Two pairs of sustainable flip flops placed right side up in the sand on a sunny day by the beach.
May 28, 2024
 in 
Slow Fashion

Step Into The Summer With These 13 Beachin Eco-Friendly Flip Flops

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ummer is here, and with it, the call of sandy shores and crashing waves. As you pack your beach bag with essentials like towels, sunscreen, and a good book, don’t forget to think about what’s on your feet. 

Flip-flops are the go-to beach footwear for their comfort and simplicity. Whether strolling along the shore or lounging by the pool, these lightweight sandals are a summer staple. 

However, their convenience has a downside. Flip-flops often break or get lost, contributing to landfills and up to 25% of plastic ocean pollution. 

Made from synthetic materials that take centuries to decompose, traditional flip-flops add to the plastic waste clogging our ecosystems. They litter our beaches and threaten marine life, which can mistake microplastics for food.

Choosing eco-friendly flip-flops is a small step that makes a big difference. These sustainable alternatives are crafted from materials that are kind to your skin and the planet, offering the same comfort without the environmental guilt.

Table of  Contents

Why go eco-friendly with your flip-flop choices?

When you choose eco-friendly flip-flops, you’re opting for more than just a pair of sandals. Conventional flip-flops are usually made with non-biodegradable materials like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane (PU), which clutter landfills and pollute beaches. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), synthetic rubber and plastic waste contribute significantly to environmental degradation. Synthetic rubber production releases toxic gasses and volatile organic compounds, posing environmental and human health risks. 

Moreover, these toxins can leach into the soil and waterways, impacting wildlife and ecosystems. In choosing eco-friendly alternatives, you support using sustainable resources, reducing your carbon footprint, and promoting a cleaner, healthier planet.

What are eco-friendly flip-flops?

Eco-friendly flip-flops are designed with the environment in mind. They are made from sustainable, non-toxic materials that minimize environmental impact. Standard materials include natural rubber, recycled plastics, organic cotton, and plant-based fibers like hemp. These materials ensure the product is both eco-friendly and comfortable.

These flip-flops are mainly produced using ethical manufacturing practices, ensuring fair labor conditions and reducing carbon emissions. Additionally, eco-friendly flip-flops are designed to be durable, reducing the need for frequent replacements and further decreasing waste.

They often come with certifications from reputable organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which ensure that the materials used are sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly. 

Some brands even incorporate innovative materials like algae foam or sugarcane EVA, which add to the product's sustainability and comfort.

Choosing eco-friendly flip-flops provides comfort and style and supports a sustainable lifestyle and a healthier planet. By opting for these environmentally conscious products, you contribute to reducing pollution and resource depletion, positively impacting the world.

What materials are eco-friendly flip-flops made from?

A close-up of cork material which is what some flip flops are made of.

Eco-friendly flip-flops are crafted from a variety of sustainable materials that are both kind to the environment and comfortable for your feet. 

1. Natural Rubber

Natural rubber, harvested from rubber trees, is a top choice for eco-friendly flip-flops. Unlike synthetic rubber derived from petroleum, natural rubber is biodegradable and has a lower environmental impact. The extraction process is sustainable and supports the livelihoods of rubber tappers, making it a win-win for both people and the planet.

2. Recycled Rubber

Recycled rubber is another excellent option. By repurposing old tires and other rubber products, brands can create durable flip-flops that prevent additional waste from ending up in landfills. This approach reduces waste and lowers the demand for new raw materials, conserving resources in the process.

3. Sugarcane-Based EVA

EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) is commonly used in footwear for its cushioning properties. However, traditional EVA is petroleum-based. Eco-friendly flip-flops often use EVA made from sugarcane, a renewable resource. This sugarcane-derived EVA is carbon-negative, which absorbs CO2 as it grows, making it a much greener alternative.

4. Cork

Cork is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees without harming the tree. It’s a sustainable material regenerating naturally, making it an excellent choice for eco-friendly flip-flops. Cork provides a comfortable, supportive footbed and is naturally antimicrobial and water-resistant.

5. Algae Foam

Algae foam is an innovative material used in some eco-friendly flip-flops. It’s made from harmful algae blooms harvested to produce a sustainable foam. This process not only cleans up waterways but also creates a comfortable, durable material for footwear.

