Hemp. A word that is sure to draw divisiveness from some, snickers from others, and relief from many. The world of hemp is an interesting one because it just has so many people and ways of life that intersect. In fact, did you know that there are dozens of uses for hemp. No, it’s not Marijuana, contrary to what many might think. But the hemp ‘crowd’ does look more favorably upon that, so that is one reason that the popularity of hemp shoes has continued to skyrocket over the years.
As you will see at the end of the article, there are many, many uses for hemp and many advantages to using it. One of these things, of course, is for shoes. That’s what we will zero in on today, by talking about all of the various features that hemp shoes bring to you. Then, we will look at a list of the most popular hemp shoes being sold right now after answering any questions and concerns that you could possibly be having.
Top Hemp Shoes Comparison Chart
|1. Sanuk Women’s Donna Hemp Flat||Women||$$$|
|2. Saucony Women’s Jazz Low Pro Vegan Retro||Women||$$$$|
|3. Vibram CVT Women’s Sneaker||Women||$$|
|4. Sanuk Women’s Donna Hemp Chill Slipper||Women||$$|
|5. Gaia Guy Hyacinth Ladie’s Crochet Style||Women||$$$|
|6. Sanuk Men’s Beer Runner Sneaker||Men||$$$|
|7. Vibram CVT Hemp Men’s Sneaker||Men||$$$|
|8. Virblatt Men’s Lace Up Espadrilles Hemp Shoes||Men||$$$$|
|9. Astral Men’s Hemp Donner Casual Shoes||Men||$$|
|10. Sanuk Men’s Chibalicious Slip-on Loafer||Men||$$$|
Hemp Shoes Buying Guide
What is Hemp?
If you are reading this, chances are you know what hemp is, but you might be here and could be genuinely curious about what it is. Hemp is a blanket term for any member of the Cannabis family that contains a trace amount of THC (the chemical in Marijuana) in it.
There are several families within the range of ‘Cannabis,’ and that is why many assume that hemp is just another term for Marijuana, even though it is not. Hemp, as we are defining it for our purposes to today encompasses the industrial and non-drug uses. Cultivating it for these purposes can yield fiber, hurd, and seeds, all of which can be used for various products.
Are They Just Cultural or What?
A quick thought I had in my mind was that surely hemp shoes, and other hemp products as well, were just a product of our modern culture, right? It must be said that pop culture nowadays quickly moves at the speed of light, and with that we are seeing a lot of changes along with it. However, not everyone that is wearing a pair of shoes made from hemp is doing so just because they want to be ‘cool’ or because they enjoy smoking. Instead, it’s about so much more. Hemp is a beautiful, wonderful substance that allows you to leave a much smaller footprint on the world, and that is a big part of the appeal of the products that come along with it.
Why Does it Leave a Smaller Footprint?
Quite simply put, hemp leaves a smaller footprint than other products because it is fully natural. Not only does the product come directly from nature without any man made tempering with it, but it also goes back into nature easily because it is biodegradable. This is why we say that you will leave a small
footprint behind due by using it. To those that are concerned with Global Warming and climate changes issues then, this is something they can do to fight back. On top of that, there are other benefits to making shoes from a totally natural source.
That benefit is that no animals have to be used in the making of the leather. This means that you can not only be supportive of nature, but it also means you can be an advocate as well. Now, these reasons don’t have to be yours, and you can have other reasons, but these are two very big ones that are serving to increase the popularity of the product as a whole.
Features That Make Hemp Shoes Viable
Surely, though, you ask hemp shoes have to give up something, right? There is no way to have it all, to be all natural and refrain from using animal parts and still give you nearly everything you could ask for in a shoe, right? Well, once again, you and I would be wrong in assuming that. Here is a look at some of the things that make hemp such an amazing substance and yields so many possible uses.
A lot of products in the modern world are labeled ‘organic’ or ‘natural,’ but how many of them are actually what they are proclaimed to be? The answer might not be able to be known, in truth, but hemp is one that actually lives up to the bill. We won’t go as far as calling it the miracle plant like some have, but it’s ability to be grown easily and sustained without any pesticides is a major plus. This can help you feel better about where they came from if you are just very environmentally conscious and don’t want to harm any bugs, herbs, or fungi.
