"I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain! What a glorious feeling I'm happy again!" And your feet will be even happier with these sustainable rainboots.
There is nothing more annoying than being out and about and having wet feet thanks to putting on the wrong shoes. A good pair of ethical rainboots are going to keep your feet dry and if you pick the right ones you'll be looking as stylish as ever. But picking sustainable rainboots can be a little challenging and that's because typically they are made from PVC, a type of plastic, yes it's durable and waterproof but it's also toxic. So, grab your sustainable umbrella, and let's dive in a little further shall we...
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Shopping for sustainable rain boots can be tricky - Here's what to look for:
Sustainable fashion can seem overwhelming, it's why we try to make things super easy for you here on The Eco Hub. Our ethical fashion criteria are pretty simple, we take three key things into account:
1. What kinds of materials and fabrics are being used?
In the case of eco-friendly rainboots, we look for natural materials like rubber and recycled materials like EVA, polyurethane, and polyester. PVC, as mentioned earlier, is not only toxic but poses health risks to both us and the planet and it can't be recycled, so when you are done with those boots they end up polluting landfills even further.
What's the one thing we need a rainboot to do? Keep our feet dry right? Well, in many cases chemicals known as fluorocarbons (PFCs) are used, these are terrible for the environment and not great for us either as they omit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the air which we breathe in!
Also, stay away from Neoprene (synthetic rubber) studies show that "Neoprene itself is not considered toxic, but in a manufacturing setting, the gases from its products can be hazardous."
For the lining of the boot, we look for natural materials like cotton, hemp, or bamboo. When shopping look for third-party certifications like Prop 65, OEKO-Tex 100, REACH, CPSIA, Global Recycle Standard, and Leather Working Group.
2. Are the materials used being sourced ethically?
Ethical sourcing is the process of ensuring the materials being sourced are obtained in a responsible and sustainable way, that the workers involved in making them are safe and treated fairly and that environmental and social impacts are taken into account.
Certifications to look for are Fairtrade, B-Corp, WRAP, and BSCI. At times if the brand is smaller they don’t have immediate funds to get these certifications. If you are not sure, we suggest always asking questions for transparency.
2. What is the brand's corporate responsibility?
Looking at what else a given brand is doing in terms of social and environmental responsibility. This might include practices such as plastic-free packaging, social and environmental initiatives like carbon neutrality, and/or certifications like B-Corp.
Top Pick For Sustainable Rainboots
Hunter has been making a splash in the rainboots category for over 160 years. You have a wide variety of boots to choose from, tall boots, ankle boots, short boots you name it, they even have vegan men's rain boots and the cutest collection for little feet too. Their iconic Original boot has two " Royal Warrants of Appointment to HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh".
Hunter's fabrics and materials
In 2022, 65% of their collection will incorporate FSC®-certified rubber, BLOOM algae foam, or recycled textiles. By 2025, 100% of all of their rubber will be FSC-certified. The lining is made from polyester.
Hunter's ethical sourcing
You will not find forced labor or slave labor here. Hunter's Modern Slavery Statement was written in accordance with section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It outlines all the steps they have taken to ensure safe working conditions adding:
"Our Code of Conduct sets out the principles we expect our tier-one suppliers to meet in relation to human rights and safe and fair working conditions. It is based on international standards, including the International Labour Organization Conventions."
Hunter's corporate responsible
All of their paper packaging is recyclable and made from FSC-certified paper. The Hunter ReBoot program allows customers in the USA to pack up their old rubber boots, print off a prepaid postage label, and send them back via Zappos For Good.
"By using one tonne of recycled rubber to surface an arena (compared to virgin rubber), we save three tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere – that’s the equivalent of driving a car for 7,540 miles."
Hunter also works with World Land Trust to help endangered animals in Borneo.
2. Thesus (Formerly Alice + Whittles)
Based in Toronto, Canada, this BIPOC owned brand recently did a complete rebrand of their fair trade footwear and accessories and even though their iconic rainboot is gone you still have lots to choose from. The Weekend Boot will be your BFF on the wettest day. It comes in an array of beautiful colors ranging from Indigo to Sage, Brown, and Black sure to add a little flair to your minimalist wardrobe.
