Born as fitness shoes the sneakers are now a staple in most people’s wardrobe. Their rise from gyms and sports fields relegated footwear to must-have item is so specular and so deeply connected to our history and culture that in 2015 the Brooklyn Museum hosted an exhibition all about these iconic shoes and their story called “The Rise of Sneaker Culture”. Since that year sneakers have become even trendier, thanks also to the popularity of the athleisure trend. If you are in the market for a great pair of sneakers, but you also want to support a conscious brand, buying from one of the most famous sneakers brand is not a great idea. Many of these companies use unsustainable materials and aren’t committed to ethical manufacturing. Luckily for green casual-wear lovers there are many environmentally-conscious shoe brands that design and make pieces that aren’t only high-quality and beautiful but also eco-friendly. Here we have rounded up the coolest vegan and sustainable sneakers.
Is it possible to convert trash into stylish sneakers? Yes, it is and that’s what these two companies managed to do. Their unisex trainers are made in Spain with 100% recycled and high quality components. The footbed is made from recycled PU, the laces are made with recycled PET and the outsoles are made with recycled fishing nets. Needless to say these amazing sneakers are vegan, so much so that they are even PETA Approved. Canussa cares about the environment, that’s why they partnered with One Tree Planted to plant a tree for every Canussa sold.
This French sneakers brand was founded in 2004. Over the years it became more and more famous for their icon and sustainable sneakers with a “v” on the side. So much so that they sold 3,5 million pairs of shoes and even celebrities such as Meghan Markle, Katie Holmes, Emily Ratajkowski and Reese Whiterspoon have been spotted wearing them. This sustainable brands uses materials like organic cotton made by farmer associations in Brazil and Peru, and Amazonian rubber that they get from local families of seringueiro (Brazilian rubber gathers) whose product Veja pays more than double the market price. They offer a line of vegan sneakers that come in a variety of shapes and colours: some are more traditional and others like their Condor Mesh Light Grey Black are much more unique.
The shoes offered by this Brazilian footwear brand are high quality, elegant and comfortable. This brand, founded in 2013 by Gabriel Silva, uses animal-free materials like vegan leather and cork. Thanks to their commitment to avoid using materials of animal origin Ahimsa is PETA-approved. Since 2014 their shoes are handmade in Brazil by a small team of talented makers in Ahimsa’s own factory, which is 100% vegan. They offer a variety of great sneakers like their Andy, a light and versatile unisex pair of shoes, and their Tom, which are inspired by hiking boots.
Womsh, an Italian shoe company founded in 2014, uses Apple Skin, a material made of 50% apple fibre and 50% PU, to make the sneakers from their vegan line, which like the rest of their products is 100% Made in Italy. Gianni Dalla Mora, the founder of this company and a footwear industry veteran, decided to create a cruelty-free line when his daughter Francesca told him that she couldn't wear his sneakers because they were made of leather. Their vegan shoes are waterproof, breathable, comfortable and of course eco-friendly. Their packing is made of 100% recycled cardboard and lined with paper made from corn processing waste. In order to offset the CO2 produced during the life cycle of their shoes, during the course of 5 years, they have helped Lifegate create and protect over 11,000 square metres of forest per year. Their Wave sneakers are ideal for green city-dwellers with their recycled PET laces and recyclable rubber soles.
They make unisex sneakers that are not only cool and comfortable but also vegan and sustainable. This brand, who won the 2020 Eluxe Award for Best up and Coming Ethical Brand, has their shoes made by Jovan Shoes, a family company that makes handmade shoes in Felgueiras, a city in northern Portugal. Jorge and Tatiana, the two young Spanish entrepreneurs who founded this business, selected high-quality vegan and sustainable materials from Spanish and Portuguese suppliers for their sneakers. Their shoes are CO2 emissions free, chromium VI free and have recycled insoles. This Peta-approved business plants a tree in California for each pair of shoes they sell thanks to their collaboration with the One Tree Planted organization. Their gorgeous shoes come in variety of charming colours, you will surely find one to your likings!
Javier Goyeneche, President and Founder of this company, came up with the brand’s concept in 2009 after the birth of his son Alfredo, when he started reflecting on what kind of world the next generation will receive from the older ones. Since then this brand has won a ton of awards like the Gold Medal of the Red Cross in 2018 and Traveler Sostenible & Eco of Condé Nast Traveler in 2019. Their monobrand stores can be found in many Europeans big cities like Madrid, Berlin, Barcelona and Amsterdam. To make their items they use sustainable materials such as recycled nylon, recycled cotton and recycled tyres. They offer many great vegan sneakers like their “Monster”, women’s lace-up trainers made of polyester derived from recycled plastic bottles and sorona, a sustainable material that is Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified.
Nae (No Animal Explotation) is a shoe brand from Portugal that offers great vegan footwear that is made with sustainable and animal free materials such as Piñatex, organic cotton, cork and recycled PET. They produce their stylish shoes in Portugal in fair work environments and sell them in their online shop and physical stores. Among the many cool shoes they make there are quite a few stylish sneakers, like their Veka Neocork, women's vegan slip on sneakers made with natural cork and recycled neoprene, and their Edda, eco-friendly low-top oxford sneakers.