These are the 30 most ethical and sustainable sneakers in 2021. Happy shopping!
A true icon in sustainable sneakers, Veja is a French brand committed to producing sustainable shoes in Brazil.
Responsible at all stages of production, ensuring that manufacturing is conducted in dignified conditions, the brand doesn’t spend money on advertising.
Instead, Veja focuses all efforts and resources on ethical practices, creating sustainable sneakers loved by celebrities while giving back to local communities.
Creating pairs for everyday life and running and working out, Veja often opts for organic cotton and wild rubber to bring lovely footwear pieces to life.
Stella needs no introduction in the realm of sustainable clothing brands.
While many people in the industry push for a more sustainable industry, none of them are as prominent – in their sustainability efforts – like Stella McCartney.
The high-fashion sneakers offered by the brand are crafted with soles in recycled, organic, and bio-based materials, making each pair of shoes an investment not only in style but also in the environment.
Stella is my brand to go for any high-end sustainable sneaker needs, a label recognized and appreciated worldwide.
Upcycling waste in pursuit of sustainable fashion, Ecoalf is a Spanish-based footwear brand that truly transforms trash into treasure.
The brand uses innovative technology to recycle polyester, nylon, cotton, wool, tires, and even post-consumer coffee ground.
Each product made by Ecoalf – and trust me, they have a wide range of products, from
tennis shoes to stylish shoes – comes with a detailed sustainability report, keeping you informed while looking great.
Whimsy + Row
Aiming to reduce carbon footprint while sourcing local dead stock and upcycling biodegradable materials, Whimsy + Row handcrafts some of the most amazing shoes you’ve ever seen, right in the middle of LA.
With classic lace-ups among some of the brand’s bestselling styles, Whimsy + Row is a sneakers label that values a conscious approach as much as timeless style and elegance.
Whimsy + Row is a sneaker label I always recommend to my friends here in the UK, asking which US brands I think they should try.
With a rich heritage in traditional sneakers, Flamingo’s Life pieces are styled in a modern way with sustainability at their core.
The label is caring not just for the quality of sneakers but also for the condition of oceans and forests.
Always impressed with Flamingo’s Life’s multicolored sneakers made with eco-friendly and PETA vegan-approved materials, this is a label you should check out and give it a try.
Fusing natural materials with technological advancements, Allbirds is a household name on the sustainable footwear scene.
The San Francisco-based sneaker brand produces a wide range of vegan styles such as running shoes, slip-ons, and casual sneakers.
The label produces from some of the most unorthodox materials, such as merino wool and eucalyptus pulp combined with rain-repellent to create a pair of sneaker that’s equally unique, style-wise.
I find Allbirds a great sneaker label for those seeking comfortable shoes made from plant-based materials that reduce carbon emissions in the fashion industry.
Renowned for its charitable business model, Toms is a Venice-based label that needs little introduction in footwear.
First, the brand invests 1/3 of profits into organizations that target issues such as mental health, gun violence, and fair access to opportunities.
Second, the brand offers multiple vegan and eco-friendly materials, sold and delivered to you in sustainable shoe boxes made from soy ink and other similar types of recycled post-consumer waste.
Handmaking shoes in Peru and Mexico while ensuring safe and fair conditions, Nisolo is a B Corp-certified and carbon-neutral footwear label based in Nashville.
While the label still makes leather sneakers, and it is yet to shift to vegan materials, the hide and suede used are sourced ethically.
But what makes me recommend this brand is its wonderfully neutral and earth-toned colors that make the designs easy to slot into my daily rotations.
Tread by Everlane
Transparency is the name of the game when it comes to Everlane, a brand that delivers sneakers for leather fans that want their fashion choices to be more sustainable.
The brand is driven by the ambition to produce the world’s lowest-impact sneakers, making the soles in 94.2% non-virgin plastic, uppers in a gold-certified tannery, and lining and laces from recycled plastic bottles.
With Converse on board, it’s now impossible to deny the significant shift towards sustainability on the footwear scene.
The cult Chuck Taylor All-Stars sneakers are now also presented in an eco-friendly version, engineered in stretch knit that’s breathable and produced with at least 50% recycled materials.