6. Hemp and Organic Cotton

Some brands incorporate natural fibers like hemp and organic cotton into their designs. These materials are grown without harmful pesticides, making them a sustainable option for the straps and uppers of flip-flops.

When you choose flip-flops made from these materials, you’re reducing your carbon footprint and supporting sustainable practices. Every step you take in eco-friendly flip-flops is a step towards a healthier planet.

Are eco-friendly flip-flops as durable?

It's a valid concern: will eco-friendly flip-flops hold up as well as their conventional counterparts? The short answer is absolutely. Many eco-friendly flip-flops are engineered to be even more durable than traditional ones.

Let's dive into why. Take natural rubber, for example. It's a star player in the world of eco-friendly footwear. Not only is it sustainably sourced, but it's also incredibly resilient. Natural rubber flip-flops can take a beating, whether you're strolling along sandy beaches or splashing through salty waves. They're built to last, resisting wear and tear far longer than expected.

But that's not all. Some brands push the envelope further with innovative materials like sugarcane EVA and algae foam. These cutting-edge materials aren't just eco-friendly but also tough as nails. Flip-flops made from sugarcane EVA or algae foam materials are exceptionally comfortable and durable, making them a great option for more rugged exposures.

So, rest assured: when you slip on a pair of eco-friendly flip-flops, you're not sacrificing durability. If anything, you're getting footwear built to go the distance – and then some.

How to pick your own eco-friendly flip-flops

Woman sitting on driftwood by peddled beach wearing eco-friendly flip flops.

Choosing the a pair of eco-friendly flip-flops involves more than just checking the label. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

  • Check the Materials: First, look at what those flip-flops are made of. Opt for ones crafted from natural rubber, recycled plastics, cork, or even cool stuff like algae foam. Not only are these materials better for the planet, but they're usually comfier and last longer too. Brands that are transparent about their materials tend to be more trustworthy. 
  • Look for Certifications: Look for stamps of approval from legit organizations like Fair Trade or the FSC. These badges scream, "Hey, this product is eco-friendly!" They mean the materials are sourced responsibly, and the production process is ethical.
  • Dig into the Brand Ethics: Do a little detective work on the brand itself. Check if they're all about fair labor practices and doing their part to shrink their carbon footprint. Brands that talk openly about their sustainability efforts on their websites are usually the real deal.
  • Read the Reviews: Don't underestimate the power of customer reviews. They can dish out some real insights into how comfy and durable those flip-flops are. Look for consistent comments about long-lasting wear and comfort.
  • Think About the End Game: What happens when your flip-flops are ready to retire? Some brands offer take-back programs for recycling, while others make their products compostable or easy to recycle. These options can make a real dent in the environmental impact of your footwear once you're done with them.
  • Packaging: Packaging plays a vital role in your decision-making process. Choose items with minimal or environmentally friendly packaging to minimize waste and pollution. Seek out products that utilize recycled or biodegradable packaging materials.
  • Make Sure They Fit: Make sure those flip-flops feel like they are custom-made for your feet. Try them on if you can, or ensure a solid return policy.

After ticking off these boxes, you'll snag some flip-flops that look good and feel great and play their part in keeping our planet happy and healthy. It seems like a small step, but every little bit counts.

Are Havaianas good for the environment?

Havaianas, the iconic flip-flop brand, has been making strides toward becoming more environmentally friendly. While they're not entirely eco-friendly yet, their efforts to reduce fast fashion and embrace sustainable practices are noteworthy.

This brand has taken significant steps by incorporating recycled materials into their products. Today, 97% of their sandals are made with around 40% reused rubber. This reduces waste and lessens the demand for virgin materials, making each pair kinder to the planet.

They encourage customers to recycle their old flip-flops, helping to close the product life cycle loop. By offering recycling options,  the take responsibility for the end life of its products, contributing to sustainability. 

Havaianas aims to invest in low-carbon materials and sustainable manufacturing processes. They are committed to creating minimal waste and positively impacting the communities they serve, exploring innovative materials and eco-friendly practices.

The are also making commendable efforts to reduce their environmental impact by incorporating recycled materials and encouraging recycling. Their journey towards sustainability is ongoing. While not entirely eco-friendly yet, their initiatives show commitment to positive change. 

We are excited to see how the implementation of these commitments unfold in the future! 

