Looking to update your wardrobe with this season’s best ethical boots… have a look at these:
Chunky, black boots have been all over the catwalk this season, and seem to be styled with everything from silk dresses to camo joggers.
Fancy stomping around in a pair of combat boots? These Lotus boots from Matisse Footwear come in brown, black and white, and cost $95USD plus shipping to your door. A sturdy investment for years to come, military styling seems to come in and out of fashion every few years… just remember to store them safely once you’re sick of them (clean, polish, wrap in a fabric bag) and feel the joy when, in another few years time, you want to go military again and you already own the perfect boots!
What’s not to love about knee high boots? Knee highs with a heel give the illusion of legs that go on forever and shamelessly channel Victoria Beckham’s understated chic. Even the flattest, most sensible varieties are kinda sexy while at the same time really warm (especially with a lovely thick pair of knee high socks underneath! Sexy and sensible??)
Dear Frances shoes and boots have been a big hit with stylish celebs like Margot Robbie, the Hadid sisters, Kaia Gerber, Selena Gomez, Zoe Kravitz, Emma Roberts and Sienna Miller, to name drop just a few. Their beautiful craftsmanship is regularly reviewed: great styles and comfortable heels which will see you through a day on your feet. These are Sleeve boots in Olive, though also available in a beautiful low-sheen black and creamy-rich oyster, retailing for £720.
Ok, not so much a trend, but an essential part of a working Winter wardrobe, especially if you walk dogs, or stand on the sidelines of football/rugby/netball games. I’m talking properly warm and 100% waterproof.
These Aigle boots – Polka Giboulee in New Noir, currently £70 – are, in my humble opinion, and following quite exhaustive research, the perfect combination of substance and style. Made from natural rubber with a faux fur lining and insole, they also have the lovely quilted top which can be tightened to your calf to keep your toes extra toasty and dry. The heel is good… the grip is good… they’ve got it all.
If they’re not you’re style, Aigle are still worth looking at… tall, short, wide, thin, gloss, gloss quilted, gloss croc!, loads of different colours and shapes to suit everyone. Price wise, they vary. In a sale, I’ve seen these in a navy colour way for less than £50, mid-priced boots are £70-£125, their capsule collaboration (if you want to go gloss croc!) is £220.
Like lots of ethical fashion investments, waterproof boots are perfect to buy at the end of the season, who knows, they could drop by half price or more making your waterproof boot investment a bargain at the same time.
Obv, not everyone is going to have the budget to invest in “designer wellies” but as ever, don’t assume that just because a pair of wellies (or anything else) is expensive, it’s been made with care for the environment or the people who made it. For example, Hunter wellies, which you could be forgiven for thinking were quintessentially British, have not been manufactured in the UK for over a decade, having moved production to the far east in 2008. According to Ethical Consumer magazine, Hunter Boot Ltd is “least engaged in sustainable fashion”, gets the “worst ethical consumer rating for environmental reporting”, “operates in oppressive regimes” and “140 staff were taken to hospital from one warehouse in four years.”
White boots and riding boots
I’m sure I have it on good authority that one should never wear white shoes… but clearly 2020 is a year to update the fashion rule book!
These gorgeous East boots from Alohas (€246.00 on pre-order) tick the box for two of this season’s best trends: white boots AND riding boots. They come in off white (shown), lilac, burgundy and croco brown. (More croc! Clearly a trend in itself!)
Alohas are proud pioneers of a new, eco-conscious on demand production model. Not only does reducing over-production minimise waste and landfill, it also reduces the cost of delivering higher quality, luxury design. Read more about Alohas social and environmental credentials here.
An expertly crafted pair of boots like these will literally last for decades if you clean them and care for the leather, so if you’re well stocked in black and brown boots and fancy adding an unusual colour to your wardrobe, now’s your chance.
If boho is your vibe, you need to get a pair of slouchy suede boots. Let me introduce you to Rojas Tall Boot in Tobacco Suede for £143, from ABLE.
Suede can take a bit more care and effort to look after than standard leather, but the pay off is its peach-fuzz softness and the subtle retro style it lends to an outfit.
The best tip for suede is to buy a good waterproofing spray and spray before wear. Follow the instructions on the can – if it says spray twice, spray twice – and let it dry completely before you go out. If you happen to get mud on suede boots, let it dry, then use a wire suede brush to gently clean it off. At the end of the season brush them thoroughly all the way to the top, gently rubb of any marks with a slightly damp cloth and store them somewhere dry. Before you wear them the following winter, spray them with waterproof spray again…
ABLE is an ethical fashion brand that employs and empowers women as a solution to end poverty. Find out more about their commitment to the people all along their supply chain.
Other brands making conscious winter boots in styles you might like are:
Collection + Co – gorgeous capsule collection of shoes and boots featuring both classic styles and this season’s trends. Affordable too, and vegan.
Beyond Skin – “genuinely not leather” vegan shoes and boots. Loads of you’d-never-know-it-was-faux leather and suede in a wide variety of timeless shapes and styles.
Rockfish – huge variety of wellies (tall, short, adjustable, Chelsea boot style, matt, gloss, kids’, mens’… have a look) All made in the UK from natural rubber.
Taylor + Thomas – “radical luxury”, edgy luxe shoes and boots.
Green Shoes – small but colourful range of sturdy flat boots, expertly crafted in Dartmoor.