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 some of the best ethically made, sustainable vegan sneaker brands that you an wear with just about anything!
20 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.
This is undoubtedly the best of all the vegan sneaker brands for making a fashion statement! Wear yours to work with a dress, or with some coloured denim to really stand out.
Price: $685 Gym friendly? No way!
‘Ontems’, as I like to call them, is quickly becoming the vegan sneaker favourite, 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. And no matter where you live, you can grab a pair for yourself! 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!
This brand makes super-comfy vegan sneakers from recycled plastic bottles. But that’s not the only way they’re ethical! This brand donates 10% of their profits to two great charities: Girls in Tech & Oceana.
Their styles range from proper running shoes to the type of sneakers you’d just wear to walk around in jeans with.
Price: Around $150 Gym friendly? Yes! But it depends on the style you choose.
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.
Price: Around $125 Gym friendly? Well…depends on what you’re doing in there! Perfect for weight lifting or using stationary bikes, for example.
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 $60 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 unisex Oak lace up 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 most of them are unisex, too!
Price: $90 Gym friendly? Not really…but they look cool with jeans or shorts!
Our favourite vegan brand is well known for making slip on shoes from recycled plastic bottles. And now, they’ve expanded their range to include lace-up trainers! We love that they come in an array of pastel shades, and that they’re so damn comfy!
That’s mainly due to the fact that these shoes feature a two-part footbed, designed for supportive structure and cloud-like comfort. A plush, cushy collar hugs your ankle while a soft terry-lined tongue provides adjustability and a sock-like feel. Nice, right?
Price: $165 Gym friendly? Well again – it kind of depends on what you wanna do in there. Weights and machines? Probably fine. Running? Not so much.
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. This is definitely one of the best vegan sneaker brands for innovation. What’s not to love?
Image: @meeshuno Instagram
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, at least – 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!
12. Native Shoes
Native Shoes make vegan footwear, which is obviously great for animals. But this brand is super green, too! All of their styles are highly innovative, using zero waste, 3D knitted construction techniques, and their shoes are made with recycled threads, too.
Price: Around $70 Gym friendly? Sure! Well, for elliptical trainers and walking on the treadmill, why not?
13. 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 we 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 (as seen on the woman), 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
15. Saola Shoes
I bet ‘algae’ isn’t the first material that comes to mind with regards to vegan sneaker brands, but it’s 2020 and the world is a wondrous place! Saola Shoes have partnered with the team over at Bloom Foam, who remove harmful algae from the water.
They put it through a process that dries, crushes and converts it into a powder. The algae powder is then mixed with a synthetic material to create algae foam, which is then used for the soles of these stylish sneakers.
How cool is that?
Price: Around $80-110 Gym friendly? Nope, but they’re super versatile and easy to wear with everything.
Jorge and Tatiana are the young Spanish entrepreneurs who are taking steps towards bridging the gap between fashion and sustainability. The eco-friendly brand focuses on the attention to detail, ensuring every part of the sneaker is designed to last. Thanks to the classic colours chosen, the timelessness of the shapes, alongside the quality materials selected, these shoes should be in your wardrobe for years to come!
Price: Around $120 Gym friendly? No, but they look great with jeans or dressed up with a jacket.
17. Sydney Brown
The much-loved vegan shoemaker also does some pretty hot pairs of trainers, too! Our fave would be this pair below, made of fennel fibres, but the brand also creates other styles that are made from organic cotton, cork and recycled plastic bottles.
Price: Prices start at $70 Gym friendly? No, but really comfy for walking!
18. HYLO Athletics
With the fashion industry being responsible for 20% of the world’s carbon footprint, a radical change was needed. Thanks to sustainable brand HYLO, that change is happening now! Their HYLO Running V1 is a revolutionary, high-performing trainer with an unrivalled dedication to sustainability.
And what’s more: the brand is backed by conscious professional athletes who know how important a shoe is to their performance!
Price: Priced at £100 Gym friendly? Yep! They may focus on running, but Hylo are an all-purpose shoe, great for the gym, too!
19. Save The Duck
Save The Duck is known for its collaborations with like-minded companies, all uniting to make create fashions that make our planet a better place. For example, this season, Save The Duck is joining forces with ACBC, an innovative brand who are changing the fashion and sportswear industry by reducing waste and pollution.
Save The Duck’s first sneaker was designed for the modern-day wearer. For those who are constantly on the move, whether they’re a globetrotter or simply navigating a bustling city and urban lifestyles in this modern world. Knowing that our planet deserves sustainable sneakers that can be used each and every day, the sneakers are made from eco-leather and recycled materials.
Price: Prices start at $70 Gym friendly? No, but they’re a must-have for anyone living in a bustling city.
We love a sneaker that is comfy enough to wear to work, and chic enough to style up or down for drinks at the bar afterwards. If you’re looking for that sneaker, your wardrobe is in need of a pair of Tretorn trainers.
Though not all their models are vegan (why, why?!), their Nylite3Bold model, shown below, is designed with an environmentally friendly EcoOrtholite high performance upper and a natural rubber platform outsole.
Psst! My personal favourite part? They have a zero break-in period, meaning they’re comfortable from the first time you wear them. Result!
Price: Prices start at £158 Gym friendly? No, but perfect for adding support if on your feet for long periods.
Main and second images: Sydney Brown. All other images courtesy of the brands
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