Ethical Slippers for Cosy Toes
With all this staying at home, ethical slippers are on my mind.
This winter it feels like staying comfortable and cosy has never been as important as it has now. I was updating my guide to ethical pyjamas and loungewear and my guide to ethical socks, and thought why stop here. I, therefore, carried out some research and found some of the best ethical slippers for both women and men available in the UK right now.
What I’ve found is that much like the ethical clothing market, the ethical slippers market is small. To make things harder, this already small market has been hit by Brexit. Many ethical slipper choices are made in the EU and shipped to the UK. However, because of Brexit, many EU based retailers have stopped shipping to the UK.
For those EU based retailers that are still shipping to the UK, import duties must now be paid on purchases from the EU coming into the UK. This means that when you order from the EU you are hit with these hidden charges. As such, for this guide, I’ve focused on what’s accessible within the UK. It therefore might be small, but I’ve managed to cover all bases I hope!
I’m mindful that everyone has different ethics when it comes to clothing and footwear. As such, this guide has been designed to be a starting-off point for you to research the most sustainable option for you.
Some of the slippers I’ve recommended are vegan friendly. For these, I’ve sourced those made using recycled plastic bottles, rather than virgin plastic. And for those looking for plastic-free slippers, I’ve sourced ethical slippers made considerately using wool, suede, and/or sheepskin. Where sheepskin has been used, I’ve focused on those upcycling byproducts from other industries.
The Moral Fibres Guide
Egos wool slippers (£39 – available in the UK from Wild Swans) are ethically made by hand in Nepal by skilled craftswomen. In fact, Egos have been certified by The World Fair Trade Organization.
Each pair takes time and skill to make. As such, each employee can only make 2 pairs of shoes a day. It’s definitely a case of quality over quantity.
The raw wool is dyed with environmentally friendly colors, before being molded into the slipper shape. Another inner layer of felt is then added, for extra comfort. Finally, the outer suede sole is stitched on these incredibly cosy slippers.
Each pair of Gumbies unisex vegan slippers (£35) are made from recycled plastic derived from post-consumer plastic bottles. In fact, 8 bottles are used to make each pair. What’s more, the soles are even made from recycled rubber.
Rather than stop there, the insoles are made from beans. Yes, beans, you read that correctly! The soft foam Gumbies use for their insoles are made from 100% Castor Bean, a naturally derived material.
Mercredy’s eco-friendly slippers* (£34.95) are handcrafted in Spain using recycled plastic bottles. They use plastic bottles collected from the ocean to create the heavy-duty felt fabric for the slippers. In fact each slipper is made from at least 2 recycled bottles.
This fabric, which is used in both the upper and lining for the slippers is certified 100% recycled by the Global Recycling Standard. What’s more, the sole is made from natural rubber, which is sustainably sourced.
My verdict? Mercredy make for a great pair vegan slippers.
Onaie’s beautiful felt slippers* (£31.49) are made and finished in the Polish Highlands using age-old techniques. Onaie says “we take the ethical manufacture of footwear very seriously. We know our craftswomen, we know their business practices and we work side by side with our suppliers to ensure ongoing ethical, social and environmental compliance.”
These beautiful slippers would make such a lovely ethical gift idea for someone special, or as a treat to yourself.
The Small Home
The Small Home sells beautiful handmade embroidered slippers. Each unique pair is made from the softest shearling sheepskin, using off-cuts from Rolls Royce car interiors to ensure the highest grade skins and to minimise waste.
The Small Home say “The natural materials we use to make our sheepskin slippers are designed to last and offer a sustainable and ethical alternative to fast fashion. Our hand-stitched sheepskin slippers are an everyday luxury suited to slow, mindful living.”
What Else Can I Do?
The single most eco-friendly choice of slippers are the ones you already have. If your existing pair have started to wear out, why not look at how you can repair them?
Beyond your own ethical choices you can also help to engender change on the High St. One way you can do this is to ask High St brands who make their clothes (see Fashion Revolution for their great resources). This will help press for transparency and sustainability on the High Street.
Even if you can’t afford to shop for ethical slippers, you can also support the brands that align with your values. Even if you can’t afford to purchase ethical alternatives, you can also like, comment on, and share their social media posts to help boost their exposure.
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