Sustainable Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials

Sustainable hiking shoes are made with materials and manufacturing processes that are designed to minimize their environmental impact. For example, they might be made with recycled materials or use water-saving methods in the production process.
Hiking Shoes Made From Recycled Materials

According to the BBC , by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. In response, an increasing number of brands are making new products like hiking shoes made from recycled materials. The process is increasing most significantly in the sustainable shoe industry.

Why make hiking boots and shoes from recycled materials?

25 billion pairs of shoes are created worldwide each year, a figure that is increasing. Unfortunately, a small percentage of shoes are produced in a sustainable manner. This makes the textile business the world’s second most polluting industry behind the oil and gas industries.

Shoe manufacturing has a lot of negative environmental impacts, depending on the kind of material that is used, a pair of shoes may take up to 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill, which is why it’s so important to buy shoes made of recycled materials. Ocean plastic is one of the most common materials repurposed to make recycled shoes.

A list of hiking shoes made from recycled materials

Best Ultralight Shoes: REI Co Flash Hiking Shoes

REI Flash Hiking Boot for Men

For Men

REI Flash Hiking Boots for Women

For Women


  • Activities: Hiking
  • Recycled Materials: Recycled polyester from PET plastic
  • Upper: Recycled polyester knit, recycled thermoplastic urethane (TPU)
  • Midsole: EVA using 10% algae-based BLOOM® foam
  • Outsole: Rubber (20% recycled)
  • Height: Over the ankle
  • Weight: 1 lb. 13 oz. (Women) / 2 lbs. 2 oz. (Men)

Best All-Terrain Grip Traction: Salomon Outpulse Hiking Shoes

Salomon Outpulse Hiking Boots for Men

For Men

Salomon Outpulse Hiking Boots for Women

For Women


  • Activities: Hiking, backpacking
  • Recycled Materials: Plastics PET bottles and miscellaneous waste materials
  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Midsole: Fuze Surge Foam
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Height: Over Ankle
  • Weight: 1 lb. 10.8 oz. (Men) / 1 lb. 7.1 oz. (Women)

Best Moisture and Odor Resistance: Astral Rambler Hiking Shoes

Astral Rambler Hiking Shoes



  • Activities: Trail Running, Casual Hiking
  • Recycled Materials: Recycled polyester
  • Upper: Hemp
  • Midsole: EVA foam
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Height: Ankle
  • Weight Per Pair: 1 lb. 2.4 oz. (Women) / 1 lb. 15.6 oz. (Men)

Best Ultra Grippy Outsole: adidas Terrex Swift R3 Hiking Shoes

adidas Terrex Swift R3 Hiking Boots for Women

For Women

adidas Terrex Swift R3 Hiking Boots for Men

For Men


  • Activities: Hiking, Backpacking
  • Recycled Materials: Miscellaneous recycled content
  • Upper: Gore-TEX Waterproof Fabric, Knit
  • Midsole: EVA
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Height: Over Ankle
  • Weight Per Pair: 1 lb. 10.2 oz. (Women) / 2 lbs. (Men)

Best Vibram Traction: Merrell Moab Speed Hiking Shoes

Merrell Moab Hiking Boots

For Men

Merrell Moab Hiking Boots for Women

For Women


  • Activities: Hiking
  • Recycled Materials: 100% recycled mesh linings and 100% recycled laces
  • Upper: Mesh/TPU
  • Midsole: FloatPro foam
  • Outsole: Vibram Rubber
  • Height: Ankle
  • Weight Per Pair: 1 lb. 5 oz. (Women) / 1 lb. 7 oz. (Men)

Best Waterproof: Teva Ridgeview Low Hiking Shoes

Teva Ridgeview Low Hiking Shoes for Women

For Women

Teva Ridgeview Hiking Shoes for Men

For Men


  • Activities: Hiking
  • Recycled Materials: Recycled polyester
  • Upper: Textile/leather
  • Midsole: EVA
  • Outsole: Vibram rubber
  • Height: Over ankle
  • Weight Per Pair: 1 lb. 9.2 oz. (Women) / 2 lbs. 1.2 oz. (Men)

What recycled materials can be used to make shoes?

A variety of recycled materials can be used to construct shoes and sneakers. This includes fishing nets, tires, plastic bottles, algae foam, and fibers from discarded fruits and vegetables like apples, mushrooms, and pineapples.

What material are hiking boots traditionally made of?

Durability and protection for the feet are always top priorities when it comes to hiking boots. As a result, hiking shoes are made of more durable materials than your average pair of shoes.

Synthetic materials or animal-based leather typically used to make hiking shoes and boots.

