close to the shoe factory to reduce unnecessary transport and emissions.
They continually work towards limiting the use of chemical substances in shoes and, where possible, substitute with products or systems with less environmental impact. They work closely with all of our material suppliers to comply with the latest and highest environmental safety standards and push to improve all the materials we use.
Vivobarefoot’s — corporate responsibility
They conserve energy by developing new technologies and redesigning existing ones for cost-effective improvements.
In the future, they aim to create products with closed-loop manufacturing processes. Shoes that create no waste are free from toxic substances and have no adverse environmental impact.
Price Range: $85–$120
Of all the eco hiking boots we looked at, the Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots had the most positive reviews making it the best overall sustainable hiking boot.
The Moabs are waterproof and vented to ensure your tootsies stay dry! It comes in a range of styles for both men and women, you can choose from both wide and normal widths, sizes, and colors.
We highly recommend you look at their sustainable hiking boots for kids. So many great options to choose from.
Merrell's — fabrics and materials
Different types of fabrics make up this hiking boot, the upper is 70% recycled mesh, and the laces are 100% recycled fabrics. 100% of their products will contain organic, recycled, or renewable materials.
Some shoes are made with leather from a gold-rated tannery by the Leather Working Group.
Merrell's — ethical sourcing
As a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Merrell ensures that sustainability is present in their supply chain, they also focus on durability, which we love! This means they last longer and create less waste.
Merrell's — corporate responsibility
Return your used Merrell shoes to them at no cost, no matter how well-loved. They will make sure they find a new home or are ground down to make new materials for new products.
By recycling your old Merrell footwear with them - or shopping their great value pre-owned styles - you're helping us achieve their goal of saving 300,000 shoes from landfills by 2025.
Price Range: $129–$199
8000Kicks is a brand that offers eco-friendly, vegan hiking boots and sneakers made from sustainable materials such as hemp fibers and algae bloom soles. The brand's founder, Bernardo, worked with his grandmother, who has over 50 years of experience in textiles, to create the world's first waterproof hemp sneaker after a year of trial and error.
The Explorer is the first model of hemp shoes developed by 8000Kicks. It is designed and engineered in Portugal as the most eco-friendly, durable, and comfortable sneaker ever built.
Exciting news from 8000Kicks! They have introduced their latest product, the world's first waterproof hemp Chelsea boots. This classic design has been updated with premium hemp upper, making it more stylish than ever.
The new boots are vegan and use the same waterproofing technology as their backpacks and shoes. They also feature a rugged sole that can withstand even the most demanding terrains, while maintaining a minimalist design that's perfect for daily wear.
8000Kicks — fabrics and materials
The boots feature super-strong hemp fibers that make them durable and waterproof, an essential feature for hikers. The shoes also come with the world's first hemp insoles made from organic materials, providing additional support and cushioning to the feet.
The algae bloom soles in these shoes are also eco-friendly and provide excellent traction on all terrains.
8000Kicks — ethical sourcing
8000Kicks sources their hemp from France, Romania, and China. On their website, you can read about each factory they work with.
They ensure good working conditions and maximum quality by regularly inspecting their factories and partners. They also have representatives in each country where major production occurs to guarantee they meet the brand's standards.
The shoes are manufactured in Portugal and China. This allows them to work with different factories while maintaining the quality and ethical standards that 8000Kicks is committed to.
8000Kicks — corporate responsibility
8000Kicks is committed to corporate responsibility and positively impacting the environment. They work with their factory partners to increase their dependency on renewable energy sources.
Their Portuguese factory uses 45% to 55% clean energy sources, while their China factory uses 30% to 40%. They are continuously working towards improving these percentages.
Another way that 8000Kicks is investing in the environment is by capturing CO2 with hemp farms and planting trees. Each newly planted tree can remove an average of 50 kilograms of CO2 from the atmosphere each year during its 20-50 years growth period.
To support their mission, you can use the code THEECOHUB10 for 10% off of your first purchase.
So you want to buy sustainable hiking boots? This is what to look for:
If you read The Eco Hub regularly, you know we are big supporters of shopping for secondhand gear, but sometimes certain items, like sustainable hiking boots, you can’t get away with buying used.
From sustainable sneakers to ethical shoes and even eco-friendly sandals, the footwear industry (hello, fast fashion) is infamous for using unsustainable materials and practices in producing their shoes. That’s why finding sustainable hiking boots can be challenging.
When shopping for any sustainable clothing, we recommend you consider three main criteria:
1. What materials and fabrics is the brand using?
In eco-friendly hiking boots, we want to look for fabrics and materials from recycled materials, like polyester and nylon, instead of virgin synthetics. If leather is used, where is the leather coming from? The leather industry kills one billion animals annually; the tanning process is chemically heavy!
We also want to avoid waterproofing chemicals like PFCs (per and poly-fluorinated carbons). These chemicals might do a great job of keeping our feet dry, but they also pollute the environment. They can linger in the environment indefinitely and have been linked to obesity and kidney cancers, and have even been found in breast milk.
Leather and wool are good options, mostly due to their durability and warmth! But both come with many ethical issues where people and animals are concerned. You've probably heard the term "ethical leather," but there is no such thing. Leather is not a by-product of the meat industry. It's a co-product!
This means that it's not a by-product that the meat industry does not want. It's the opposite. The meat industry relies (in part) on animal skins to make a profit. But what about the Leather Working Group certification? Well, it's complicated.
Unfortunately, this certification only covers the tanning process, does not consider workers' or animal rights, and does not address the deforestation caused by the industry. So like all "green" certifications, we need to dig deeper and understand the implications at all levels and avoid greenwashing where possible.
Given all this, we prefer to choose plant materials instead.
Certifications: Leather Working Group (LWG), OEKO-TEX, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), bluesign®, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), Woolmark.
2. How are the materials being sourced?
How are the companies making improving their supply chain? Are the fabric and material being sourced responsibly? Are there any third-party certifications we can be on the lookout for?
3. What’s the company's corporate responsibility?
Are they a B Corp? Do they offer carbon-neutral shipping? Are they trying to reduce packaging? What other sustainable efforts do they have in place?
A final word on sustainable hiking boots
As we come to the end of our discussion on sustainable hiking boots, it's clear that the market is beginning to shift towards more eco-friendly options. Brands like 8000Kicks lead the charge using sustainable materials such as hemp and algae bloom soles.
It's important to note that the issue of sustainability in the footwear industry is not just about choosing eco-friendly options. It's also about reducing waste and avoiding landfill buildup. Shockingly, Americans throw away over 300 million pairs of shoes each year, with 95% ending up in landfills. This creates a mountain of waste that even the most avid hikers would avoid.
To combat this waste, it's important to choose brands that prioritize sustainability in their production process and waste reduction efforts. Look for brands that offer recycling or repurposing programs for their shoes, or consider donating your old shoes to those in need.