The production of many of our everyday clothing items has an insidious impact on our environment, and one of those items is sneakers. Typically, leather is used to manufacture them, and the process of manufacturing is infamous for being responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to deforestation.
Not to mention, leather tanning is one of the most toxic sources of pollution in our modern-day and age. That’s why many manufacturers have started looking for alternatives, and the best choice was vegan clothes.
While vegan alternatives, which are made from synthetic materials that are often plant-based, are not completely sustainable and environmentally-friendly, they’re a much more sustainable choice than leather.
So, if you want to keep up with the latest trends while saving the planet, check this list of the best vegan sneakers I’ve tailored just for you.
|New Balance FuelCore Nergize V1||Women||5 to 12||38||Fabric and synthetic|
|Reebok Princess||Women||5 to 12||18||100% synthetic leather|
|Skechers Go Walk Max-54601||Men||7 to 16||8||100% textile|
|Onitsuka Tiger 1183A012||Unisex||4 to 14||50+||Fabric and synthetic|
|New Balance Men’s 410 V6||Men||7 to 18||11||100% textile|
|Etnies Scout||Men||5 to 15||50+||100% textile|
|Skechers Ghenter Bronaugh Work Shoe||Women||5 to 11||3||100% mesh fabric upper|
|ASICS Gel-Kayano 26||Women||5 to 12||20||Fabric|
|TOMS Classic Canvas Slip-On Shoe||Women||6 to 14||100+||Denim|
|ASICS GT-2000 7 Running Shoes||Men||7 to 15||12||Man-made fabric|
|Onitsuka Tiger Slip-on Shoes D3K0N||Unisex||7.5 to 14.5||31||100% synthetic|
The 11 Best Vegan Sneakers for 2021
1. New Balance Women’s FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker
The New Balance FuelCore Nergize V1 for women is made from synthetic fabrics. It’s clean-lined, has additional lace-up support, and comes in plenty of colors. 38, to be precise, which is diverse enough to fit anyone’s preferences.
These include but aren’t limited to: black, heather, indigo, white, burgundy, light pink, beige, or even some combinations of different colors.
It comes with New Balance’s signature REVlite cushioning in the midsole, which works on providing you with ultra-lightweight and responsive cushioning. The sole feels quite spongy too, which makes walking feel soft and almost impactless.
Moreover, it has plenty of sizes available, ranging from 5 to 12. You’ll definitely find the size and style that suit you best. Their casual look makes them a great choice to pair with jeans and flaunting your vegan look.
Although they’re super comfortable, the FuelCore Nergize V1 sneakers are more suitable for walking and training rather than running. Since they have no structure or bracing, they might not be the ideal choice for active sports.
2. Reebok Women’s Princess Sneaker
Made of 100% synthetic leather, the Reebok Princess sneakers are an incredible choice for vegan sneakers. They come in 18 colors, including some plain and practical ones like black and white while others are vivid and funky like pink, solid teal and purple, or even orange and purple.
The sizes range from 5 to 12, with wide options, giving you a variety of both colors and sizes to choose from according to what suits you best.
The Princess sneakers come with a rubber sole and the upper is synthetic leather, which provides you with all the support and comfort you need. What’s more, they have a die-cut EVA midsole, which can withstand many strolls and jogs.
This is especially true thanks to the padded foam sock liner that makes them lightweight and provides cushioning to keep you moving. Moreover, they come with a soft terry lining, which works on absorbing moisture and keeping the shoes dry and cool.
If you’re looking for a reliable pair of sneakers that you can wear on walks, runs, or long hikes, the Reebok Princess will not fail you. The fact that they’re made of 100% synthetic leather means that they’re one of the most durable options you can get.
3. Skechers Men’s Go Walk Max-54601 Sneaker
Skechers are quite renowned for the incredibly comfortable shoes they manufacture, and the Go Walk Max-54601 is no different. Not only is it comfortable, but it’s also environmentally-friendly as it’s 100% textile.
This pair comes in 8 colors, all of which are pretty basic and plain, so they go with everything. These include black, gray, charcoal, taupe, and more. Its sizes range from 7 to 16, with both narrow and x-wide variations.
Moreover, the Go Walk Max-54601 comes with a synthetic sole, and the shaft measures around low-top from arch. It provides incredible comfort and cushioning for athletic walking and its upper is made from cushioned mesh fabric. This is thanks to the Goga Max Technology insole with high-rebound cushioning.
For impact absorption and to provide the most comfortable walking experience, the Go Walk comes with a 5GEN proprietary lightweight sole that uses injection-molded compound and memory retention technology.
Finally, the upper incorporates solid weave mesh fabric toe and heel panels that provide stability, extra padded heel for added comfort, and synthetic overlay at the laces for added durability.
4. Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Ultimate 81 Shoes 1183A012
The Onitsuka Tiger 1183A012 is nothing short of versatile. It suits both men and women, comes in over 50 colors, including black, grey, white, burgundy, navy, green -plain or combined with other colors.
Its sizes range from 4 to 14. Not only that, but you can find it at quite affordable price levels. The Onitsuka Tiger 1183A012 comes with a two-tone EVA midsole and flexible TPU heel to provide you with unprecedented support and cushioning.
It’s made from fabric and synthetic with a rubber sole, however, it incorporates suede and smooth leather trims, which may be non-vegan. But generally, it’s a pretty great choice for vegan sneakers.
I wouldn’t recommend this pair if you walk a lot as the rubber tends to peel off. But it’s good for other activities, like parkour or freerunning, and they’re perfectly suitable for the gym.
