In a Nutshell:

  • Sandals & flip flops made from recycled material may be slightly better for the planet, but they can still contain traces of toxins such as phthalates. Plus, they can shed microplastics.

  • When looking for a sandal that is environmentally friendly AND non-toxic, I recommend prioritizing natural materials like natural rubber, cork, hemp, plant-based leathers and others. 

  • Some of the brands I recommend are:
    • Feelgoodz (best plastic flip flop replacement)
    • CANO (for Huaraches)
    • Samba Sol (best option for kids)
    • NAE Vegan (most fashionable)
    • (Scroll down for more!)

This guide contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. As always, we only make recommendations that are genuine. Featured Image Credit: NAE

What to Look for in Natural, Non-Toxic Sandals & Sustainable Flip Flops

Want to ditch the plastic? Here are the types of materials to look for in organic and non-toxic sandals:

  • Natural rubber
  • Cork
  • Hemp
  • Organic cotton
  • Vegetable-tanned leather
  • Plant-based leathers (such as Pinatex)
  • Algae & sugarcane-based foams
  • Non-toxic dyes

Head to the bottom of this article to read more about these materials and why they’re better for you and for the planet compared to conventional plastic.

My Picks for the Best Sustainable Flip Flop & Sandal Brands

1. Feelgoodz (best plastic flip flop replacement)

Types: Flip flops, slide-ons
Main materials: Natural rubbers, rice husks
For: Adults, all genders
Price range: $25-60

Feelgoodz has a great collection of natural, vegan flip flops and slip-on sandals for men and women that are made from natural rubber and recycled rice husks. They come in a wide variety of colors, too.

The rubber used is tapped directly from rubber trees that belong to a rubber farming family in Thailand that the Feelgoodz team has been working with for over ten years. They also work with traditional weavers in Punjab, India, women-led knitting villages in Nepal, and rice farmers in Vietnam.

2. CANO (best Huaraches)

Types: Slip-on Huaraches
Main materials: Vegetable-tanned leather, natural rubber
For: Adults
Price range: €39-159.95

If you’re looking for Huarache-style sandals, definitely check out CANO. They have a beautiful collection of artisan-made sandals, slip-ons, and Huaraches for women and men made out of natural materials like vegetable-tanned leather and natural rubber.

All of their shoes are ethically crafted by hand in Mexico, and you can find out more about the people who made your sandals on each product page. Plus, to increase transparency even more, each and every CANO is equipped with a QR code you can scan in order to find out more about the journey of your shoes.

Use the code THEFILTERY for 10% off.

3. Rawganique (best for allergies and chemical sensitivities)

Types: Flip flops, slide-ons, lace-ups
Main materials: Hemp, natural rubber, cork
For: Adults
Price range: $44.97-109

Rawganique has been a solid proponent for truly non-toxic and sustainable clothing and home goods for decades now.

Their collection of flip flops, sandals, and slip-on shoes are not only vegan and eco-friendly, but also a really great option for those with extreme skin and chemical sensitivities.

Their super comfortable unisex hemp sandals and flip flops are available in Natural (unbleached and dye-free) and Black (low-impact, biodegradable fiber-reactive eco-dye).

These biodegradable and sweatshop-free sandals are made ethically in Europe.

4. Samba Sol (best option for kids’ plastic-free flip flops)

Types: Flip flops
Main materials: Natural rubber
For: Adults & kids
Price range: $12-36

It’s actually harder than you might think to find non-toxic and natural rubber sandals for kids, but Samba Sol has them!

These sustainable flip flops for the whole family are made out of natural rubber, they’re waterproof, and they come in a lot of fun patterns and colors to choose from. Their vibrant prints are transferred using some of the newest non-toxic transfer technology.

5. NAE Vegan (most fashionable)

Types: Flip flops, slip-ons, heels, lace-ups
Main materials: Pinatex (pineapple) vegan leather, cork, natural and synthetic rubber, PU, recycled PET
For: Adults
Price range: $39-153

Although not all of NAE’s sandals are made with natural materials (they do use some synthetic and recycled vegan leathers), I love their use of innovative, plant-based materials like apple and pineapple leather, cork, and organic cotton.

They have a wide range of women’s, men’s, and unisex sandals that come in a variety of different styles, from everyday slip-ons to formal strappy heels. You’re almost sure to find a pair of sustainable sandals you love in NAE’s collection.

Most of their sandals are OEKO-TEX certified as well, which means the finished product has been verified to be free from a variety of toxic substances.

6. Jivanas (best for sustainable leather)

non toxic natural leather sandals from jivanas

Types: Flip flops, slide-ons
Main materials: Vegetable-tanned leather, hemp
For: Adults
Price range: $112-185

In order to help ensure the process is as ethical as possible, Jivanas commissions artists in Nepal to craft these 100% biodegradable sandals. Their flip flops for men and women are made with premium, Italian vegetable-tanned leather and hemp, and then colored with water-based eco-friendly dyes.

These high-quality sandals are ones that will likely last you years and years.

