Best Vegan Sandals in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

best vegan sandals

There was a time when people thought they had to accept animal cruelty in order to wear what they like. Fortunately, times have changed; fashion and veganism aren’t mutually exclusive anymore. The fight for animal rights has stretched further than food until it reached footwear. 

Now, we have a variety of vegan sandals, but sometimes things can get overwhelming. So, here is everything you need to know about the best vegan sandals for men and women on the market.

List of the Best Vegan Sandals for Men

  1. Reef Men’s Sandals Marbea SL
  2. KEEN Men’s Uneek
  3. Chaco Men’s Z1 Classic Sport
  4. Birkenstock Arizona Essentials

List of the Best Vegan Sandals for Women

  1. KEEN Women’s Rose
  2. Teva Women’s Original Universal
  3. Chaco Women’s ZX/2 Yampa
  4. Sanuk Women’s Yoga Sling 2

The 4 Best Vegan Sandals for Men in 2020

Starting off this article with the men’s section. Here are my top four men’s sandals!

1. Reef Men’s Sandals Marbea SL

Reef Men's Sandals Marbea SL

If you’re wondering what Reef pioneers at, it’s making the best vegan beach sandals at a very reasonable price! The Reef Men’s Sandals Marbea SL are the perfect combination of comfort, durability, and eco-friendliness.

If you feel bad about skipping genuine leather because it just feels so good, look no further. This bad boy pair has a vegan leather upper and footbed, so you don’t have to go back to the real thing.

Also, it has PVC-free straps, which means it’s environmentally conscious as well. In addition, the EVA midsole and molded rubber outsole make it lightweight and practical enough for everyday use.

Comfort is key, and the Reef Men’s Sandals Marbea SL have a compression-molded triple density construction that boasts anatomical arch support. Gone are the days of having your flip flops wreak havoc on your feet.

This affordable pair comes in three different colors, and we recommend the tan option because it’s quite versatile, and it’s easy to find matching outfits.

That being said, these sandals run a bit small, so make sure you go a size higher to avoid any inconvenience.

Pros

Affordable
Compression-molded triple density construction
Vegan leather upper and footbed
Anatomical arch support
PVC-free straps
Different color options

Cons

Run a bit small

2. KEEN Men’s Uneek

KEEN Men's Uneek

If you were looking for footwear that lies somewhere between sandals and sneakers, you have come to the right place. The KEEN Men’s Uneek Sandals are indeed unique—no pun intended.

These sandals have a Huarache-inspired design, thanks to the woven cord upper and the secure fit lacing system. The polyester braided cord with nylon core increases its strength.

If you like to be comfortable and have some freedom when you’re walking, the sandals’ innovative two-cord construction makes that possible!

In addition, the lightweight PU midsole makes the pair comfortable yet durable. Not to mention, you’ll love how comfortable the anatomical microfiber footbed is. Don’t fret over the possibility of walking with smelly feet, thanks to Cleansport NXT, which is a natural form of odor control.

Thanks to their razor siping and non-marking, sure-footed rubber outsoles, these sandals will allow you to walk for prolonged periods of time without feeling uncomfortable.

These unique sandals come in so many different colors that one color is bound to attract your attention. Our favorite is the blue one in case you’re wondering.

If I’m being picky, the only downside to these sandals is that they can collect dirt on the toe section.

Pros

Different color options
Anatomical footbed
Non-marking rubber outsole
Huarache-inspired design
Two-cord construction
Cleansport NXT

Cons

Toe section collects dirt

3. Chaco Men’s Z1 Classic Sport

Chaco Men's Z1 Classic Sport

If you’re an active, outdoorsy person, you know how difficult it is to find a good pair of sandals that can keep up with you, let alone a vegan pair. Well, the Chaco Men’s Z1 Classic Sport Sandals are here to save the day! They’re comfy, durable, antimicrobial, and affordable.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need leather or even vegan leather to have a cool pair of sandals. Thie sandals have a polyester Jacquard webbing upper, making them quite comfortable, sturdy, and true to size.