  • Synthetic Materials: Polyester, nylon, and other synthetic materials like artificial leather are used to create hiking shoes. In most cases, a blend of components are used. Boots made of synthetic materials lack the inherent waterproofing of leather, making the waterproof membrane used in their construction all the more critical. However, synthetic materials are lighter and more flexible than leather, which could be more comfortable for long hikes.
  • Plant-Based Materials: Natural rubber, bio oil sourced from organic cereal crops, Tencell Lyocell sourced from wood fibers.
  • Genuine Full Grain Leather: Abrasion- and water-resistant leather with excellent breathability and durability. Used most effectively in rainy or mountainous areas. It is possible to get hiking boots in a variety of various thicknesses, depending on the kind of trekking you want to do.
  • Leather with a nubuck finish: Nubuck is full-grain leather that has been buffed to have a smooth finish. Nubuck is waterproof, breathable, and abrasion-resistant, but is also less durable than full grain leather. Durability suffers compared to full-grain leather, but flexibility increases.

What are hiking shoe soles made of?

Fiberboard, nylon, synthetic foam, or leather glued to the footbed are common hiking boot insole materials.

  • Polyurethane shoe soles: Constructed from an organic polymer, these soles are long-lasting, slip-resistant, shock-absorbing, and water-resistant. They are also low density, inexpensive and can be created from recycled plastics and other materials.
  • EVA shoe soles: Made with Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA), these soles are shock-absorbing, flexible and lightweight. EVA can be created from recycled material like plastic bottles and one of the most popular materials used for hiking shoe soles.
  • TRP shoe soles: Constructed of thermoplastic rubber, these soles are well-known for their outstanding shock absorption and slip resistance. TPR soles are also lower in weight and more flexible than PVC soles.
  • BPU shoe soles: Composed of eco-friendly polyurethane materials, these soles are one of the most dense, hard soles available and also have excellent weather resistance.
  • Natural rubber shoes soles: Used for centuries, rubber soles are tough, weatherproof and water-resistant, so no worries about rain getting into your shoes. Natural rubber is also a biodegradable, sustainable material.
  • Vibram shoe soles: Created in the 1930s and named after Vitale Brahmani, an alpinist and outdoor pioneer. These soles are robust, slip-resistant, and waterproof, making them a popular choice for hiking shoes.
  • Commando shoe soles: The thick lugs and rugged shape of commando soles make them good for all kinds of weather. The thick lugs also provide grip and traction. Commando soles are also thick and heavy, so use a different kind of sole if you want your shoes to be lighter.
  • Leather shoe soles: Leather soles are breathable, durable and can withstand harsh conditions as long as they are properly maintained.
  • Lug shoe soles: Thick soles constructed of rubber to provide great grip and traction. The drawback of lug soles is that they collect a lot of dirt and hence need frequent cleaning.

Are there biodegradable shoes?

Shoes made completely from plant-based and natural material are biodegradable and will naturally decompose over time. This includes shoes like vegan hiking boots, eco friendly sandals and vegan shoes made of algae foam, bamboo, cotton, hemp, Tencell Lyocell wood-based fibers, sugarcane, apple or pineapple fibers, natural rubber and cork.

Footwear brands that make biodegradable shoes include Allbirds, Cariuma, Native, and Rothy’s.

Can shoes be made from recycled plastic?

The fashion industry has seen a considerable growth in the number of footwear created from recycled ocean plastic during the last decade. Brands are using both current materials, such as plastic bottles, as well as new materials derived from natural and biodegradable resources.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is the most often used form of plastic in the production of shoes. It is a robust and affordable polymer that is frequently utilized as a material in the uppers and outsoles of shoes, known as recycled PET. Although it is best known for the plastic piping of the same name, additives may transform that durable plumbing fixture into an elastic, low-cost rubber replacement.

What is a polyurethane midsole?

Polyurethane is a durable, stable midsole material that is often used in trekking and mountaineering boots. When new, polyurethane (PU) is thick and heavy, and it normally takes a break-in time before it becomes flexible and comfy to wear.

Polyurethane midsoles will have a longer lifespan than EVA midsoles and provide better support. However, because polyurethane is usually heavier and more expensive, it is most often used for hiking boots. EVA is most often used for running shoes, where lightweight cushioning is important for speed and agility.

What is EVA and PU?

Eva foam is a soft foam derived from Ethylene-vinyl acetate. It is often used in both traditional and vegan shoe construction. EVA is great for cushioning your feet which is why is it frequently used in shoes and sneakers.

Polyurethane foam (PU foam) is a kind of foam that is denser and often heavier than EVA foam. It is created from polyurethane. PU foam is more long-lasting and delivers durable support over an extended period of time.

Video: Waterproof Vegan Hiking Shoes