On the hunt for your new favourite everyday sneaker? Discover our top picks for ethical and sustainable sneakers below.
The most daring ethical kicks on the market
Sneakers have always maintained their status as a staple piece. Rain, snow, or shine, a versatile pair of sneakers is a season-less closet favourite, giving a simple, everyday look a little more sass. Unlike our functional running or gym shoes, which stay on our shelves for a few years, “trend” sneakers are replaced more often. A product of the fast fashion industry, consumers are trained to run out to buy a new pair of sneakers as soon as the previous trend has lost its momentum. But investing in a pair of ethical, good quality shoes and learning how to take care of them is ultimately more sustainable, both for the planet and for your bank account.
Here’s the lowdown on the sustainable sneaker trail-blazers that are prioritising people, the planet, and animals. First up, we’ve got a modern take on ‘wearing your values’ with sneakers from Womsh (Italy). Not to worry, if being too literal isn’t your style, classic Veja’s (France) might be a better fit for you. And last, but certainly not least, if you’re looking for a more retro look, Flamingos’ Life (Spain) has got you covered with shoes rockin’ from the ’70s and ’80s.
“Love Fashion, Think Organic, Be Responsible” are the maxims of LANIUS. The brand uses eco-friendly materials, like GOTS certified cotton. All LANIUS facilities are SA8000 certified and it is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation. These sneakers are made from chrome-free vegetable tanned leather, so not one for the vegans. Find the shoes in EU sizes 36-42.
“Womsh” is an acronym for Word of Mouth Shoes, referring to shoes that communicate and convey a message of sustainability and respect for the environment. In 2014, the Italian brand began producing sustainable footwear, combining traditional craftsmanship with ethical production. Their effortless and fresh design fuses Stan Smith and Golden Goose making a statement without ever saying a word. By using non-toxic, raw materials Womsh limits the production of hazardous waste and harmful emissions. While not entirely vegan, the brand does boast an extensive animal-free line. Find the shoes in EU sizes 35-42 for women, and 40-46 for men.
1 People is a Danish-designed lifestyle and luxury brand. Blending Scandinavian colour palettes and minimalist design, it thoughtfully crafts pieces like the Boras Classic Sneaker using sustainable and certified materials. Made from innovative biomaterial VEGEA, flaunt these comfortable and versatile, vegan kicks season after season. Find them in sizes 37-41.
Good Guys creates cruelty-free shoes for women and men, founded and designed by Marion Hanania in Paris. Through Good Guys, Hanania aims to create the perfect cruelty-free, made in Europe closet, where no animal product is involved, and the production guarantees fair trade working conditions. Find most shoes in EU sizes 36 to 46.
Although many luxury brands have been criticised for their wasteful and harmful practices, British designer Stella McCartney has been committed to operating a modern and responsible business for almost two decades. Since 2012, the brand has been creating sneakers out of recycled polyester and plastic waste. While a lot of the brand’s products are vegan, keep an eye out for wool and cashmere in some cases. Find Stella McCartney shoes in US sizes 5-11 for women, and 6-12 for men.