NAE Vegan Shoes Review - Darco Sandals

10/09/2020 by Sarah Ottino - Not sponsored


Ever wanted a pair of Birkenstocks but couldn't bring yourself to support the cruel leather and suede industry? Look no further! The NAE Vegan Darco Sandals are a great vegan alternative to Birks!


After a few months into our year-long travels, I was tired of wearing either running shoes, hiking books, or flip flops at our campsites. I wanted something I could wear with or without socks but could still easily slip on. I hadn't owned (or have wanted to own) a pair of Birks since 5th grade, but all of a sudden I felt the need to buy them.


Unfortunately Birks are not vegan. I wasn't about to compromise my ethics for some shoes, so that started my hunt for a durable, affordable, eco-friendly vegan alternative. Luckily I stumbled across the NAE (No Animal Exploitation) Vegan Shoes website and found the perfect pair.

"Meet DARCO PINATEX, the unisex sandals in piñatex, an innovative eco-friendly material made of pineapple leave fibres.


These minimalistic sandals are lined with an OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 certified microfibre manufactured in a system free of CO2 emissions. In addition to being hypoallergenic they are also antibacterial and antimicrobial, which helps prevent the development of odours. This model features a comfortable footbed made of cork and natural rubber that provides arch support. The sandals have two adjustable straps with old gold nickel-free buckles. The sole is made of recycled car tires. These eco-friendly sandals are perfect for those who love the outdoors! Beautifully hand-made in Portugal in a fair work environment. Available in Black and White.

Piñatex is one of our natural fabrics. It is made from pineapple leaf fibres. The leaves – which are normally discarded – are taken from pineapple harvests and processed to make this incredibly durable fabric, with any unused fibres then redistributed to the fields as fertiliser. It’s a completely earth-friendly process and the company responsible are working with pineapple farmers to add a whole new income stream to their businesses." Learn more about the materials here.


These sandals didn't have any reviews on their website, and my feet can be pretty tricky to fit so I was a bit hesitant to buy them. I have very wide feet with high arches, so a lot of online shoes never fit. But they offered free returns, so I took the leap and ordered my usual size 9. I waited 7 days for them to arrive in Oregon (they shipped from Portugal, so it was extremely fast shipping considering the world is going through a pandemic right now). I tried them on immediately and it was a perfect fit! It's an understatement to say I was excited.


I was delighted to see absolutely zero plastic packaging. They shipped in the shoe box itself, sealed with paper tape, and with simple tissue paper inside.

I started wearing them around the house to "break them in", but it wasn't necessary. They were very soft and formed to my feet in a few hours. They were fantastic at the campsite, being fashionable and comfortable both with and without socks. Long car rides and short hikes were more relaxing in these. The only downside is that if your feet are sweating, they can occasionally create a tiny farting sound that comes from the suction of your foot against the cork insole, which is actually a little funny.


They have gotten wet which hasn't been a problem at all, and they do really well in both hot and cold temperatures. These have been my go-to for comfort, convenience, and style. After a few months of heavy wear, they still look great (besides the NAE logo rubbing off on the inside, which nobody sees). I wish I had known about this brand when I was still working an office job since they have a ton of adorable heels, boots, and flats too. They also sell sneakers, bags, wallets, belts, men's, and unisex shoes (these sandals are actually in the unisex category) and free returns. This brand is worth supporting!


✓ Minimal to no CO2 emissions ✓ Nickel-free ✓ Allergen-free ✓ Antibacterial and antimicrobial

✓ Recycled materials ✓ Made without plastic ✓ Plastic-free packaging ✓ Fair work environment

✓ Adjustable straps ✓ Affordable ✓ Free returns ✓ And of course: Animal friendly


​​​​Cost: I got these on sale for $61.92 total. They are currently $86.00.

You can subscribe to their newsletter for 10% off your first purchase.

This post is completely unsponsored and is not a paid advertisement. I was not provided any free products or discounts from this review. There are no affiliate links in this post, and I do not work for the NAE brand.

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