Alright, no snickering here, but if you were told that hemp would produce an odorless shoe would you believe it? Maybe not, but that is actually the case. The plant itself is anti-microbial, meaning that bacteria won’t latch itself onto the shoe, thus making your shoes smell the same as the first day that you got them. How’s that for some irony? Leather and a lot of synthetic materials hold onto to odors, so this is a big reason why even someone that doesn’t necessarily believe hemp is a savior could be drawn to wearing hemp shoes.
Let’s face it. Some people just have funny allergies. Whether it’s over peanut butter, cats, or latex, people can develop them at various times in their lives. But with hemp, there are no worries because it is hypoallergenic. That means that you will no longer have to worry about wool rubbing and irritating your skin if you have that problem, and it makes hemp a very viable option for you.
Hemp is quite a strong fiber, and because of that it is an excellent material to make shoes out of. We have all had shoes, even ones that we dearly loved, wear out very quickly, but with hemp shoes, that just won’t happen nearly as fast. Of course, it all depends on what you are using them for and how much you use them, but they can only be made for shoes if they reach a certain threshold, and that’s what hemp is able to accomplish. Want to better understand the strength of hemp? It is eight times stronger than cotton! That says a lot, because it can be nigh on impossible for most folks to rip a cotton shirt, so just think how hard it would be to rip something composed of hemp!
The Most Important Reason Is…
The reason that will make most people the happiest is the fact that hemp shoes are biodegradable. This means that eventually the fiber will decompose. This is not the case with leather and synthetic products. This automatically means you have a smaller footprint left behind because you don’t have any products that are based off of petroleum or similar. One thing that must be said here, though, is that not all hemp shoes are totally 100% biodegradable. Some hemp shoes have more hemp in them than others. Most of the time, it is the upper that is made from hemp, while the lower part is used with rubber. You need the rubber for traction and for increased durability in the vast majority of shoes, so that is just something you will have to live with. Of course, you could just find a totally hemp shoe, but you would be giving up a little bit of protection if you chose to do so.
One of the major pluses to wearing hemp shoes is the sheer amount of comfort that is afforded by the product itself. Hemp is a very soft material, which means you will be feeling plush throughout the shoe in most instances. One thing that has to be pointed out is that this is not like shoes that have foam or some sort of other mean to provide that “cloud” feeling on your feet. Instead, the comfort is given by being soft on the upper side of the shoe, not in the insert of it. This allows you to wear them without socks if you choose on nearly all occasions, and when you take that and combine it with its hypoallergenic properties, you have a real winner in the making and will have something you can be very happy and comfy in.
On top of the feel that is given to you, hemp also allows shoes to be very flexible. Whether you are in a slip-on, sneaker, or a sandal, you are able to stretch out your feet in a way that you just can’t do in so many shoes. Being flexible only increases the level of comfort you have, and if you are living an earthly kind of lifestyle, then this is an absolute must for you to have.
Another aspect of comfort is the breathability of the shoe. You would think, as I did, that hemp would probably not be the most breathable of shoe materials out there. However, that is just not the case. In a good pair of hemp shoes, the wearer’s feet are able to breathe out because the designers have cut out the patterns in such a way that it will help you to not sweat as much. While it may not be as good at doing the job as mesh or other products, it still does an adequate job to keep your level of comfort up.
Styles of Hemp Shoes
The vast majority of hemp shoes on the market at present are shoes that are of a more casual nature. Shoes meant for lounging, light work on your feet, and walking are most common. However, more and more shoes are being made with the product now, including sneakers and even dress shoes. Trail shoes have been made out of hemp in the past, as well as skateboarding shoes and also, of course, the ‘traditional’ slip-ons.
Best Hemp Shoe Reviews
Alright, we are about to start our reviews now. We will take the list and divide into two: with five men’s and five women’s options. Another note is that only shoes made with an upper composed of hemp will be considered for this list. While other shoes might use hemp in various places, it is important to note the true spirit of said shoes, which is to be biodegradable and sustainable in nature.
So, for us to consider it a ‘hemp shoe,’ we are going to need it to either be made up of primarily hemp, or for it to include another material that is similar in nature, such as Jute. The only way to do this list fairly is to rank those that are composed primarily on hemp or another sustainable product on the upper part, instead of just selecting ones that have a style or just look like “hemp shoes.”
Sanuk Women’s Donna Hemp Flat
Composed of 100% hemp for the upper with just a little bit of rubber on the bottom, it is easy to see why Sanuk’s Donna Hemp flat is #1 on the list. Coming in an array of colors that will match a number of different things you could wear, Sanuk brings to you a very simple kind of shoe. This is a casual ‘boardwalk’ style that will let you go about your do in simple, comfortable manner.