Even More Options for Eco-Friendly Sandals & Flip Flops

Here are some more options that are worth checking out:

Earth Runners:

  • Sandals, earthing shoes for adults and children
  • Primarily made of EVA foam, canvas, and GOTS certified dyes (some options include small amounts of latex and/or nylon)


  • Grounding slip ons and sandals for adults
  • Mainly made of natural leather, copper, natural rubber (they’re also glue-free!)


  • Slip-on shoe that can be worn 3 ways
  • Made from cotton, hemp, and plant-based EVA foam
  • Good for travel


  • Best alternative to Crocs
  • Slip-ons and sandals for mens, women, and kids
  • Made primarily of sugarcane-based EVA foam


  • One of the most stylish brands available
  • Sandals, slip-ons, and huaraches for men and women
  • Primarily made of Leather Working Group (LWG) certified leather and EVA foam
  • Committed to transparency with a focus on living wages for supply chain workers

Original Cork Shop:

  • Flip flops made in Portugal out of cork
  • Options for adults & kids
  • Also have ones for toddlers that have a strap on the back


  • Colorful, gender-neutral flip flops for adults
  • Made from natural rubber
  • Good alternative for standard plastic flip flops

More About Healthier Materials for Natural Sandals

Want to dive a little deeper? Here’s more about the best non-toxic and plastic-free materials to look for:

Natural Rubber

Natural rubber is a renewable resource that comes from trees, whereas synthetic rubber is a petroleum byproduct that’s very similar to plastic. When possible, look for recycled and/or FSC certified natural rubber to ensure it’s sourced in a sustainable and ethical way. Several of the brands below work directly with rubber farmers to ensure they are paid fairly for their crop.

Of course, if you’re allergic or sensitive to latex, you’ll want to choose a different material.


Cork is a great natural and eco-friendly material that’s used in a lot of shoes and sandals because of its ability to be durable, supportive, and naturally anti-bacterial.

Recycled cork is even better!

Hemp & Organic Cotton

You’ll find that some of the brands above use organic cotton and hemp (mostly for the straps and upper parts of their sandals).

Hemp is one of my favorite sustainable fibers. It makes great underwear, bags, shampoo, body wash and much more. Hemp is considered to be an earth-friendlier fiber for a few reasons: 

  • It doesn’t require pesticides and herbicides to grow
  • It is not water-intensive
  • It doesn’t strip the soil of the vital nutrients it will need to continue growing things in the future
  • It’s a very durable, healthy, and breathable material that makes for a great sandal since it’s naturally antimicrobial.

Similarly, organic cotton is grown and harvested without the use of toxic synthetic pesticides and herbicides. Of course, it’s one of the more widely available types of organic fabrics, so you’ll see it in The Filtery’s guides quite a bit!

Vegetable-Tanned Leather

Conventional leather is tanned and processed using a lot of toxic chemicals and heavy metals, which can wreak havoc on the local communities where the leather is processed. Instead, go for vegetable-tanned leather which is tanned using tree bark and other plant materials.

Algae & Sugarcane Foams

There are quite a few newer sustainable materials making their way to the consumer market, and algae-based foam is one of those. This can be a better replacement for foams made from PVC (plastic) and other plastic materials that are derived from fossil fuels.

The algae for these foams can either be grown in a man-made environment (which can help prevent the disruption of the ocean’s ecosystems) or it can be obtained from areas where there is actually too much natural algae growth that is causing harm to the ecosystem.

Some brands are also using a sugarcane-based EVA foam for their sandals. Although these plant-based EVA foams may not be perfect (they still require some harsh chemicals to be processed and the sugarcane may not be sourced sustainably), they are at least better than traditional petroleum-based foams for now.

Plant-Based Leather

Other innovative materials to look for include pineapple and apple leather (which are great vegan leather alternatives), and other types of fabrics made from things like rice husks. Note: The leather alternatives in this blog are specifically plant based but it’s important to note that not all vegan leather is plant-based. Many vegan leathers are made from PVC plastic! 

Non-Toxic Dyes

Lastly, you’ll want to look for brands that use dyes and colorants that are either natural and plant-based or safe synthetics.

What About Recycled Sandals and Flip Flops?

There are plenty of brands that offer flip flops and sandals made from recycled materials like post-consumer plastic bottles, tire treads, fishing nets, old tires, and more…

While these options are certainly more sustainable than choosing virgin synthetics, one thing to be aware of is that materials like plastics, synthetic rubber, and PVC can contain toxic chemicals like phthalates.

Not to mention, they contribute to microplastic pollution as they break down.

A sandal or flip flop made from recycled materials is a great way to free up space in the landfills (and oceans). But oftentimes the recycled materials carry through toxins from their previous life.

If you’re looking for something a little safer, a little less toxic, yet still eco-friendly, I hope one of the brands steals your heart. If you want to keep searching, remember to look for natural and organic materials and safe environmental practices. 

If you want more non-toxic product picks, news, and other random fun stuff delivered to your inbox each week, be sure to sign up for Filtered Fridays.

This article also contains contributions by Aubrey S.

About Abbie

Abbie Davidson is the Creator & Editor of The Filtery. With almost a decade of experience in sustainability, she researches and writes content with the aim of helping people minimize environmental toxins in an in-depth yet accessible way.

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