These vegan flats work for any outfit, any time
By Holly Litchfield
Made a wardrobe staple by none other than (trained dancer herself) Audrey Hepburn, ballet flats are comfortable, timelessly chic, and easy to pop into your handbag to take as a sub when you just can’t stand wearing heels for another second (surely, I’m not the only one who does that?)
But the flat has moved beyond the ballet pump style: they now come with pointy toes, slight heels, or even a platform sole, for example. No matter which style you prefer, a pair of vegan flats is a must-have for any sustainable wardrobe: they look elegant with slim cigarette pants, summer dresses, and of course, jeans. They’re also perfect for any season – I wear mine with tights in the cooler months to keep my legs warm, but unless there’s a bit of snow outside, I’m pretty much wearing flats all year round.
Since ballet flats were originally made of satin, vegan materials for flats seem like a natural choice, and there’s plenty of variety these days, too: you can select from everything from apple leather to fabric made from recycled bottles!
Here, we’ve curated a selection of the best vegan flats of all different colours, styles and vibes, for any sartorial situation you may find yourself in.
Our Pick Of The Best Vegan Flats For Any Occasion
1. Sydney Brown
American born Sydney Brown was passionate about creating a brand that would stand out for manufacturing luxury products produced in an environmentally friendly way. Today, the eco-friendly materials used in her collections range from reclaimed wood heels to coconut insoles, and prove just how sustainable materials such as these – paired with the vision of a talented designer – can be incredibly stylish.
With Japan being her main source of inspiration, Brown’s flats come in luxurious finishes and quirky cuts, as exemplified by these shimmery recycled plastic flats, below.
Price: Around $230
Rothy’s are basically the gold standard for vegan flats. Made from repurposed plastic bottles, they’re as eco-friendly as they are gorgeous. The fabric is so soft and stretchy, you’ll never have to worry about feeling uncomfortable in these – the shoe will constantly bend and flex to the movement of your feet, and Rothy’s come in sizes that fit just about any foot (they run from US 5 all the way up to 13). We particularly love their pointed toe flats, which bring an instant polish to any outfit.
Price: Around $140
3. Beyond Skin
‘Put a guilt free spring in your step and be the change you wish to see in the world’ That’s the mantra of ethical footwear label Beyond Skin. 100% vegan and not a single trace of animal product are used in the making of their shoes, so you can be sure to look good with a crystal clear conscience! They ethically source their PU from Italy, and are confident that it still provides all of the glamour of leather, but without causing harm to our environment, or animals, of course. Our favourite flats of the moment? These sweet bee-embroidered slippers.
Price: Around $125
Looking for somewhat fancier vegan flats? Perhaps for a special occasion? These chic shoes by Lauren Lorraine should fit the bill! The label isn’t purely a vegan brand, but who could resist the studded sunburst sparkle on these basic-but-cruelty-free ballet flats? Choose from ruby red, shimmery silver, bold black or glittery gold.
Price: Around $85
5. NAE Vegan
This Portuguese based brand delivers internationally and is devoted to providing 100% vegan products using only the most eco-friendly materials available and no trace of any toxic fabrics such as PVC. The brand is also confident that its produce is manufactured in worker-friendly factories in accordance with the labour standards set by the European Union.
Our pick of their flat designs would be the Perla bowed pump, below, whose slightly sparkly sequins add a touch of glam to any outfit.
Price: Around $98
Founded in 2009, Noah provides exclusively handcrafted Italian footwear produced in guaranteed worker friendly conditions. Like every vegan brand mentioned above, Noah also uses the materials proven to have less of an impact on our environment, like PU and natural rubber. The quality of the footwear is unmistakable, and the collection can be described as both conservative and stylish.
Perfect for office wear and day-to-day life, Noah’s range of flats offer plenty of fashionable styles to choose from, but their black flats, below, are perennial faves.
Price: Around $85
If you like your flats with a bit of a height boost, you can’t go wrong with this now-classic pair by vegan icon Stella McCartney! Embellished with her trademark five pointed stars, these are easier to walk in than you’d think. Oh, and they’re eco-friendly, too – this style features soles made from Bio TPU Rubber, which is made from 49% renewable resources.
Price: Around $525
8. Matt and Nat
Your favourite bag brand is now trying to be your favourite shoe brand, too! Made from PU microfibre, their Alana flats come with an elasticised strap, allowing them to fit any foot more comfortably. This is a super minimalist style that adds elegance to even the most casual looks.
Price: Around $85
Josefinas is the only luxury shoe brand born with the purpose to inspire and empower women! Three years ago, three female friends launched the brand with the dream of inspiring other women to follow their own paths. Now the three female entrepreneurs are taking it further, helping other female leaders grow their businesses and supporting individual women in need in Rwanda.
Since its founding, Josefinas has become popular with conscious celebrities and has become a fast favourite with vegans on Instagram.
We love their ballet-inspired vegan flats – especially the bubblegum pink ones!
Price: Around $170
Image: @peonylim on Instagram
Rungg’s Co-Founder and Chief Designer Ekta Sethi finds inspiration in nature and colour. She creates beautiful cruelty free flats, sandals and heels that feature handmade, Indian-style embroidery and bead work, giving them a delicate, artisanal touch. Those who participate in creating this elaborately embellished footwear are all fairly paid, of course.
Price: Around $250
11. HEXA Bangkok
Poromeric vegan leather is the secret behind Thai label HEXA Bangkok’s incredible shoes. It’s an innovative, breathable material that eliminates foot odour, as it imitates the open-pore collagen structure of leather, but with non-animal materials. It’s also flexible, solvent free, and contains the minimum PU content possible.
We love the BellaDonna style, below, which features a fabric upper, a chic gold sole, and two vegan leather straps to keep the shoe in place.
Price: Around $125
Looking for vegan flats on a budget? These Lulus Ellya Taupe Suede pointed-toe Loafers are an updated version of a classic! Soft vegan suede shapes these loafers, which also boast matching tassels that decorate the vamp, giving the shoe a sophisticated touch reminiscent of a moccasin.
They may be best known for making lovely heels that you can embellish with ankle straps, buckles and fringes, but guess what? Now Veerah makes vegan flats, too! They’re fabricated from the same vegan leathers, and the best part of these babies is that they boast a sneaker-like cushioned insole that’s made from repurposed algae. Oh, and get this: each pair saves 11 gallons of filtered water and keeps 8 gallons of CO2 out of the atmosphere, compared to leather shoe manufacturing.
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