But make no mistake about it, these are very minimalist in nature, meaning you don’t get much more than basically a sock that covers your shoe with a little bit of rubber. It’s easy to throw on and go because it is a slip-on, and is very lightweight because the hemp used in the upper is just a very thin sheet. The rubber, though, not as good for the environment, is very good at providing comfort as well as traction. On top of that, it brings water resistance as well, which is great if you are looking for a cool looking shoe to take with you to the beach!
- Sole is waterproof
- Very lightweight
- Easy to slip on and go
- Sizing can be a little tough to figure out
Saucony Women’s Jazz Low Pro Vegan Retro
If you are looking for a sneaker, but you still want to be a little more savvy about you and your surroundings, then this is the way to go! Saucony, a company famous for running shoes, has developed a shoe for the Vegan at heart wit this sneaker. Not only does it make a much smaller dent in the environment thanks to the use of hemp along with canvas, but it also looks really great and comes in three different colors.
Not only do the colors make it look cool, but the design really does look like something you would have seen back in the 70s, and that makes it even cooler given how much people like to “throwback” the older generations today. As for the uses of the shoe, this is still very much a capable running shoe, believe it or not!
These are not meant for just looks, rather they are made for performance, which is a major plus in a market where you can’t get that along with hemp in almost every single case. A note is that this is a sleeker version of the old Jazz O. There are some negatives, though. These shoes seem to have issues in the toe areas with some of them wearing out prematurely.
- A running shoe for Vegans!
- Really classic look and style
- Sleek and comfortable
- Toe box has wear issues
Vibram CVT Women’s Sneaker
Exactly why this one is called a sneaker is anyone’s guess, but the Vibram CVT has quickly became a favorite of the Vegan and Hemp community because of one big reason: the shoes simply move the same exact way that your feet and toes move.
This freeing experience is liberating, and it’s just not something that ordinary shoes can give you. Even a really great pair of running shoes, for example, rarely affords you the chance to move your feet and stretch them out, so it’s a major bonus. With that said, though, this is not a sneaker, so any thoughts of trying to use it for athletic activities would be unwise. Another big plus, that works in conjunction with the freedom of movement, is the individual toe design. Each toe has its own ‘pocket,’ if you will, and it’s like a sock in that regard.
The cool part about it is that unlike others that are like this on the market, the toes actually have some protection to them with rubber in front of them. So while it wouldn’t be best to go around dropping things on them or kicking stuff, it will afford you increased protection. These shoes do cost a little bit more than typical shoes in the category, and they also have durability issues, but they are super cool and have a great purpose.
- Allows a ton of freedom in movement
- Individual toes are a huge plus
- Toes have protection built in
- Little more expensive than most Hemp shoes
- Not as durable as some others
- Fit isn’t the best, either, with only 58% of users reporting an accurate fit
Sanuk Women’s Donna Hemp Chill Slipper
This slipper from Sanuk is very reminiscent of the first offering on the list, but it does have some key differences that are worth noting. First, is the appearance of it. The front is unchanged, but the back of it is totally different with a fuzzy look in the back to bring even more style to the table. Second, and perhaps most worthy of mentioning, is the fact is it composed mostly of Jute.
Jute is not the same as hemp, but the two materials are very similar in nature. Jute is just as good for environment because it does not require chemicals to be made and it is biodegradable as well. It is second to cotton in the amount produced, in fact. Like the other Sanuk Donna selection, this shoe is a slip-on that will be easy to wear. They are even good for outside the house, with many deciding to switch over from Tom’s and wear these exclusively, in fact because they have a warm inner lining! A negative of them is that they are a little bit pricey, and that they also run a little small as well.
- Fuzzy look in the back increases style
- Still good for the ecosystem
- Comfortable and warm, too
- Can be a little pricey
- Runs small in size
Gaia Guy Hyacinth Ladie’s Crochet Style
Think back to the second you began reading this list. What did you think a Hemp shoe was? Most likely it was THIS shoe! This shoe is a very affordable choice that is something that will make everyone turn their heads, that much is for certain. It is a handmade slipper that has been hand woven, and it is fully 100% water hyacinth. While this is not hemp, it is a plant that is in abundance in many parts of the world. In fact, it has taken over in some places, kind of like kudzu, so this is one way to help fight back against that.