Brought together with 100% recycled polyester laces, they’re set on unique translucent rubber soles made with 12% recycled scraps.
I love Converse Renew as it allows me to customize them in so many ways, allowing me to showcase my personality wherever I go.
Reebok Cotton + Corn
Another sportswear giant to join the sustainability movement, Reebok, has released the world’s first entirely plant-based sneakers.
Imagined with a pair of sneakers with the whole life cycle in mind, the shoes are made with compostable natural materials.
The upper is made of pure cotton, while the sole is made of corn, joined by insoles crafted from castor bean oil.
Oh, and did I mention that you can get them in packaging that’s 100% recycled too?
The Brooklyn-based Greats wants you to wear its sneakers for the rest of your life – a statement that underlines the label’s unrivaled dedication to quality.
No to virgin plastic and yet to opting for natural rubber and leather sourced from top-rated Italian tanneries, Greats cares for the environment and people, delivering styles that are equally ageless and durable.
With a name derived from the Greek root word for ‘ethical,’ the family-run Etiko keeps style and consciousness at the core.
Awarded for groundbreaking efforts in sustainability, this Australian label is renowned for promoting human and labor rights through being honest and transparent in the production process and supply chain.
I love Etiko’s desired to satisfy consumers by giving 30 days return on eco-friendly sneakers for a full refund.
Adidas X Parley
A name that needs no introduction on the sportswear scene, Adidas has partnered up with Parley for the Oceans to target the most imminent threats toward the world’s sea life.
As a result, Adidas and Parley’s collection of sustainable sneakers was made from discarded fishing nets and various types of plastic intercepted from water, sans virgin polyester.
Adidas X Parley collection is ongoing, loved by people worldwide for saving the oceans while reducing global CO2 emission.
From all shoe companies in this article, Komodo is the only UK-based brand and one of the few sneaker labels to claim sustainability efforts back to the ’80s.
Valuing environmental standards alongside people’s well-being, the label supports local charities and numerous social and ecological projects.
GOTS-certified and using recycled plastic water bottles, Komodo is a great destination for affordable eco sneakers in a wide range of color combinations.
Founded in Brazil, Cariuma offers a deal that’s impossible to pass on for hardcore sustainability enthusiasts.
For each pair of sustainable sneakers sold, the label will plant two trees in the Brazilian rainforest.
Delivering a wide range of sneakers that include skateboarders and surfers, the brand puts focus on comfort and transparency in terms of material selection, factories, operations, and production.
A unique name on the sneaker scene, Ethiopian soleRebelels uses indigenous materials, promoting worker rights and low-impact production processes.
Handcrafted and offered in custom sizes, the brand’s sneakers are made only from locally outsourced materials such as the Ethiopian recycled tire called ‘barabasso.’
On top of its sustainability efforts, the brand gives back to local communities, aiming to preserve traditions, support health and education.
Visit the brand’s website to discover modern sneakers creations and design innovation as some particular styles are made with 3D printing and knitting to reduce waste and maximize comfort.
Noah is a 100% vegan German footwear brand famous for creating the world’s first-ever utterly biodegradable shoe collection back in 2019.
Awarded multiple times for its sustainable and ethical efforts in the realm of leather-free designs, the brand uses sustainable materials that are breathable, durable, non-toxic, recycled, and recyclable.
On top of that, Noah is manufacturing quality sustainable sneakers in some of the finest Italian workshops.
Style timelessness and excellent quality alongside sustainability efforts are what drives the now U.S-based Oliver Cabell label to the top of the sneaker charts.
The independent footwear brand consciously produces sneakers from 100 percent recycled materials while honoring traditional shoemaking practices.
A great choice if you’re into minimal styles that can complement just about any outfit you have in mind.
Alice + Whittles
More famous for its bestselling rain boots, Alice + Whittles is a sneaker brand you’ll want to keep on your sustainability radar.
The minimalist styles delivered by the brand are made from recycled plastic bottles, natural rubber, and other eco-friendly materials.
A perfect choice for those who want to enjoy outdoor adventures with consciousness and style, Alice + Whittle’s sneakers will make you stand out from a mile.
