Looking for a great shoe for everyday wear? These vegan sneaker brands have got you covered!
By Katy Caric
Vegan sneaker brands are staying abreast of the latest footwear trend – basically, the chunky, clunky (but surprisingly comfy!) trainer. The Adidas Ultraboost kicked off the trend, with its thick white sole, and Balenciaga’s multi-hued triple S shoes soon followed, and became a cult favourite, despite looking a bit like something out of a Transformers movie.
Those two styles mentioned above aren’t normally made out of leather, but don’t think that means they’re vegan friendly: some seemingly ‘vegan’ shoes can contain animal-derived ingredients like glue, or can use materials that were tested on animals.
- Non-synthetic materials: Nearly all running shoes are made exclusively with synthetic materials to keep them light and breathable, but some are made of synthetics blended with animal skin (leather).
- Glues: The synthetic materials of running shoes are put together using strong industrial glues. In some brands, the glue is derived from animal bones.
- Dyes: Most shoes are made with synthetic dyes, but some brands may colour their shoes with inks and dyes derived from animals.
Thankfully, it’s become easier than ever to be kind to your legs and feet with the perfect pair of vegan running shoes that are not only made with no cruelty to animals, but that are sustainable, too, thanks to the use of natural materials like hemp or Tencel or recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles.
Here are 15 of the best ethically made, sustainable vegan sneaker brands that you an wear with just about anything!
15 Of The Best Vegan Sneaker Brands For Everyday Wear
It’s now official: kinda ugly sneakers are the hottest accessory! And Stella’s ‘Eclypse’ shoes provide are just so cool. Grounded by a chunky rubber sole, this all-white pair is made from a combination of faux leather and suede and has spongy neoprene tongues. Wear yours with some coloured denim to really stand out.
Price: $685 Gym friendly? No way!
Ontems is quickly becoming the vegan sneaker favorite, breaking industry conventions along the way. They are an independent brand that designs unisex, handcrafted sneakers, using natural and organic materials. With a deep rooted environmental commitment they’ve brought quality, well designed, animal-free footwear into the spotlight. They ship worldwide, with free shipping to the US and Europe.
Price: Around $150 Gym friendly? Not really.
These two brands have been collaborating since 2005, but for me, the inclusion of Parley for the Oceans has been the best addition yet. The yarn in these is from Parley Ocean Plastic that is collected from beaches and coastal communities, making them super eco-friendly.
And did I mention that these much-imitated “Ultraboost” shoes are probably the most comfy trainers you’ll ever try on? After all, they’re so-named ‘for the extra boost you get from the patented cushion – perfect for serious workouts and runs!
Price: Around $150 Gym friendly? Oh yes!
Po-Zu isn’t yet a fully vegan company, but founder Safia Minney is one of the leaders in the sustainable fashion movement – in fact, she was one of the main stars of “The True Cost” a couple years ago, and they do make some vegan sneaker styles that are 100% animal free.
These low cut vegan sneakers are the perfect street shoe. They’re made from organic cotton and FairTrade rubber from Sri Lanka, so they’re ethical and eco-friendly, too!
Price: Around $150 Gym friendly? Possibly, on the elliptical trainer or bike.
5. NAE Vegan
Sneakers can be tricky for vegans to find because of all the sneaky animal-based products like glue hidden in the shoe. Nae Vegan makes sure absolutely zero animals are harmed from the glue to the lining to the sole. These ethically made shoes were created in NAE’s Portuguese factories from recycled car air bags, making them ethical, stylish and sustainable.
Reebok? In this list? Heck yeah! Their latest sneakers are made from an incredible, new vegan material made from cotton and corn fibres. These are the world’s first 75% USDA certified bio-based shoe, so you can feel really good about what you’re wearing, and we love that these purely vegan sneakers are also unisex.