Like hemp, it is biodegradable, so there are no worries there. It is very comfortable, and its best purpose is for a lounge shoe and nothing more. There isn’t much in the way of support or protection, and you also don’t want to take a chance and mess up the craftsmanship of the work of art, either, so you might want to be a little more careful with these than you might otherwise would be with other shoes! Though they may not be your cup of tea, they are very cheap and could make a good shoe for lying around most of the live-long day! Sizing issues also are prevalent, so be aware of that.
- Handmade and very comfy
- Extremely cheap and worth a try
- Helps fight back against wildlife
- Sizing can be tough to determine
- Don’t offer much protection
- Simply not everyone’s style
Sanuk Men’s Beer Runner Sneaker
Alright, let’s just go ahead and say this: this shoe is absolutely awesome looking and one of the coolest looks you are going to find not only in the hemp shoes category but elsewhere as well. The way Sanuk have designed the shoe is very impressive, and there are a few colors to pick from as well. Like the other Sanuk offerings we have seen on the list, the upper part is made from hemp, allowing you to be lightweight, comfortable, and also aware of your surroundings at the same time.
On top of that, the fact that this is an actual shoe and not just a slipper is a major plus. While it’s probably not going to actually be the best for running in, the rubber used for the sole means they will hold up if you are on your feet a lot during a given day. The front toe is splayed upward as well, which means they could come in handy if you just HAD to go for a run. They are also very durable because of the hemp and the rubber being combined together, and that lends well to a shoe that can do a lot of things. They are surprisingly affordable given what all you get, but one thing that is a worry is that it is difficult to size them.
- Very cool and hip look
- Good all-around sneaker
- Gives extra durability
- Sizing can be an issue
Vibram CVT Hemp Men’s Sneaker
Almost exactly the same shoe as before that we looked at in the women’s category, the CVT also makes the men’s list because of the same things is brings the ladies. Freedom of movement, especially in the toe area is a major plus. With so many shoes giving little to no wiggle room in the toe box, these shoes blow them out of the water in a way that few had ever even thought of doing before.
Other shoes have done this in the past, but they have never been able to do it with a sustainable product like Hemp involved. They, like the women’s version, have a bit of toe protection on the edges as well to keep your feet and toes happy and bruised just in case an unfortunate event does occur. The fact that they look so minimalistic is a major plus to be had, and the result of the toes being free and having rubber beneath and in front of them means you find great grip to be had.
No socks are needed, either, which is bound to make more than a few people happy! On top of that, they are super easy to slip on, contrary to the ‘sneaker’ label given to them. The only issues seem to be the durability problems, the fit, and the slightly higher cost than other shoes in the same niche.
- No socks required!
- Very good grip
- Minimalistic feel and design
- Can run a little pricey
- Tend to wear out if worn a ton
- Hard to find the proper fit
Virblatt Men’s Lace Up Espadrilles Hemp Shoes
It becomes all the more apparent that men prefer the more traditional look and feel of lace up shoes, and the Virblatt Espadrilles show just that principle in spades. One major difference that can be seen right away is that these truly are 100% genuine hemp shoes as far as the uppers go. The rubber is a necessity to give you durability in a product that is very inexpensive to buy!
Even some of the bottom part of of them are made from hemp, and they have some awesome, groovy designs on the upper as well to offset them. The shoelaces are even made from hemp, which makes them look cooler and means that they won’t wear out or come untied easily like many shoelaces tend to do. They do have a slip-on version, but this version comes with laces to give a more secure feel. One of the main draw backs is the lack of styles available, with only one color pattern looking to be on the menu at present.
Sizing also is a problem with many complaining that they tend to run small, so once again that problem has reared its ugly head in our list. The other major concern is for those that have flat feet. If you do have them, these won’t help give you very much support, so they might not be good for a do of being up and about a lot.
- Very inexpensive
- Lots of hemp used in each pair
- Shoelaces are easily maintained
- Not a lot of styles and patterns to pick from at present
- Lack of support due for people, especially those with flatter feet
- Sizing issues once again
Astral Men’s Hemp Donner Casual Shoes
We promise you, this is the last men’s shoe on the list that looks like a normal sneaker! The Donner from Astral, though, makes the list rightly because of its really awesome design choices. Thought it has just two colors to pick from right now, they really do look classic and look like they could be made from anything.