Known for creating ultra-light sneakers that carry powerful messages, Native is guided by the ‘Live Lightly’ principle in everything it does.
Using solvent-free suede, recycled polyester, or recycled EVA foam, the brand makes sneakers full of color and personality, guaranteed to add a festive touch to your everyday fashion.
Womsh, or ‘Word of Mouth Shoes,’ is an Italian-based footwear label committed to sustainability and local craftsmanship.
Known for its bestselling vegan sneakers made from – wait for it – apple skin, the brand brings designs to life from metal-free tanned leather as well as natural and non-toxic raw materials.
Marrying contemporary looks with traditional production techniques, Womsh is a fail-safe destination if you’re looking for carbon offsets or reducing your footprint.
Nothing New is an up-and-coming sneaker brand, utilizing a signature ‘true stitch’ construction to achieve the most comfortable fit and the lowest impact on the environment.
The label uses recycled materials, and some of its most popular sneakers are made from post-consumer recycled plastic, recycled cotton, fishing nets, rubber, and even cork.
With a motto that reads “Love Fashion, Think Organic, Be Responsible,” the driving force behind the German label Lanius is more than evident.
Utilizing controlled and certified natural materials, the brand reinvents modern and minimalist collections of eco-friendly sneakers.
Made from chrome-free, vegetable-tanned leather and cork, the brand’s sustainable sneakers are delivered in a climate-neutral box.
Innovation is at the heart of Nae, a Portuguese footwear brand that manufactures in its native country and neighboring Spain.
With materials like piñatex, cork, sugar cane, recycled PET, organic cotton, and vegan leather being among the most used, the brand showcases intense sustainability efforts with great pride.
The brand’s name is the acronym for No Animal Exploitation (NAE) hence globally recognized and appreciated for its vegan sneaker collections.
Delivering various durable vegan shoes at affordable prices, Nae is a brand I highly recommend to all sustainable fashion mavens.
Guided by the “Shoes with a good sole” mantra, Po-Zu is a sustainable footwear brand that focuses on promoting the health of your feet.
With factories following fair and ethical practices and using Fair Rubber in production processes, Po-Zu is a leader of the environmentally friendly front.
Among one of the brand’s top inventions is the pioneering Foot-Mattress, a memory foam adjusting to the shape of your foot thanks to a combination of natural latex foam and coconut fiber.
Some of us love leather and aren’t ready to say goodbye, not yet – and that’s where brands like Elk come in.
This Australian brand makes excellent sneakers and footwear pieces with cow leather approved by the Leather Working Group.
The label is releasing collections twice a year, aiming to promote a slower approach to fashion.
Lending a futuristic edge to classic sneakers styles, Elk aims to sustain a balanced mix of simplicity, innovation, and – above all – sustainability.
With the rise of second-hand fashion popularity, Nike has reinforced its sustainability efforts by starting a Move to Zero campaign.
The initiative focuses on reducing waste in the sneakers industry by organizing pre-loved sneakers into sections called ‘like new,’ ‘gently worn,’ and ‘cosmetically flawed.’
Such a great idea; I hope the sportswear giant will encourage more people to purchase pre-owned sneakers to reduce the pace of fast fashion.
Alexander McQueen (Pre-Owned)
Leading the way in sustainable footwear for luxury fashion houses, Alexander McQueen sources materials in responsible ways and uses only green energy sources.
So far, the label has eliminated most toxic components from its production line and reduced greenhouse gases by 50% per unit of revenue.
That’s why, by investing in second-hand McQueens, you’re not only supporting a brand that helps to save our environment, but you also get a pair of statement sneakers that holds a chunk of fashion history.
Now it’s your turn…
So here it is, a complete list of 30 sustainable sneaker brands loved by the conscious consumer right now in 2021.
These are the best 30 sustainable sneaker brands you should consider when you want to invest in a new pair of sneakers, famous for their ethical production and in vogue for being super stylish.
Which one of these sustainable sneakers is your favorite and why?
Are there any other sustainable sneakers you’ve tried and want to add to this list?
Please leave your comments below so others can benefit from your experience.