Vegan-ism and footwear might not seem to be connected on the exterior. However, a multitude of animal-based products are used in the production of sneakers and shoes. Obviously, animal-derived materials such as leather and suede are used to create different features and components of a sneaker, such as the upper body and sole.
However, less obvious components such as animal-based glues and dies, in addition to toxic chemicals used during the manufacturing process and are tested on animals to determine their toxicity.
Alternatively, vegan sneakers do not include any animal-based products in the creation of the shoe. Thus, no living creature is harmed during the production. Following our lists on the best vegan clothing brands and vegan leather bags, below we have provided a comprehensive list on the best vegan sneakers.
The 20 best vegan sneaker brands by category
Vegan Running Sneakers
As you will soon discover, we really love Veja sneakers. Veja, based in France, has been a pioneer in sustainable design for almost 20 years. They have a mission to create shoes that are stylish while also being environmentally friendly and socially responsible.
Materials: Stylistically influenced by New Balance, the Veja Nautico have an iconic running shoe design. The shoe side body sections is made out of vegan suede, while the B-Mesh upper body is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, with a recycled polyester insole made out of wild Amazonian rubber and other synthetic materials.
Does the company sell all vegan products? No, while Veja has a large and growing vegan selection, they also carry non-vegan products.
Certifications: Veja is a Certified B Corporation to verify the company’s social and environmental impact, and uses Fairtrade certified organic cotton.
Labor Practices: In addition to awesome sneaker design, Veja stands out in terms of it labor policies. The company verifies that it pays its employees a living wage. Veja also buys materials directly from farmers in Brazil and Peru, and signs one year contracts at a pre-negotiated price. This allows producers to be guaranteed of a fixed price. Veja’s warehouses are located in Brazil and inspected regularly by the company.
EKN footwear evokes the style of classic 1990s basketball sneakers, such as Nike Air Jordan. Handcrafted in Portugal, EKN was founded on the ethos that footwear should be grounded in high-quality, organic materials free of harmful chemicals or dyes.
Materials: EKN footwear is made from materials like recycled faux leather and neoprene for the exterior body, with recycled neoprene and mesh used to create a removable insole.
Does the company sell all vegan products? No, while they have a big line of vegan shoes, they also carry non-vegan products.
Certifications: EKN is a member of the FairCommerce Initiative.
Labor Practices: The company employs Fair Trade work standards, is a member of FairCommerce. EKN manufactures its products in Portugal and verifies that it pays its employees a living wage.
Germany-based Lunge are specialists in ergonomic, environmentally friendly, handcrafted running shoes.
Materials: The Lunge Neo Runs are 100% vegan and made without the use of toxic chemicals or dies. Their products follow Öko-Tex Standard 100 specifications to verify that products are free of toxins and harmful pollutants. Öko-Tex is the preeminent tester of toxic chemicals in textiles and fabrics.
Certifications: Lunge products are made with REACH and Öko-Tex certified materials.
Does the company sell all vegan products? Yes, Lunge sneakers are 100% vegan.
Labor Practices: The company also sources and produces the majority of shoe materials from Germany, ensuring its supply chain and labor practices are ecologically sensible and socially responsible.
8000Kicks is at the forefront of cannabis hemp textile technology. The Explorer V2 vegan sneaker is the first design they ever created. The aerodynamic, form-fitting design reminds us a bit of Nike Fly Knit running sneakers.
Materials: The sneaker upper body exterior is make from hemp fibers, the bottom sole from algae BLOOM foam. As stated on the 8000Kicks website, an easy way to remember this is “Weed upper, algae bottom”. Some of the most appealing characteristics of the construction is durability, water resistance and inherent anti-bacterial properties. Hemp naturally repels moisture, is anti-microbial and is one of the strongest fibers in nature.
Does the company sell all vegan products? Yes, 8000Kicks shoes are all made from hemp.
Labor Practices: 8000Kicks doesn’t provide much information about their labor and supply chain practices. However, they do emphasize their priority on sourcing the world’s most premium hemp. They have partnered with factories in China and Portugal, known for preeminent standards in hemp quality.
Colorado-based Lems are experts in creating footwear that can handle the most extreme of terrains. Their ethos in shoe design focuses on ensuring toes have plenty of space for comfortable movement and spread. They also have a number of zero-drop heel options to encourage healthy posture.
Materials: The Mesa line of vegan sneakers are lightweight, flexible, created from ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) , treaded rubber and knit fabric. EVA foam provides superior support and assists your spine and tailbone in staying in the correct ergonomic position while running and hiking.
Does the company sell all vegan products? Lems is not 100% vegan, however they use vegan materials as much as possible and are constantly increasing their number of vegan styles.
Labor practices: Sustainability and best practices in terms of fair trade labor are top priorities for Lems.
Merrell shoes, sneakers and hiking boots have been at the forefront of shoe technology for decades.
