Style

Nisolo makes stylish, ethically sourced boots—here's what we think about them

I tested out the Heeled Chelsea Boots from Nisolo for a few weeks.

A black pair of boots next to a brown pair of boots on a stick. Credit: Nisolo

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Someone once told me you should invest in what you put between you and the earth, including the shoes you wear. Since I researched ethical shoe brands earlier this year I've been itching to try a pair of Nisolo shoes. I don't have many shoes, and I try to only have one type of shoe for each purpose: everyday wear, exercise, formal occasions, house chores, etc. What I was missing was a pair of Chelsea Boots, which have been floating around my Pinterest boards for years. A Chelsea boot is an ideal everyday shoe that has style, comfort, function, and—important to me—quality, ethically sourced materials. Nisolo seemed like the perfect combination of everything I wanted in a shoe brand, and I jumped at the chance to test out a pair of their boots.

What is Nisolo?

chelsea boots
Credit: Nisolo

Nisolo sells ethically made footwear.

Nisolo is an ethical and sustainable brand with a chic collection of shoes and accessories based in Nashville, TN. Its shoes are classic and timeless, made from ethically sourced materials. Nisolo’s website includes loads of information about transparent sourcing and wage information, including how it determines what to pay workers in factories. Nisolo’s shoes are highly acclaimed by GQ, Vogue, InStyle, and more.

Nisolo has a wide variety of shoe styles for both men and women, ranging from boots to flats, loafers, sandals, even slippers and socks. On top of its shoe collection, it also makes gorgeous accessories: belts, bags, jewelry, socks, and even masks. Common among all the items is a clear, sophisticated style and a dedication to quality materials. Even Nisolo's sneaker collection seems put together and a little dressy.

An extra feature on Nisolo's website is its Ethical marketplace. The marketplace is a curated section filled with items from other ethical brands, including some that we've tried and loved like Our Place and by Humankind. Consider the Ethical marketplace a go-to location for rounding out your capsule wardrobe or for holiday shopping. Nisolo's team has done the research work for you, so you don’t have. Instead, you can find accessories and home wears from sustainable brands that share your values.

What are ethically made shoes?

friends
Credit: Nisolo

Nisolo is extremely transparent.

An ethical pair of shoes comes in many forms, but at the core it is created with sustainably sourced materials, fair-wage-factories, and responsible environmental practices. Nisolo is a certified B Corporation. When buying in the fashion world, I always look for B corps because they “meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.” It’s a certification similar to Fair Trade, but it goes beyond the production of items and is also concerned with the good a brand does for the humans who are involved with it.

On each product page you can view where materials are sourced, many of which are crafted in the company’s ethical factory in Peru. Nisolo also has endeavors to help offset carbon emissions and bolster the environment. You can read about its recent strides to offset carbon emissions and about its shoe reclamation program in depth.

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What I love about the Nisolo Heeled Chelsea Boots

chelsea
Credit: Nisolo

The Heeled Chelsea Boot has won me over.

I’ve been lucky enough to test out a pair of Nisolo boots myself, and they live up to the hype. I got the Heeled Chelsea Boots in an 8.5 (yay for half sizes!) and have worn them around my house and on quick errands to the post office and Target. I was instantly impressed with the packaging, as each boot came in its own cloth bag inside the shoe box. These boots are my first pair of nice (and real) leather boots, so I read the care instructions carefully and could smell the difference in quality compared to my cheap, fast-fashion shoes of the past.

Though I’ll say this again in the next section: size up! The boots have a gorgeous finish and a slightly pointed toe, but the silhouette is too snug on my foot—even with only tights or bare feet. Next time I’ll size up a half size to make wearing more versatile.

The list of things I love about this pair of boots is long. They slip-on, and once my foot is in the boot the top stays well put around my ankle, hiding short socks and giving support. My roommate compliments me every time I wear the boots, and I love how simple and chic they are. Once I’m being social again, I can see myself slipping these on for a workday at the office or to wear with a more casual outfit at a bar or brewery with friends. A classic black boot with a heel like this never goes out of style, so I can wear these year-round for years to come. They’re also waterproof, making them a true boot of all trades.

What I don’t love about the boots

As I mentioned, if you want to get the most out of the boots definitely size up. I’m not typically one to wear heels, so the 3-inch heel on these boots felt pretty tall but they were super comfortable overall. I could wear these for a few hours, but I wouldn’t recommend them for your commute.

Should you buy a pair for yourself?

blackboots
Credit: Nisolo

Nisolo has a wide selection of boots in many colors—not just black!

Short answer: yes! I could tell (and smell) the quality of the shoes from the second I opened the box. I’ve repurposed the bags the shoes came in as gift wrapping for the holidays, which is yet another way Nisolo is creating sustainable products. The boots themselves were stylish and comfortable and truly made me feel the most put together I have since February. The boots retail for $230, but I’d frame that as an investment in a pair of shoes that will last you as long as you hope to wear Chelsea Boots. They’re the only pair I’ll ever need, which says a lot from a girl living in the North.

And I’d be silly to not mention that the Heeled Chelsea Boots are currently on sale for $156.75 for Black Friday with the code EXTRA25!

Shop the Heeled Chelsea Boots from Nisolo

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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