Sustainable sneakers are sneakers that have been designed, made, and distributed in a way that is environmentally friendly or conscious. From exciting statement sneakers made for an eye-catching moment, to staple sneakers for any occasion, or sneakers that are always sport-ready, these brands have you covered when it comes to making a sustainable difference with your footwear.
Here is our Edit of the Top 10 Sustainable Sneaker Brands you need to know about in 2021. Keep reading to find out which brands are tackling the environmental impacts of the fashion and sneaker industry, what they make, and why we love them.
The Top 10 Sustainable Sneaker Brands You Need To Know About In 2021
- 8000 Kicks
- Humans Are Vain
- Native Shoes
- New Movements
Known as the “sober cousin” of marijuana, Hemp is used by 8000 Kicks to make a material for their sneakers that is strong and flexible. The sneakers are vegan and eco-friendly, and the hemp grown requires less than a third of water than cotton. While no part of the plant is wasted, the sneakers also feature an algae bottom, to help remove harmful algae from marine habitats and prevent ‘eutrophication’.
8000 Kicks sustainable sneakers are available in a range of colour options. Whether you’re after that eco-look beige and green sneaker, a slick black and white sneaker, or a stylish navy blue sneaker. More colours are available in this minimalist but stylish sneaker design great for any occasion.
Committed to their local region, from design to production and manufacturing, everything BeFlamboyant does is by local expert hands in Galicia and Portugal. BeFlamboyant’s factory is SMETA approved (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit), which values health and security, the environment, and business ethics. Their sole factory is RCS certified (The Recycled Claim Standard) with the aim to increase recycled and eco-friendly materials. These materials meet the GRS (Global Recycling Standard) and a number of suppliers meet the GOTS standards (Global Organic Textile Standards) for textiles and raw materials.
Choose BeFlamboyant sneakers in a number of timeless silhouettes in a classic black leather low top sneaker, stylish peach vegan sneakers, or a chunky street white sneaker. Whatever your style, rest assured BeFlamboyant are taking care of your feet and the planet.
Focused on quality and comfort since 2001, Clae makes sneakers with clean lines and beautiful materials. The name Clae, born from the word ‘Clay’, ties the company to its roots in nature and noble materials. The sneakers are designed in Los Angeles, and have been hand-crafted in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam for more than 20 years. One third of their collection contains zero animal origin products. They work with Seaqual to come together for a clean ocean, ISATanTec to ensure eco-friendly leather, and Desserto to supply quality vegan leather made from cactus.
Shop Clae sustainable sneakers with classic designs for every day. Choose from Court Sneakers, Retro Runners Sneakers, or Slip On Sneakers. Minimalist Men’s sneakers are available in a variety of designs too, so no one misses out when it comes to sustainability.
Using Fairtrade-certified supply chains, Ethletic makes stylish, sustainable sneakers for everyday wear. Ethletic’s goal is to make sneakers in an environmentally friendly manner. Ethletic made the first ever trainer to be given the Fairtrade seal of approval for fairtrade organic cotton, 15% of the purchase price of the shoes produced goes to the Workers Welfare Society, Peta awarded Ethletic the vegan seal of approval in 2016, and now customers can send a tip straight to the seamstresses in Pakistan.
Choose from youthful high top sneaker designs full of colour, or a more sleek low top sneaker to wear whether dressing up or down. Either way, wear them while assured that Ethletic have made fair practise a priority at every step of the way.
Humans Are Vain
Born in 2019, premium Swedish brand fusing vegan materials with timeless design, Humans Are Vain, make sneakers from materials such as pineapple leaves and recycled plastic waste found in oceans. All their products can then be recycled at the end of their life, with an aim to become a carbon-neutral company. From ethical manufacturing in their Swedish and Portuguese factories, to Peta approved vegan products, Humans Are Vain take careful steps to promote sustainability at every step along the process.
Shop their timeless vegan sustainable sneakers on their website and choose from a classic chunky black and white sneaker, or a more colourful sneaker option. With each product you can see how much plastic and waste you can save from going to landfill.
