Finding a stylish pair of vegan sneakers isn’t always easy, and that’s why we complied a list of our favorites for you! You might be asking ‘what are vegan sneakers made of?’ or ‘are vegan shoes even durable’? We’re about to answer all of your questions. Weather you are looking for casual everyday vegan sneakers, running shoes, or even sneakers for skateboarding, you will find the perfect pair right here.
How do I know if my shoes are vegan?
Reading the label inside of your shoes is the easiest way to determine if they are vegan. If the tag reads ‘made with 100% synthetic materials’ it’s likely you have a vegan sneaker. However, be aware that some brands use animal-based glues that are not listed in the shoe materials. Look for shoe brands that advertise as specifically vegan for your best chance of finding a totally animal-free shoe.
Do vegan shoes last?
The short answer is yes! In fact some of the materials used in vegan shoes last longer than shoes made with animal products such as leather or wool. New material technologies are constantly evolving. Vegan shoes are becoming more and more durable as the demand for leather alternatives continues to grow.
What are vegan sneakers made of?
Most vegan leather is made from PU (polyurethane), which is a kind of plastic material that is attached to a cotton backing. Some argue that these materials are harmful to the environment, and they are, but the research is mixed. It’s been argued that the impact of animal leather production on the environment far exceeds that of the production of polyurethane.
Many brands such as Adidas, Vivo Barefoot, and Nike have introduced vegan sneakers entirely made of recycled plastics. Adidas Parley line is made from plastics found in the ocean. It’s a small step to reducing plastic waste from the planet but the idea seems to be catching on. Not only that, these shoes made from recycled plastic actually look great. We have several of these vegan sneakers listed in our guide below.
If you want to avoid plastics all together, you’re in luck! Brands like Wills Vegan Shoes and Native Shoes now offer a vegan sneaker that is completely compostable. They are made from materials like organic cotton, cork, euctalyptus, jute thread, and pineapple husk just to name a few. However, many brands use a mix of synthetic materials and natural plant materials.
Casual Vegan Sneakers
Let’s begin with the basics. The sneakers you wear day in and day out. These vegan sneakers are going to be the staples of your wardrobe. Many of the brands in our guide are 100% vegan companies, meaning they have several different lines and hundreds of vegan sneakers to choose from. Other brands only offer a small selection of vegan shoes. Be sure to check out their websites to find even more vegan-friendly shoes!
Veja | Nova High Top
Veja offers a full line of vegan sneakers in several different styles and tasteful colorways. The high-top upper is made from organic cotton. The sole is made from wild rubber and various synthetic materials. Materials in other designs include a vegan suede and coated canvas.
We love BC shoes because ALL of their footwear is totally vegan and PETA approved! They only have a few true sneaker styles, however, the Support Sneaker comes in several different colors. Check out their line of sandals and boots as well!
Another all-vegan company we love is Native. They’re based in Canada and they have a ton of great vegan winter boots. They also have a line of low profile sneakers, sandals, and trainers. Our favorite is this simple Miles slip on made with EVA foam. They’re super lightweight, washable, and the perforated design allows for maximum airflow. The materials are also bacteria prohibiting, meaning these shoes won’t stink even after a long day outside.
Keep shoe’s entire line is vegan and we love the Romos Ad-Rock shoe designed by Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz. This is the perfect winter sneaker. The Ad-Rock is made from a water-resistant nylon cordura and is lined with a synthetic shearing. The ankle is even stuffed with a synthetic down. Keep is a woman-owned business with high ethical standards. Proceeds from this shoe are donated to Planned-Parenthood.
The LDN Biodegradable sneakers from Will’s Vegan Shoes take sustainability to the next level. The upper is made of a Tencel knit weave and the stitching is made from sustainably sourced wood. The toe is made of compressed cardboard and the soles are made of natural latex. They are delivered up in zero waste packaging and they’re fully carbon neutral. Awesome.
Ahimsa | Vegan Leather Sneaker
Each pair of Ahimsa shoes are totally vegan. They have several vegan sneaker styles but we love these simple sneakers. The exterior is made from a high-quality vegan leather while the inside is made of a cotton and cork combination. The materials are designed to keep feet dry and fresh.
Vegan Running Shoes
There are a TON of vegan athletic shoes out on the market today simply because synthetics seem to be the material of choice when it comes to athletic gear. It’s easy to look at a shoe and think it’s vegan, only to find out later on that it has traces of leather or wool. We’ve listed our favorite styles from brands that have introduced vegan specific shoe lines. If you’re looking for vegan running shoes with performance, we’ve got you covered!
The Ultra Boost by Adidas is a vegan running shoe made from recycled plastics found in the ocean. The upper is made from a knitted patter which holds your foot nice and snug while running. They also have a vegan hiking shoe made from the recycled plastic.
The Jazz low pro is Saucony’s vegan running shoe. The upper is made of canvas and hemp. An EVA midsole provides a shock absorbing feature that is great for those running long distances. The style of this vegan shoe is also very casual, so you can really wear this anywhere. The Jazz low pro comes in both women’s and Men’s.
Xero | HFS Running Shoe
Barefoot shoes seem to be all the rage lately. Xero has a full line of minimalist shoes that are made with vegan-friendly materials. Not only do they make a vegan running shoe, they also have a line of vegan hiking boots! Xero shoes are known to be super comfortable and durable.
All of Topo Athletic’s shoes are vegan! They have many styles specific to different types of terrain and running conditions. They even made our best vegan hiking boots guide for 2020. The Terraventure 2 is one of our favorite designs. There are so many features in this running shoe but we love that it has a Vibram sole and a rock protection plate built-in.
This vegan barefoot trail running shoe is made from recycled plastics and bio-based materials. They are made for super rugged terrain so they are built to last! We think they are one of the more stylish barefoot running shoes out there.
The Nike Flex 2020 is a vegan running shoe made with a synthetic leather and textile upper. This shoe is ideal for short morning runs. Nike has several running shoes that are vegan, although you do have to dive into the material description to make sure. They don’t actively advertise that their shoes are vegan but we think they should!
Vegan Skate Shoes
Yes, even skaters need vegan options when it comes to performance footwear! Many skate brands have recognized the trend of many athletes (including skaters) going vegan. Not just in their diets but in everything they purchase. Many skate brands like Etnies, Globe, and Vans now have vegan skate shoes. These shoes are designed for impact protection and board control. Plus, they maintain a classic skater look.
Most of us have owned a pair of these vans at some point in our lives. They’re one of the most popular shoe styles out there and they are totally vegan! We love the old school style and have no doubts that they will remain in fashion for a long time. You don’t need to be a skater to enjoy the vans authentic.
This vegan skate shoe is insulated and waterproof, making them great for winter. The upper is made of a microfleece material and the inside of the shoe is lined with thinsulate. The outsole is made of rubber and has a particularly low freezing rate.
The Seely Black vegan skate shoe from adidas is made with a synthetic upper and vulcanized rubber sole. These are designed specifically for skating. The tread and sole are designed for maximum board control. Wear them for performance or wear them simply for style.
Whew! So many vegan sneakers to choose from. Hopefully our guide has helped you find the perfect pair. If you’re looking for more vegan shoes check out our vegan hiking boot guide and our guide to vegan winter boots.
We love hearing your feedback! Let us know if the comments if you have a favorite vegan sneaker brand.