13 stylish, eco-friendly flip-flop brands we recommend

These 13 brands offer stylish, sustainable flip-flops that are kind to your feet and the planet.

Indosole

Indosole is an Indonesian brand that turns discarded tires into durable, stylish flip-flops, transforming waste into wearables with an innovative twist.

  • Comfort: Super comfy and durable, perfect for the beach and casual wear.
  • Materials: Recycled tires, natural rubber.
  • Product Range: Men, Women, Kids.
  • Size Range: US Women 4-11, Men 7-14, Kids 9C-12C.
  • Pricing: $26-$70.
  • Ships To: Worldwide.
  • Sustainability Stats: Vegan. Uses recycled tire soles and natural rubber, sustainable production practices, fair labor conditions, and environmentally friendly shipping. They are B-corporation certified.

Ecoalf

Ecoalf is a brand that handcrafts stylish modern flip-flops. Their eco-friendly flip-flops are made from recycled tires and seaweed. 

  • Comfort: Ultra-lightweight, stylish and comfortable.
  • Materials: Recycled tires, recycled rubber & plastics, and natural materials like algae.
  • Product Range: Men.
  • Size Range: US Men 7.5-12
  • Pricing: $42.33.
  • Ships To: Outside Europe. 
  • Sustainability Stats: 100 % Vegan-guaranteed materials, PFC-free, No metal components. B-Corp certified, Committed to becoming net zero by 2030, Global Recycling Standard (GRS) certified, and Organic Content Standard (OCS) certified.

Original Cork

Original Cork uses sustainably harvested cork to create comfortable and eco-friendly flip-flops.

  • Comfort: Super comfortable and stylish. Great for the environment
  • Materials: Natural cork.
  • Product Range: Men, Women, Kids.
  • Size Range: US 6-11 and Kids 2C-9C.
  • Pricing: $43-$54.
  • Ships To: Worldwide.
  • Sustainability Stats: 100% Natural, Vegan, Recyclable, Hypoallergenic, and Waterproof. Uses sustainably harvested cork and eco-friendly production processes. 

Komodo 

Komodo focuses on sustainability, creating long-lasting flip-flops from eco-friendly materials. This brand has been committed to the cause since 1988.

  • Comfort: They last forever and are incredibly comfortable; however, reviews suggest that they do run small.
  • Materials: Recycled EVA, leather, and upcycled rubber.
  • Product Range: Men, Women.
  • Size Range: US 3.5-12.
  • Pricing: $35-$50.
  • Ships To: USA, International.
  • Sustainability Stats: Vegan, recycled EVA material, ethical production, and member of Soil Association & Ethical Fashion Forum

ETIKO

ETIKO is a pioneer in ethical footwear, crafting flip-flops from fair trade and eco-friendly materials.

  • Comfort: The rubber offers great comfort, aesthetics, and protection.
  • Materials: Fair trade natural rubber, recycled materials.
  • Product Range: Men, Women.
  • Size Range: US Women 4.5-14.5, Men 3-13.
  • Pricing: $25-$50.
  • Ships To: Worldwide.
  • Sustainability Stats: Fairtrade Certified, uses natural and recycled materials, is Plastic-free, and maintains ethical production standards. Uses FSC-certified natural rubber latex and GOTS-certified organic dyes.

Gumbies

Gumbies are known for their rugged, eco-friendly flip-flops made from recycled materials and sustainable sources.

  • Comfort: Comfortable and durable flip-flops.
  • Materials: Recycled rubber, natural canvas.
  • Product Range: Men, Women, Kids.
  • Size Range: UK 3-16.
  • Pricing: $25-$50.
  • Ships To: Worldwide.
  • Sustainability Stats: Uses recycled and natural materials, fair trade practices, and environmentally friendly recyclable packaging.

Allbirds

Allbirds is a brand known for its comfortable shoes, which are made from sustainable materials. 

  • Comfort: Bouncy and cushiony, perfect for a sunny day.
  • Materials: Sugarcane-based material, 100% Recycled polyester for straps.
  • Product Range: Men, Women.
  • Size Range: US Women 5-16, Men 3-14.
  • Pricing: $36.90.
  • Ships To: Australia, New Zealand, China, the US, Canada, the UK, and Europe. Does not ship to Norway and Switzerland.
  • Sustainability Stats: Using natural and recycled materials, it made the world's first carbon-negative green EVA-cycled rubber. B corporation certified. 