Also, the high-tensile webbing heel risers are durable and adjustable while the pair’s LUVSEAT PU midsole provides all the arch support that you need.

In addition, we love the non-marking ChacoGrip rubber outsoles because they are very comfortable, especially for outdoor activities. Don’t worry about sweating your feet off; these sandals have antimicrobial properties that’ll keep your feet healthy and prevent odors.

One of our favorite qualities about this pair is the massive number of color options it comes in. Whether you’re going for monochromatic looks or edgy, unconventional prints, you’ll find the perfect pair for you. We recommend the Glaze Navy for how unique yet versatile the color is.

The only disadvantage I can think of is that the pair might be a little too bulky, especially at first. Nonetheless, some people prefer a bulky looking pair, and I totally see why!

Pros

Affordable
Endless color options
Non-marking ChacoGrip rubber outsoles
Polyester Jacquard webbing upper for a custom fit
LUVSEAT PU midsole
Odor control

Cons

Bulky

4. Birkenstock Arizona Essentials

Birkenstock Arizona Essentials

If you haven’t heard of Birkenstock by now, you’ve been living under a rock, my friend. Birkenstock sandals have a lot of advantages thanks to the support and comfort that they give your feet, especially if you have foot problems, and you can see that in the Birkenstock Unisex Arizona Essentials Sandals.

These Birkenstock sandals look stylish yet simple, and can fit any type of outfit without much work from your end. Plus, they come in a lot of color options so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for.

In addition, this pair is very lightweight, so you can pack it on the go without worrying about additional weight. The EVA soles give you a lot of flexibility in movements. Plus, this waterproof material helps you wear them on the beach or while gardening; the possibilities are basically endless.

If you’re tired of your toes being jammed together by narrower sandals, so are we. To avoid the pain and foot problems resulting from pointed-toe sandals, these sandals offer you a lot of toe room. 

Also, the famous Birkenstock contoured footbed ensures even weight distribution of your feet, which reduces the stress on your feet, ankles, legs, and spine. Plus, the heel cup cradles the heel bone, so it can keep those with recurring plantar fasciitis comfortable.

These sandals had to have a downside, and it comes in the form of their price. Birkenstock sandals aren’t for people on a tight budget.

Pros

Lightweight
Different color options
Birkenstock contoured footbed and more toe room
Flexible EVA soles
Waterproof

Cons

Expensive

The 4 Best Vegan Sandals for Women in 2020

Sandals are a statement in women’s fashion! They can truly make or break your whole outfit. If you want a stylish pair of sandals without causing harm upon any poor, helpless soul, here are my top four vegan sandals for women.

1. KEEN Women’s Rose

KEEN Women's Rose

If you’ve been to a local store looking for vegan sandals, you must have noticed that most options are mediocre at best. Well, the KEEN Women’s Rose Sandals are far from average in the best way possible. The pair a gift that keeps on giving in terms of price, quality, and applications.

Since this pair is made for active women, it has a water-resistant polyester webbing with quick-dry mesh lining that sheds water.

Additionally, the multi-directional lugs provide you with a tight grip, even on slippery floors, while non-marking rubber outsoles leave no trace behind. Furthermore, the durable toe bumper protects your toes from any vigorous activities.

If you want a sturdy pair of sandals that’ll support your toes, the KEEN Women’s Rose comes with non-removable ECA footbeds that’ll also provide you with the arch support you’re seeking.

In addition, the compression-molded EVA midsoles offer enhanced cushioning, so you’re guaranteed comfort as well as durability.

What’s more, this incredibly affordable pair has antimicrobial properties, which is perfect for outdoorsy women. Plus, this pair is washable; no more spot cleaning.

These sandals come in a lot of color options that are all so beautiful and feminine. If we have to pick, we will go with the pink one because it’s incredibly cute.

Don’t let the pictures fool you! Even though this pair’s strap looks like it’s adjustable, it actually isn’t. To be honest, that’s a huge letdown because our feet are all so different; lacking adjustability in a pair of sandals could be a dealbreaker for many people.