Price: Around $80 Gym friendly? Sure, why not? Try them on the stationary bike or elliptical trainer
Etiko takes classic sneaker styles, and changes how they’re made – namely, ethically and without any cruelty whatsoever. These are styles you’ve probably seen (and worn) before, but this time, the cotton canvas is organic, the rubber is certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council and the production is totally Fair Trade. No wonder their motto is ‘wear no evil’!
Price: $75 Gym friendly? No, there’s no arch support whatsoever.
8. Matt + Nat
Matt + Nat have long been at the forefront of the vegan accessories movement, and their Gail sneakers are the perfect classic for any wardrobe. The best part? At under $100, these definitely won’t break the bank. But if you’re not keen on these, they have plenty of other styles – and many of them are unisex, too!
Price: $90 Gym friendly? Not really…
Ahimsa’s Brazilian factories are 100% vegan friendly – apparently the only ones in the world! We love their casual Paola sneakers – inspired by the look of some of the first ever jogging trainers. This style combines different materials and textures to create an unique look on a light and flexible shoe that’s great for everyday use.
Price: $100 Gym friendly? They’re a bit too fancy for that, and not really made for workouts.
What’s better than a comfy, vegan slip-on? Maybe a comfy vegan slip-on made from recycled plastic bottles! Not only are Rothy’s vegan sneakers made from former plastic bottles, but their insoles are also created from recycled materials, and the rubber used in these shoes is recyclable and carbon-free. As for ethics, all of their vegan shoes are ethically made in their own factory with zero waste practices.
Price: Around $125 Gym friendly? Nope, these shoes were made for walkin’!
What do you get when you mix recycled plastic bottles, great design, and….coffee grounds? Rens sneakers, that’s what! These vegan sneakers use old java grounds not as a gimmick, but because coffee is naturally anti-microbial and odour resistant, which makes it perfect for shoes. These sneakers are also waterproof, quick-drying, and lightweight. What’s not to love?
Prices: From $89 Gym friendly? Not so much, though I’d wear these maybe for hiking or walking.
Plastic bottles, old tyres and fishing nets, cotton, hemp, linen and other natural materials are what EcoAlf make their vegan sneakers from. That’s the good news. The bad news? Not all of their shoes are vegan! But there’s more good news: all of EcoAlf’s shoes are ethically created, and the brand is fully committed to the social rights and protections of their workers, and even their suppliers’ workers, too.
Price: From around $65 to $145 Gym friendly? I’d say so!
13. Native Shoes
Native Shoes not only make vegan footwear, which is obviously great for animals, but their styles are also highly innovative, zero waste, 3D knitted constructions, made with recycled threads. We love these Mercury Hologram Shoes, which remind us of unicorns and Pride flags!
Price: Around $70 Gym friendly? Sure! Well, for elliptical trainers and walking on the treadmill, why not?
14. Puma Ultrasuede
Can you believe this style first debuted in 1968? But amazingly, Puma’s classic suede sneaker still looks slick – and it got a vegan makeover! Sure, they’re not a fully vegan brand, but the label is so committed to sustainability (they’re aiming to make 90% of everything they use totally sustainable by next year), we just had to include them.
Don’t be fooled by the word ‘suede’ here: the “Re-Suede” version is made of 100% recycled materials, and the outsole is derived from rice husks. Compared with virgin materials, the synthetic textiles used for the Ultrasuede reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by a whopping 80 percent, according to Puma.
Price: Around $70 Gym friendly? They’re pretty good for low-impact sports.
We just discovered this brand, and adore! Though they mainly do vertigo-inducing heels, NAK (which, by the way, stands for ‘no animals killed) also create sneakers, such as the Sarah model, below. It features blue faux suede and a unique white platform that gives a touch of style to the most casual outfits. Since this isn’t real leather, the ‘suede’ is totally waterproof, meaning this casually chic sneaker is perfect for sunny and rainy days!
Price: Around $250 Gym friendly? Nope, just fashion friendly
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