Waves

Waves is a brand that uses natural rubber to make eco-friendly, biodegradable flip-flops. 

  • Comfort: Spongy and comfortable.
  • Materials: Natural rubber.
  • Product Range: Men, Women.
  • Size Range: US 3-11.
  • Pricing: $14-$25.
  • Ships To: International.
  • Sustainability Stats: 100% vegan, 100% eco-friendly, biodegradable, and Fair Trade certified. They are committed to supporting Sri Lankan natural rubber farmers.

Rothy's

Rothy's is a brand committed to promoting circular fashion. Their flip-flops are made from recycled plastic bottles, offering stylish, eco-friendly options.

  • Comfort: Very comfortable to wear everywhere.
  • Materials: Recycled plastic bottles, algae foam, natural rubber, and hemp fiber.
  • Product Range: Women.
  • Size Range: US 5-10.
  • Pricing: $49.
  • Ships To: USA, International.
  • Sustainability Stats: 100% recycled materials. Recycled plastic bottles, ethical manufacturing processes, LEED Gold, and TRUE Zero Waste Platinum certification. Ocean cycle certified and SCS Recycled Content Certified.

Teva

Teva combines adventure and sustainability, crafting durable flip-flops from recycled materials.

  • Comfort: Perfect for outdoor activities and all-terrain, super durable.
  • Materials: Recycled EVA, recycled polyester.
  • Product Range: Men, Women.
  • Size Range: US 5-14.
  • Pricing: $30-$80.
  • Ships To: USA, International.
  • Sustainability Stats: Earth-friendly, Recycled materials, 100 % recycled plastic for straps, and ethical labor practices.

Third Oak

Third Oak, known for its comfortable & sustainable footwear, offers eco-friendly, non-slip flip-flops made from natural and recycled materials.

  • Comfort: Extremely comfortable and eco-friendly.
  • Materials: Bio-based materials.
  • Product Range: Women.
  • Size Range: US 6-11.
  • Pricing: $30.
  • Ships To: USA, International.
  • Sustainability Stats: Cruelty-free, Vegan 100 % Recyclable. Responsible manufacturing, made in a closed-loop recycling process. 

Nae

Nae is a Portuguese brand dedicated to creating vegan and eco-friendly footwear. Their flip-flops are a stylish choice for the conscious consumer.

  • Comfort: Incredibly stylish and comfortable
  • Materials: Recycled plastic and tires, natural cork, natural rubber.
  • Product Range: Women.
  • Size Range: US 5-13.
  • Pricing: $39-$9142.
  • Ships To: Worldwide.
  • Sustainability Stats: Uses 100% vegan materials, eco-conscious, cruelty-free, recycled, and natural components, ethical manufacturing practices, and eco-friendly packaging. Nae is committed to reducing its environmental footprint and promoting fair labor standards.

Deux Mains

Deux Mains, a Haitian brand, is known for its handcrafted flip-flops made from upcycled tires and locally sourced leather. They focus on empowering local artisans and promoting sustainable practices.

  • Comfort: Beautifully made and very comfortable.
  • Materials: Upcycled tires, ethically sourced leather.
  • Product Range: Men.
  • Size Range: US 9-13.
  • Pricing: $60.
  • Ships To: Worldwide.
  • Sustainability Stats: Eco-friendly, recycled materials. Deux Mains emphasizes upcycling and ethical production. Their practices include using locally sourced, sustainable materials and paying fair wages. 

Step Lightly, Tread Brightly

A pair of colorful eco-friendly flip flops laying on wet sand on beach front by waves during sunset.

As the warm embrace of summer beckons us outdoors, the humble flip-flop becomes our go-to companion for beach days and leisurely walks. But did you know your choice of sandals can also champion sustainability? Selecting eco-friendly flip-flops transcends mere fashion—it's a conscious shift towards a better future.

With innovative options crafted from recycled tires, natural rubber, and even algae foam, going green doesn't mean sacrificing style or comfort. Brands like Nae and Deux Mains showcase that eco-friendly can also be trendy and high-quality. Each step in these sustainable sandals is a step towards a greener tomorrow.

So, gear up for your next sunny adventure with a pair of eco-conscious flip-fops. It’s a simple way to ensure your summer footprint is as light on the planet as it is in the sand.

Last Update:
May 28, 2024