Pros

Many color options
Incredibly affordable
Water-resistant uppers
Multi-directional lugs and non-marking rubber outsoles
Antimicrobial
Washable
Provides arch support

Cons

Strap is not adjustable

2. Teva Women’s Original Universal

Teva Women's Original Universal

Teva does what it does best: pioneering the sports sandals industry while using sustainable, recycled materials. The affordable Teva Women’s Original Universal Sandals are vegan,  practical, cute, quick-drying, and easy on the environment.

The construction of this budget-friendly pair is pretty unique. Made using recycled plastics, the pair’s webbing is not only eco-friendly, but it also rid the earth of some plastic for a fashionable, trendy footwear pair. In addition, the recycled polyester webbing is quick-drying, which means your feet will stay comfortable even if they get wet.

Besides, the pair’s hook-and-loop closure is pretty easy to use, and it boasts adjustable straps. Also, the Microban treatment adds a lot of antimicrobial properties to the pair, making your day outside stink-free.

Speaking of the outside, you’ll love the heel cupping and arch support that this pair provides. Plus, the rubber outsoles guarantee excellent traction.

We can’t talk about a Teva pair without mentioning the never-ending color options that it comes in. We recommend the Miramar Fade Coral Sand Multi model for how trendy it looks.

The one downside that this pair has is how uncomfortable it can get around the big toe.

Pros

Affordable
Endless color options
Universal strapping system
Quick-dry recycled polyester webbing
Heel cupping and arch support
Added Microban treatment 
Easy hook-and-loop closure

Cons

Tight around the toes

3. Chaco Women’s ZX/2 Yampa

Chaco Women's ZX/2 Yampa

There are casual sandals, beach sandals, and sports sandals. The Chaco Women’s ZX/2 is a pair that can do it all. The pair offers style, comfort, and practicality, all while being vegan and cruelty-free.

Let’s start with the construction. The LUVSEAT PU footbed is contoured, which provides a lot of comfort in the long run. Also, it has a slip-resistant diamond pattern that helps you walk and run comfortably without feeling like you’re going to fall at any second. Also, the iconic non-marking outsoles offer excellent wet/dry traction.

You’ll love the colorful slender nylon straps and their Jacquard webbing with toe loops. They have an adjustable buckle closure so that you can tighten or loosen the sandals however you like.

That being said, there’s a catch. While these sandals are designed for comfort, they will feel pretty uncomfortable at first. However, once you keep wearing them regularly, you’ll get used to how they feel, and you’ll realize how comfortable they actually are.

Pros

Adjustable buckle closure
Jacquard webbing double straps with toe loop
Non-marking Vibram outsole
Slip-resistant diamond pattern footbed
Contoured footbed

Cons

Uncomfortable at first

4. Sanuk Women’s Yoga Sling 2

Sanuk Women's Yoga Sling 2

What’s better than wearing a pair of sandals that didn’t cause any harm to animals? Wearing vegan sandals from recycled materials, which is exactly what you get with the Sanuk Women’s Yoga Sling 2 Sandals.

This incredibly affordable pair has a footbed that is made from a real yoga mat, with sealed edges. The comfortable Happy Ü rubber sponge outsoles are made from 47% recycled EVA and 6% straw. These sandals are truly made for the environmentally conscious.

In addition, we absolutely love the lightweight, two-way stretch knit upper because it makes you feel like you’re wearing nothing.

If you’re still not convinced, perhaps the never-ending selection of beachy colors will seal the deal for you. Our favorite picks are the Cabaret and Burgundy Bayridge Blanket.

So, what is the downside? Well, as much as we love the affordable price, the sandals aren’t as durable as we’d hoped.

Pros

Incredibly Affordable
Endless color options
Footbed made from real yoga mat
Happy Ü rubber sponge outsoles
Lightweight, two-way stretch knit upper

Cons

Won’t last forever

How to Pick Vegan Sandals

Choosing the best pair of vegan sandals can be a little difficult. There are a lot of factors that you need to consider before you can make your final decision.