Materials: The Siren Edge 3 vegan sneakers are constructed with a mesh TPU upper, Kinetic Fit™ TRI removable contoured insole and a molded nylon arch support.
Does the company sell all vegan products? No, Merrell also sells leather and suede based products.
Labor practices: Merrell strives to keep a balance between its business practices, environmental standards and workforce ethics. According to their corporate sustainability code, Merrell only sources materials from vendors that comply with international labor standards and provide safe, equitable working conditions. They have a public code of conduct that they require all vendors to follow.
Adidas has teamed up with environmental group Parley to clean the oceans, including removing thousands of pounds of plastic bottles. These fashionable, durable and sustainable running shoes are also created using an eco-friendly low energy and low water usage process.
Materials: The collaboration of the two companies has resulted in the creation of “Primeblue”, a high-performance recycled fabric derived of up-cycled plastic waste from remote islands, beaches, and coastal communities. They have also created targets to reduce their carbon emissions, made progress in removing toxic chemicals from their products,
Does the company sell all vegan products? No. Adidas does prohibit the use of exotic animal skins such as angora and cashmere, they still allow the use of leather and wool.
Labor practices: Adidas is the 2nd largest athletic footwear company in the world, behind Nike. That said, they are miles ahead in terms sustainable fair trade practices when compared to other fashion companies of their size. According to the 2018 Australian Fashion Report, they have an A- rating in terms of workplace safety and workers earning a living wage.
However, Adidas is still a “fast fashion” company and still falls short of many fair trade labor goals in terms of workplace safety and worker compensation. For example, the company still has a long way to go in terms of what they pay their supply chain employees, as compared to what they pay sport stars for product sponsorships.
Veja’s SDU RT B-Mesh is an adaption of the popular Santos-Dumont style. Santos-Dumont was a Brazilian inventor and aviation pioneer who created the technology behind “lighter than air” aircraft technology. The SDU TR vegan sneaker’s durable, yet lightweight design, propels the wearer through time and space. Veja’s SDU RT is a synthesis of high-quality design and sustainable innovation.
Materials: The shoe’s mesh architecture is constructed from 3-4 recycled plastic bottles per pair to create a light-weight structure that is breathable and water-proof. The interior shoe lining is crafted from reused polyester fabric and the outsole is derived of 25% wild Amazonian rubber.
Certifications: Veja is a Certified B Corporation to verify the company’s social and environmental impact, and uses Fairtrade certified organic cotton.
Does the company sell all vegan products? No
Labor practices: Veja is Fair Trade Certified, pays a living wage to employees, and maintains safe work environments.
Vegan Low Top Sneakers
Adidas’ iconic “Samba” classic shoe made its debut more than 50 years ago. The sneaker was originally developed for football (otherwise known as soccer in the US) players to train on frozen outdoor fields. The company has reinvented the timeless style into a sustainable version that is 100% vegan.
Materials: The vegan shoe is made from PU-coated recycled polyester upper.
Does the company sell all vegan products? No, while Adidas’ vegan shoe line is expanding, the majority of their products are non-vegan.
Labor Practices: Adidas has made progress in settings specific sustainability goals and paying its workers comparatively more than other large fashion companies. However, it is still very much a “Fast Fashion” company that needs to make significant improvement in what it pays supply chain employees and the standard of workplace safety required in its warehouses.
Saola’s primary mission is to divert trash from landfills. They achieve this goal by utilizing 3-4 plastic bottles to create each pair of sneakers, in addition to repurposing recycled knit and organic materials.
Materials: The sneaker upper body is comprised of “Gold Standard Certified” PET recycled water bottles and recycled canvas knit. This composition makes the shoes even more water-resistant and antibacterial. The bottom sole is made from cork, and BLOOM algae froth, a rubber substitute. The shoe laces are made with soft organic cotton.
Does the company sell all vegan products? Yes, all of Saola’s products are made from recycled synthetic and organic materials.
Labor Practices: Saola is a young company, and still relies on production based in China. That said, one of the company founders re-located to China to oversee the warehouses and labor conditions. In addition, the company gives back to endangered wildlife by contributing 1% of profits to the Mwalua Wildlife Trust.
Good Guys sneakers will get you noticed. Based in France, Good Guys has been innovating vegan sneaker fashion since 2010. The low-top Samo are one of the company’s most popular styles. Good Guys is 100% cruelty-free, and holds fair trade labor practices as a top priority. The company creates cool street footwear, is 100% cruelty-free, and holds fair trade labor practices as a top priority.
Materials: Synthetic leather for the upper body, brown rubber outer sole.
Does the company sell all vegan products? Yes, all products are 100% vegan.
Labor practices: GGDQL product in Portugal following fair-trade workspace safety codes of compliance.
Leaders in orthotic Pinetex footwear design, Vegetarian Shoes retro, lace-up sneaker is reminiscent of 1980s era Pumas.