Made from hemp as well as recycled polyester, this is a shoe that is thinking hard about the environment. But the rubber used here in this shoe is perhaps the thing to be most excited about. It has high friction abrasion resistance, meaning that it will not scratch easily AND it will also give you a lot of support, which is not a calling card of most hemp shoes at present.
This sets these shoes apart, making them a good choice for people that are active and even those that are traveling and sightseeing. They also are very comfortable, and they only increase that comfort by including shoestrings that are resistant to water. The heel is padded to give your ankle support, giving you a lot of built in support that just isn’t seen in this part of the industry at present.
One major thing that could set you off buying these shoes is the price. They are quite a bit more expensive than most on our list, but they offer something that few of others do, so they should thus be a little bit more pricey. Another concern, though not as large, is that they run about a half size too small, so you will need to order up a half size to be safe! Also, it should be known that these shoes are not best in wet conditions, despite their shoelaces repelling water.
- Very supportive shoe
- Great for activity and travel
- Really great design
- Quite a bit more expensive than others
- Runs small, so you need to order up a little
- Best in dry, not wet climates
Sanuk Men’s Chibalicious Slip-on Loafer
Told you we’d have something a little bit different here! In the Chibalicious Loafer, we certainly do. While highly rated by many, this shoe has simply been knocked down the pecking order some because it has less hemp in it than other shoes on the list. It is a blend of 50% cotton and 50% jute, which isn’t destructive by any means, but there had to be a line drawn somewhere.
Both materials serve to bring a loafer that is easy to slip on while making it lightweight, comfortable, and flexible all at the same time. The Phylon material used for the sole of the shoe gives a good amount of traction for a slipper. A big saving grace of the shoe is the EVA used on the insole that helps reduce bacteria and odors, meaning you should be more than free to wear them without any socks if you choose to do so.
They come in a variety of colors but have a one-tone style to them that makes them look very classy and elegant while also being green as well! They also come at a very affordable price, showing just why hemp products are possibly the way of the future in that regard. The Chiba is known for a wider fit than most, and this one does not disappoint, so if you have wider feet, this could be just the choice that you needed!
The material at the back of the shoe does have some issues with wear and tear, however, so that is one thing that could detract you from buying these. They also run small, so you will need to be careful with Sanuk in that regard.
- Very good price
- Phylon provides good grip for a slipper
- Wider fit than most Sanuks
- Wear and tear issues
- Sizes run small
- Not as much ‘hemp’ factor to them
Conclusion & Final Shoe Recommendations
As you can tell, hemp shoes come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Whether you are looking for a house slipper, something to work in, or something to run in, they all are covered by this interesting material that is abundant in nature and easy to grow all over the world.
No matter if you are new to being conscious about the environment or a true believer, or you just have a concern that hemp shoes address, you will be happy and can safely assume that you have a great array of selections to pick from!
Frequently Asked Questions About Hemp Shoes
What Else is Made with Hemp?
Shoes are far from the only thing that is made with hemp nowadays. There are a huge array of products, including in foods and even in protein drinks. Hemp also is used in other forms of clothing, like shirts and jackets as well. Bracelets, beauty products, body wash, sunscreen, so many things can be made from it!
Are Hemp Shoes for Vegans?
YES! Undoubtedly, the answer is yes to this question. Hemp does not require any animals whatsoever to be involved with the growth or it, so they make for a good product that Vegans can safely use and enjoy without worrying about how it was made.
Do Hemp Shoes Last Longer Than Normal Shoes?
Hemp shoes can last longer than normal shoes do, but that is not a guarantee by any means. They are very much similar to normal shoes, and the way you wear them and what you wear them for is very important in determining how long they last. Hemp is a very durable product, but that doesn’t mean that you will be able to wear them for 12 hours a day everyday for two whole years without seeing some wear and tear, either!
How Do I Clean Hemp Shoes?
There isn’t much difference between your normal shoes and hemp shoes, but the key is to treat them very gently. You don’t want to use any harsh cleaning products on them, either, but if you just follow the instructions that come along with the shoes for cleaning, you should be good to go and happy with the way they stay clean and last for a long while, too.
Are Hemp Shoes Just for Eco-friendly People?
No, they are not. While that is a major draw to them, it must be said that there are legitimate reasons that other people are using hemp shoes. If you have problems with odorous shoes, if you need something that is more durable, or if you have allergies, for example, these are a great option to look at and try out in your rotation.