For that, here’s a quick guide that’ll walk you through everything you need to know about choosing the perfect pair of vegan sandals.

Vegan Materials

The first thing that you’ll need to consider in your next pair of sandals is whether they’re vegan or not. Vegan footwear means it is free from animal-based materials, such as leather, suede, fur, and so on. 

Nowadays, there are so many vegan alternatives that you don’t have to worry about missing out.

Faux Leather

Don’t let the word “faux” fool you into thinking that it lacks quality. Faux leather has been evolving over the years and getting closer and closer to the real thing. There are two different categories of faux leather: natural or plant-based and synthetic.

Natural vegan leather is made from plant waste. The most common types are pineapple, cork, paper, timber, apple, coffee, grape leather, and more. The beauty of natural vegan leather lies in its sustainability and the fact that you won’t hurt animals or the environment wearing it.

Synthetic leather is the more common vegan option so far. Examples of synthetic leather include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethane (PU), recycled rubber, microfiber, bio-fabricated leather, and more. Synthetic leather is popular because of how affordable and versatile it is.

> Read more: Our ultimate guide to vegan leather

Textile

Leather has always been the number one footwear material, but it’s not the only one. Textile materials tend to be a lot more practical in use, and more creative in design and color.

Examples of fabrics and textiles in sandals include cotton, nylon, hemp, jute, and bamboo. Textile sandals also tend to come with a reasonable price tag. Not to mention, it’s easy to create comfortable and lightweight textile sandals.

Size

We can’t stress enough on how much the size of your sandals matters. Nobody wants to buy a good-looking pair of sandals, only to be uncomfortable wearing them.

Always check the size chart that the manufacturer offers. In addition, note whether the sandals are true to size or not; some run large, while others run small. Reading other customers’ reviews will provide you with enough information on how the sandals fit.

Style

Under the umbrella term “sandals”, there are multitudes of different styles that cater to different environments and personal needs.

Flip flops and sliders are a standard at every house. Rope and gladiator sandals are excellent for the summer. 

On the other hand, if you’re an active person, you need sports or walking sandals with a rugged design and comfortable soles.

Stiletto sandals are women’s perfect companion for cocktail parties and date nights, while kitten heels are their more comfortable counterparts. Lace sandals look really delicate and feminine, while wedge sandals can be both casual and dressy.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are Vegan Sandals?

Vegan sandals are any type of sandals that is free of any animal-based materials. So, they don’t use leather, suede, fur, and so on. They depend on animal-friendly components that replicate the real thing in shape and feel.

What Shoe Brands are Vegan?

While the majority of shoe brands offer vegan options now, not all of them are what we’d call a ‘vegan brand’. However, here are some of the most popular vegan shoe brands: Veja, Sydney Brown, Golden Ponies, NOHARM, Matt & Nat, Veerah, Nomadic State of Mind, Keep, TOMS, Okabashi, and Hooves Vegan Shoes.

Are Synthetic Shoes Vegan?

Mostly, yes. Synthetic shoes are man-made without using any animal products. However, many “synthetic” shoes still use animal-based adhesives, and the only way to tell whether a brand’s glue is vegan or not is to ask the manufacturer directly.


Final Thoughts

We hope that you are now informed enough to choose your best vegan sandals with ease. In case you’re in need of a quick memory refresh, we will briefly go over the highlights of our list.

Men who love the outside will love the KEEN Men’s Uneek Sandals and Chaco Men’s Z1 Classic Sport Sandals. 

On the other hand, we recommend the Teva Women’s Original Universal Sandals, Chaco Women’s ZX/2 Yampa Sandals, and KEEN Women’s Rose Sandals for active, outdoorsy women.

In addition, the most sustainable option for men is Reef Men’s Sandals Marbea SL, while the most environmentally-conscious option for women is the Sanuk Women’s Yoga Sling 2 Sandals.