When you buy through our links, we may earn fees from our affiliate partners. Learn more.
If you’re committed to a cruelty-free lifestyle and seeking a cool pair of kicks that are free from animal byproduct and are planet-friendly we’ve got you covered. Whatever your style preferences, tastes and budget, we hope this list helps you discover your perfect pair of eco-friendly vegan sneakers – whether you’re working from home, needing a pair for travel adventures or just need some dope footwear for your street style.
For fair-trade, sustainable vegan sneakers for both men and women, award-winning German brand ethletic has what you’re after. The brand uses organic cotton that is Fairtrade and GOTS certified and the sneakers are ethically produced in Pakistan by workers who are paid a living wage. For each pair of sneakers sold, one US dollar is paid as a premium to the Talon Fair Trade Workers Welfare Society. We should point out, ethletic is a pioneering ethical footwear brand, becoming the first sneaker brand to be certified and marketed with the Fairtrade quality seal.
Sustainable outdoor shoe brand Vivobarefoot specialises in producing ergonomic barefoot-style shoes for men and women that follows the form of the foot and provides maximum comfort and performance. The brand’s use of innovative materials such as algae biomass and recycled plastic from bottles enables it to produce some of the most sustainable, vegan sneakers and footwear on the market. Our pick is the lightweight, flexible PRIMUS LITE II made from recycled plastics; they are a stylish and functional ethically-made vegan sneakers ideal for outdoor activities such as gym sessions, on-foot sightseeing and hiking.
American sustainable footwear brand Saola produces a stylish range of casual shoes and sneakers for both men and women. All of its footwear is 100% vegan, made with eco-friendly materials such as recycled plastic bottle uppers, cork insoles, recycled Algae Foam, and organic cotton laces. Saola is also a member of 1% for the Planet and commits one percent of its annual sales to environmental causes; specifically donating to Mwalua Wildlife Trust, a Kenyan charity that supplies sustainable water systems to wildlife communities.
Founded by Blake Mycoskie, TOMS one-for-one business model put the American shoe brand on the map. TOMS produces an affordable range of shoes for men and women, including a lightweight, classic vegan sneaker style made from canvas upper and rubber outsole. A certified B Corporation, this is a business that meets high standards of social and environmental performance and transparency.
Launched last November, shoe retailer Thousand Fell produces full circle, recyclable vegan-friendly footwear for men and women designed to never go to landfill. With a focus on circular fashion and closing the loop by recycling all materials at the end of life thanks to partnerships with TerraCycle and United Parcel Service, this may just be the most environmentally-conscious vegan sneaker brand in the world. To incentivise customers to recycle their shoes, the brand offers $20 which is paid upon receipt of the old or worn shoes.
Designed in New York City, the shoes are responsibly made in Brazil using plant-based and recycled materials such as aloe vera, natural and recycled rubber, recycled plastic (upcycled from plastic bottles) and palm leaf fibres. Thousand Fell footwear are crafted in a family owned factory with 30 years of high end shoe-making experience and meets high standards of ethical production. The brand offers a range of lace-up sneakers and slip-on footwear.
Reebok has just launched its first ever 100% sustainable cruelty-free running shoe the ‘Forever Floatride Grow‘ on the back of its debut [REE]cycled sustainable collection of trainers featuring recycled and repurposed materials. This elite plant-based running shoe features eco-friendly attributes: a midsole crafted from sustainably grown castor beans, an upper made from sustainably sourced eucalyptus trees, natural rubber outsole and a sock liner utilising sustainably-harvested BLOOM algae foam. Forever Floatride is available in a variety of colours including black, white and neutral, and in men’s and women’s sizes.
French footwear and accessories brand Veja is the darling of the sustainable sneaker industry. Since 2005 it has been responsibly producing its iconic V-branded sneakers in South Brazil under fair-trade conditions, using sustainable materials such as organic cotton, recycled cotton, recycled plastic. locally-sourced vegetable tanned leather from tanneries audited and certified by Leather Working Group and wild rubber sustainably sourced from the Amazonian forest. Not all of Veja’s sneakers are vegan though so if you’re browsing its website, make sure to specifically search the vegan category.
Award-winning Australian pioneer in ethical footwear and apparel Etiko produces GOTS-certified organic and fair-trade certified low-cut and high-top vegan sneakers for men and women. Think ethical alternative to the iconic brand Converse and you get the gist of the brand’s shoe offerings. Every aspect of Etiko’s business that has been considered, from biodegradable packaging, transparent supply chain, relevant ethical certifications, and it has even scored highly in fashion ratings app Good on You and in the annual Ethical Fashion Report by Baptist World Aid.
Designed in Galicia, Spain, these fairtrade, unisex vegan sneakers are handcrafted in Felgueiras, Portugal by skilled artisans. Carrying the PETA seal of approval, Beflamboyant vegan sneakers consider the welfare of animals, people and environment. Made from high quality microfiber, recycled cottons, recycled PU insole and manufactured with zero carbon emissions, these vegan kicks are as cruelty-free as they are planet-friendly. The timeless design means you’ll always be on trend- no matter the season or year.
After a successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year, Croatian eco-friendly sneaker brand MIRET was able to launch its business. In its product mix, the brand offered vegan-friendly sneaker options, ‘Hempies’ and ‘Veggies’.
The Hempies are made from European-grown chemical-free hemp and its Veggies range are made from a high quality, biodegradable vegan textile that carries a Cradle to Cradle™ certification. The MIRET outsole contains 100% natural latex harvested from rubber trees and the insole is made of cork. The sneakers are ethically manufactured in Croatia.
Previously known as Purple Impression, fairtrade brand AKS launched its line of eco-friendly vegan sneakers last year. Made from organic cotton and sustainably harvested natural rubber, the unique embroidered designs and vibrant colours is what makes this vegan sneaker label stand out from the rest.
The brand’s Instagram tagline “building artisan communities, one sneaker at a time” is in reference to empowering its female artisans in Pakistan, helping to revive the traditional art of embroidery and preserve the skills for future generations. As each shoe is handmade, each pair is unique and it’s this human touch that makes them much more valuable; slow fashion embraces humanity; fast fashion, not so much.
Disclosure: Details are correct at time of publishing. Opinions are that of the writer’s. This curated list does not fully take into account all the ethical considerations that are unique to each individual. Before making a purchase, we encourage you to do your own research paying particular attention to the supply chain and your own particular set of ethics. You can also check out online tools and apps that provide product reviews and brand ratings here. Click here to read more about our policies. Cover image via Saola.