This company is one of the MOST transparent Canadian sustainable fashion brands out there. It's one of the reasons we love them so much.
The Weekend Boot is vegan, water-resistant, and made from what the brand calls "95% environmentally friendly materials", with the goal of reaching 100% this year.
Thesus fabrics and materials
The materials include recycled ocean plastic for the uppers, a natural rubber sole (45% is recycled), recycled PET bottles for the laces, and a recycled synthetic wool lining. There are no toxic glues, they use an eco-friendly adhesive instead. These boots are sure to keep you cozy all year long.
Thesus ethical sourcing
Thesus is committed to supporting a decent standard of living where it works. Their production is done at two family-run operations; one in Sri Lanka and one in Portugal; where they ensure that all of their staff and all of the staff working with their direct manufacturers are paid a living wage.
Thesus corporate responsibility
Thesus makes a point of aligning themselves with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals "to make sure we are always at the forefront of addressing important issues like Ocean Pollution, Climate Change, and Economic Inequalities." Currently, they are working on transitioning to 100% natural and recycled materials and becoming a Climate Neutral Certified company by December 31st, 2022.
Splish splash she's been making a splash in vegan fashion for years now. Stella McCartney, like her late Mother Linda, has been an outspoken advocate for animals since the beginning of her career. Her fashion house creates beautiful timeless pieces that range from vegan shoes to bags and accessories.
Stella proves you can still have high-end luxury goods with a purpose and that is certainly the case with her vegan rainboots. You have two styles to choose from, the Stella McCartney x Hunter Boot and the Trace Chelsea Boot.
Stella's fabrics and materials
All three offer something a little different. The Hunter boot is made from 72% natural rubber and 28% Yulex™, which is a type of neoprene that is known to produce 80% fewer emissions.
The Trace Chelsea Boots are made from rubber, recycled polyester, and polyurethane.
Stella's ethical sourcing
The rubber is sustainably-harvested in Guatemala and the neoprene is FSC-certified.
Stella's corporate responsibility
Stella has factories all over the world, including China where the Hunter boots are manufactured, and Italy where the Chelsea Boots are made. Make sure to check out their Eco Impact Report, which outlines their commitment to the environment.
Stella gives to many charities like the ASPCA and collaborated with organizations like Cradle to Cradle.
4. Baxter Wood
"With one step in style and the other in social responsibility" Baxter Wood's vegan Chelsea rainboots are so gorgeous, you can shop for men, women, and kids and make sure to take a look at their sustainable raincoats too, made with recycled plastic bottles. The forward-thinking designs each have a different colored sole making them very unique. Choose from white, red, or grey.
Baxter's fabrics and materials
It's all about simplicity where materials are concerned, they are lined with a chemical-free cottoner and the rubber is FSC-certified that's ethically sourced in Sri Lanka.
Baxter's ethical sourcing
If you want to know where your boots come from Baxter Wood makes it easy, on each page you can find information on where the shoe was manufactured. Make sure to give their Ethical Sourcing Policy a read, in it, they outline how they work with factories to ensure all supplies comply with national employment laws.
Baxter's corporate responsibility
Their take-back program is fantastic, they make recycling their sustainable wellies easier than ever.
"We recycle worn-out rubber boots of any kind in two easy steps. We provide you with a pre-paid label and you drop off your boots at any USPS package drop-off area. We handle it from there, getting your boots to our affiliate rubber recycling facilities. Oh, and you earn a $30 store credit for each boot you recycle"
Your old wellie makes its way into playground surfacing, roads, kickboxing bag filler, and a myriad of upcycled materials. SO COOL!
Kamik is a Canadian company that has a ton of history behind them, created in 1898 and family-owned they have been making sustainable rainboots for adults and kids in diverse courses and styles ranging from high-tops and lace-ups. All are durable and built to last and can even take on the harshest Canadian winters thanks to being water-proof.
Your kids will love the selection too!
Kamik's fabrics and materials
They use a combination of materials, the boot itself is made from 100% recyclable synthetic rubber (that is PVC-free) and recyled rubber, the inside is made from EVA and the lining is also from recycled plastic bottles.
