Pump Bumps.Hammer Toes.Tailor’s Bunions. While I wish these were the names of new experimental songs from the new Frank Ocean LP, they’re just three of five common foot conditions caused by wearing high heels. Ew.

As a wardrobe stylist, I was spoonfed the old “heels elongate the body” rule without stopping to think much about what else they do. After all, Dior made the stiletto famous, but he didn’t pair it with a matching bunion pad.

Where one woman sees power pumps, another woman just feels sore toes. Why does fashion keep telling Ms. Aching Feet that something is wrong with her? You take away a woman’s right to step into confidence when you require her to wear something that takes away her comfort.

The ethical fashion space seems particularly poised (shoe pun intended) to solve the problems the rest of the shoe industry seems to drag their feet on (yep, another shoe pun). They already show they care about their workers, so obviously, they care about their customers, too.

For my part, I admit that if a client wants high heels, I won’t keep them from what they want, but I’m taking heels off my list of staples.

Being a stylist isn’t just about completing the look, it’s about supporting to person inside of it. If she doesn’t wear heels, I support that, and luckily, so do these great ethical brands:

Handcrafted and sourced locally in Ethiopia, the Eden Fuchsia D’Orsay Flat from Sseko are as stylish as they are smart – 10% of profits go to scholarships for young women in East Africa.

Eileen Fisher’s sustainable and ethically made designs are known for two things: minimalism and comfort, and her trendy Blog Slide is no different in their sophistication.

Step out in the style of a ethical fashionista in Fortress of Inca’s Paloma d’orsay flats, which are made with sustainably sourced materials by artisans who receive fair wages and benefits.

There’s not a shoe I don’t wish were mine in Nisolo’s fair trade collection, where the highest heel stops at 2.75 inches. Their patent leather Smoking Shoe has me skipping in style – and comfort.


Mamahuhu’s entire collection is as playful as these wine colored Riviera Moccasins would suggest, and their Columbian artisan-made shoes are fair-trade and locally sourced, to boot.


Add a little pattern pop to your typical black ballet flats with certified B-Corp Root Collective’s Espy bootie.

Well hello there, Fall boot for days. Nicora’s Woolf Studded Boots is haute fashion, and made by artisans who are paid fairly and work in good conditions. Shoes are made with recycled fabrics in the USA.

For more ways to buy better, visit our core collection and check out the best, most sustainable footwear out there.

Cover Image: Remake

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