Named out of love for their community and the place they call home, Native Shoes pledge to have every pair of shoes be 100% life-cycle-managed by 2023. They also accept worn out shoes, for recycling as part of their Native Shoes Remix™ Project. Native Shoes sneakers feature the minimal-waste knitting technology they’ve called Liteknit, knitted to the exact shape needed for the shoes, creating less excess fabric. Their Elastilite insole is made from a blend of reground EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) materials and conventional PU (polyurethane) which helps to keep materials out of landfill.
Based in Oslo, Norway and launched in 2018, New Movements design stylish sustainable sneakers to be worn every day. For every pair of footwear purchased, New Movements vow to clean up 2.5kg plastic from the ocean with their partner Empower. Their sustainable sneakers are handmade in Portugal, are free from toxic chemicals, and packaged in 100% recycled cardboard. Their shoe laces are also made from recycled plastic bottles; they renew 2 plastic bottles for each pair of laces. Their insoles are made of waste and natural fibres meaning every pair of sneakers helps to cut carbon emissions.
Available in a range of colours, the New Movements sustainable sneakers are stylish, versatile and comfortable. Choose from minimalist white sneakers, black with flecked-soles sneakers, or limited edition burgundy sneakers. Stylish while removing plastic from the ocean? What’s better than that?
VivoBarefoot was founded in 2012 by two seventh-generation cobblers, Galahad and Asher Clark. The brand is based on the simple insight that barefoot footwear is sustainable footwear. VivoBarefoot aims to put as little stuff as possible between your feet and the ground. As a B-Corp, VivoBarefoot is built to regenerate business for the good of the planet. VivoBarefoot uses Algae-based EVA foam to prevent algae blooms which can destroy marine ecosystems. Yarns are also made from recycled plastics to reduce virgin plastics in the production process. They also use Wild Hide leather from small cattle herds reared by independent smallholder farmers in Ethiopia and Thailand, as well as responsible wool and water-saving hemp.
Shop barefoot sneakers made for running, hiking, and casual wear from VivoBarefoot and choose from a sleek black sneaker to a misty rose exercise sneaker made for maximum comfort. Mens’ sneakers and kids’ sneakers are also available.
Founded in 2005, Veja makes sneakers with each stage of the process concerned with reducing environmental impact. Now sporting 25 designs, the sneaker brand guarantees financial security for their cotton suppliers in Brazil and Peru. Not only committed to fairtrade and organic cotton, Veja’s Parisian shop and e-shop is handled by ‘Atelier Sans Frontières’ (ASF) staff. ASF helps aid the professional integration of people into paid work with social support and career plans. It is also a B-Corporation which means they balance profit with purpose and follow guidelines regarding their impact on the environment.
With their recognisable but simple V design on the side, you can shop sustainable Veja sneakers in up to 25 different sneaker designs. Whether you’re after a subtle and stylish casual sneaker, brightly coloured running sneakers, or high top sneakers, Veja has something for everybody.
Born in 2018, Yatay is an Italian-made sneaker brand committed to green fashion technology. Yatay discovered a way to use ‘bio-polyols’ (polymers extracted from grains) to make a raw material for their sneakers, rather than the usual oil-based synthetic leathers. Yatay sneakers are PETA approved, the lining is made from tree pulp harvested from 100% sustainable plantations, and the soles include recycled rubber. For each pair bought, a new tree is planted. They even have a program which means you can swap in your old sneakers, which they’ll recycle, and receive a discount on a new pair.
Shop their bio-sneakers to choose from classic white low top sneakers, all black sleek sneaker designs, high top sneakers, and even fun colourful sneaker designs. All sustainable sneakers, made 100% vegan and cruelty free, using eco-friendly materials.
Sustainable sneakers for the future
It can include the sourcing of materials, fair worker treatment, as well as social welfare. It should also include the way the sneakers or materials can be returned to nature after use or during production.
With the increase in sustainable fashion brands, we know that the fashion industry has made steps to be more environmentally conscious. Many of the components required in making sneakers can have negative environmental impacts, from the raw materials to the production process itself. These sustainable sneaker brands prove that with the proper research and care, these impacts can be made sustainable without the loss of quality.
Whether you’re looking to update your sneaker collection or learn a little more about what brands can do to reduce their negative impacts, these 10 sustainable sneaker brands are our top picks for the best place to start.