Kamik's ethical sourcing
Some of their boots use leather which comes from Gold-rated tanneries and is also part of the Leather Working Group. The boots are designed and made in Canada and the USA.
Kamik's corporate responsibility
You can send your rainboot back to be recycled into something new, all you have to do is email recycling[at]kamik[dot]com and they will send you a pre-paid shipping label! They also recycle 90% of cooling water used by their Canadian factory, the equivalent of 15 Olympic swimming pools!
Everlane is probably one of the most known and loved sustainable clothing brands. Their modern ethical sweaters will keep you "warm, merry, and bright" and their rainboots will keep your tootsies dry! The Rain Boot will go perfectly with a good pair of sustainable jeans, they are ankle height, slip-resistant, super comfy, and have stretchy side panels to make it easier to slip them on or off. They also come in three versatile colors: black, green, and light beige.
Everlane's fabrics and materials
These ethically made rain boots are composed of 100% natural rubber and REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals) certified. This certification is designed to protect humans and the environment from hazardous chemicals.
Everlane's ethical sourcing
You can read about the factory where these boots are made on the website, noting that:
"We strive for responsible and transparent partnerships throughout our supply chain and work with third-party auditors to evaluate factors like fair wages, labor conditions, reasonable working hours, and a safe working environment".
Their certifications are impressive and include:
- RWS-certified (Responsible Wool Standard), non-mulesed wool, OEKO-TEX®, ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) contributors, GRS (Global Recycling Standard) Everlane's .
Everlane's corporate responsibility
They are the real deal! They have so many programs in place to reduce water waste and packaging waste. Their factories are 100% landfill-free thanks to their various recycling and reuse programs. Read all about their sustainability initiatives.
7. Native Shoes
Native to Canada Native Shoes make a range of vegan footwear for adults and kids and are all about innovative technology. Put the Nova Hydroknit on your wish list, it's lightweight and will keep everything from rain showers to slushy snow days away from your feet.
Native's fabrics and materials
The Nova's Stretch Knit Upper is made with 50% Recycled PET Yarn and treated with water and Stain-Resistant Spray Protection, it's a really neat technology that allows their shoes to be free from formaldehyde and BPA. They are also REACH certified and Prop 65, and CPSIA-compliant.
Native's ethical sourcing
Native Shoes are produced in China and Vietnam where Native ensure safe working conditions and no forced labor. They also make sure to use materials that are safer and more innovative, in order to reduce their environmental footprint.
Native's corporate responsibility
By 2023, Native Shoes wants every pair of theirs to be 100% life cycle managed. As such, they offer a recycling program called The Remix Project, where well-loved Native Shoes can be recycled and given new life in different projects across their community.
8. Merry People
Merry People's sustainable rainboots will keep your feet (and your kids) merry and dry. They have two styles to choose from the ankle boot and the mid-calf boot. The ankle boots or Bobbi Gumboot come in a bright array of colors that will make your wardrobe pop, think sunshine yellow and cherry red. Dani the founder was looking for a gumboot that could take you from the country to the city and after being disappointed with what was on the market she decided to take the leap and design her own.
Merry People's fabrics and materials
These boots are made from 100% natural rubber in a family-owned factory in China. The inner lining is made using neoprene and the glue they use is vegan too.
Native's ethical sourcing
Merry People works closely with their production factory to ensure safe, legal, and ethical working conditions, and even though the factors go through international audits they are in the process of mapping their full supply chain to tell the full story.
Native's corporate responsibility
They make an extra effort not to overorder their boots noting:
"We are committed to minimizing our waste and environmental footprint. We monitor sales of all sizes and styles carefully to ensure we can properly forecast demand and produce accordingly. While this does sometimes result in us selling out and going into pre-orders, this also means we don’t end up with wasted boots in landfills."
A final word on ethical rainboots
We've given you 8 great brands to choose from in this post, but a rainboot is certainly one fashion item that you can find at an online thrift shop, if you've never shopped at a thrift shop before these ten tips will help you get started and remember a slow fashion wardrobe is made up of things we are going to wear over and over again so if you are investing in a good rainboot, that's something to keep in mind!
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