Materials: The rubber sole has superior traction and the interior padding is cushiony yet breathable.
Does the company sell all vegan products? Yes, Vegetarian Shoes only uses plant-based and synthetic materials to create their shoes.
Labor Practices: Vegetarian Shoes produces its shoes in the European Community in warehouses that follow strict safety compliance and pay workers a living wage.
Vegan Slip On Sneakers
Saola’s are one of the rarest mammals on Earth. They look like antelopes, but are related to cattle.
Saola, the vegan sneaker company, are experts of sustainable shoe architecture. Their innovative design techniques enable their shoes to be flexible, lightweight and well-ventilated.
The “Mindo Navy” are one of our favorite vegan sneakers because they are slip-on and can be worn with or without socks.
Materials: The upper body is comprised of 90% recycled PET, mesh linings and the bottom sole from BLOOM algae foam. The insoles are removable and can be modified according to your unique orthotic requirements.
Does the company sell all vegan products? Yes, Saola products are 100% vegan.
Labor practices: Saola relies on manufacturing and production based in China. One of the company founders re-located to China to personally oversee the warehouse and labor conditions.
Vegan High Top Sneakers
Australia-based Etiko talks the talk and walks the walk. The company creates a wide range of vegan clothing and vegan sneakers and are passionate about their commitment to cruelty-free products, environmental sustainability and equitable labor practices. On top of all this, Etiko also has a sneaker recycling program! Send them your discarded sneaks to be re-purposed into a new fabulous pair.
Etiko’s Vegan Hi-top sneaker is based on the Converse’s legendary “Chuck Taylors” of the past.
Materials: The sneakers are made of natural latex rubber from a rubber tree, organic cotton canvas and does not contain animal glues or toxic dyes. The Organic Cotton canvas and laces are hand stitched by Certified Fairtrade employees.
Certifications: Etiko uses GOTS certified organic, fairtrade cotton and is certified with Fair Trade USA and the international system.
Does the company sell all vegan products? Yes, all of Etiko’s products are vegan.
Labor Practices: The company promotes equitable labor practices and is Fair Trade Certified. EKN works to ensure its entire supply chain receives a living wage and safe workplace environment. Their packaging is also biodegradable and made of post consumer waste.
Designed like a classic love song, Straye’s high-top sneaker pays tribute to 80s style skater fashion. The company sells a large selection of skater gear, including shoes, apparel and accessories. The company also sponsors a professional team of skateboarders.
Materials: The upper body is made from heavy gauge canvas fabric, ultra-grip rubber for the lower sole, and the company’s trademarked AcidDrop® Removable Insoles.
Does the company sell all vegan products? No, Straye has a large line of vegan products, but also carries leather and suede.
Veja’s success in vegan footwear proves that sustainability can be ecologically, socially and materially lucrative.
Materials: Organic cotton, fair trade wild rubber, and vegan leather made from corn and polyurethane.
Does the company sell all vegan products? No, Veja also carries non-vegan products.
Labor practices: Veja is Fair Trade Certified, pays a living wage, maintains safe production environments.
Canada-based Native shoes are leading the footwear industry in creating sustainable, eco-friendly, fashion forward shoes, sneakers and boots. Their Nova HydroKnit is one of the first waterproof vegan sneakers on the market.
Materials: Crafted from 50% recycled PET Yarn, stain resistant knit on the upper body and a waterproof lower body, the shoes are lightweight and push the boundaries of footwear technology. Most of Native’s products are created from microfiber vegan leather, so the HydroKnit are a standout in comparison with other shoes in their line.
Does the company sell all vegan products? Yes, Native is PETA certified and only creates vegan shoes.
Labor Practices: Native produces their shoes in high-risk countries in terms of workplace safety and compliance. Their warehouses are based in China and Vietnam. They do claim to enforce stringent safety policies and regularly visit the factories to monitor conditions.
Good Guys’ black faux leather sneakers are sleek, minimalist, yet provocative.
Materials: Artificial leather for the upper body, black rubber lower sole.
Does the company sell all vegan products? Yes, all Good Guys shoes are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Labor practices: GGDQL manufactures product in Portugal, following fair-trade safety codes of compliance.
POZU synthesizes sustainability and pop-culture in their organic cotton High-top Sneaker, featuring the Star Wars Rebel Alliance emblem.
Materials: The sneakers ensure maximum comfort and orthotic support through the company’s signature Foot-Mattress™. The removable insole is made from natural latex foam and coconut fiber. The lower outsole rubber is sourced via Fair Trade organizations, ensuring quality and sustainability.
Does the company sell all vegan products? Yes, POZU is 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Labor Practices: POZU is rated 5 / 5 stars by the Good Shopping Guide, an organization that evaluates how fashion companies treat their employees and comply with international safety standards.