5. New Balance Men’s 410 V6 Trail Running Shoe
Once you hear the name of the brand “New Balance,” you know you’re in for a stylish and durable pair of shoes. This pair is 100% textile with a rubber sole and a shaft that measures around low-top from the arch.
Its synthetic and mesh design makes it very breathable as well as comfortable. You can easily trail off-road with these sneakers without having to worry about them getting worn out.
Thanks to the durable AT Tread rubber outsole, a sleek upper, ACTEVA midsole technology, and cushioned NV comfort insert, you can rely on the New Balance 410 V6 to keep you both comfortable and stylish before, during, and after a hike.
What’s more, you don’t have to worry about this pair getting wet as it can survive a dip in the water as long as you let it try properly and avoid submerging it often. And if you’re flat-footed, you don’t have to worry! These sneakers are perfectly comfortable for anyone alike.
6. Etnies Scout Sneaker
These Etnies Scout sneakers are the ultimate combination of stylish, cool, practical, and, most of all, environmentally-friendly. They come in more than 50 colors, so they cover pretty much any outfit.
The Etnies Scout is made from 100% textile and comes with a synthetic sole as well. With size choices ranging from 5 to 15, you’ll be able to pick the one that suits you best and provides you with the most comfort.
These sneakers come with elastic heel support that allows for convertible drop-top access and exposed STI evolution foam that provides maximum comfort. What’s more, they come with rubber pods on the sole to add durability and traction.
A lot of active people have found these sneakers an excellent choice, and a lot of them were skaters and surfers. So, if you’re into skateboarding and want comfortable sneakers to master your next trick, don’t hesitate to choose the Etnies Scout.
Etnies is where lightweight materials meet heavy-duty construction, which provides you with stability and comfort on whatever terrain you traverse. And the best part is that they can be found at a price level that’s lower than the $20 threshold!
7. Skechers Women’s Ghenter Bronaugh Work Shoe
This is another Skechers option, but this one’s made for women. It comes in three basic colors, two shades of black and white as well as sizes ranging from 5 to 11, including wide options.
The 100% mesh fabric upper and rubber sole make it very comfortable while the slip-resistant design provides you with stability, even when traversing slippery terrain.
If you have to survive long shifts, especially in activities like waitressing or anything similar, these are an incredibly viable choice. Even after an exhausting day, your legs and back wouldn’t be killing you!
8. TOMS Women’s Classic Canvas Slip-On Shoe
If you’re looking for ultimate convenience, these TOMS slip-on sneakers will not disappoint you. Not only are they easy to put on, great-looking, and environmentally-friendly, but they’re also super stylish.
The TOMS slip-on is made from denim with a synthetic sole and uppers made of textile, synthetic suede, oiled suede, or nubuck leather. This depends on the color you choose, and you’ve got a super wide range to choose from as this pair is available in over 100 colors.
However, it’s worth mentioning that some color choices don’t have a vegan construction, like the bark oil suede and cotton twill or natural nubuck and hemp, so you should make sure before you make a purchase.
Thanks to the inner gore bands, you can wear the TOMS slip-on with or without laces. And to provide your feet with a fresh environment, the sneakers use breathable textile lining and dual-density cotton twill footbed with antimicrobial treatment.
According to TOMS, with every pair of shoes you buy, they’ll be giving a new pair to a child in need. So, if you opt for this pair, not only would you be helping the environment but also children in need.
9. ASICS Men’s GT-2000 7 Running Shoes
The ASICS GT-2000 7 is truly nothing short of impressive. Its sizes range from 7 to 15 and it comes in 12 colors, including black, indigo, grey, and shade combinations, but what’s truly impressive is the technology incorporated.
The ASICS GT-2000 7 features FlyteFoam Lyte technology, which makes its midsole formulation amazingly light and enables it to provide continuous cushioning thanks to the organic nanofibers.
Moreover, the SpevaFoam 45 lasting material it employs makes it a soft platform both in terms of feel and provided comfort. And since these are running shoes that you’ll probably end up sweating in, they come with Ortholite sockliner moisture management, which is super practical.
What’s more, the SpevaFoam midsole material enhances bounce back and minimizes midsole breakdown while the rearfoot and forefoot GEL technology cushioning system reduces shock during impact and toe-off phases, allowing you to move freely and comfortably.
If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly choice that you can wear while you enjoy walks, jogs, or vigorous runs outside, the ASICS GT-2000 7 is an ideal choice. And although it’s a little pricier than most options on the list, it’s definitely worth every penny.
10. ASICS Women’s Gel-Kayano 26 Running Shoes
Looking for a pair with which you can get active instead of wearing for a 12-hour shift? The ASICS Women’s Gel-Kayano 26 running shoes are the perfect one for you.
It comes in 20 colors, including white, black, blue, orange, and gray. Some of them also combine colors and patterns in a lovely way that makes them look as good as they perform.
The ASICS Gel-Kayano 26 is made from fabric and comes with a rubber sole, but it uses so much technology in order to provide you with the most comfortable experience during exercise and vigorous activity.
Like the men’s version, this one comes with a 45-degree full-length SpevaFoam that provides a soft platform and enhanced comfort. Not only that, but it also incorporates an impact guide system (I.G.S) that enhances the foot’s natural gait from heel-strike to toe-off.
What’s more, it has a super lightweight midsole formulation as it features FlyteFoam technology, which also provides continuous cushioning thanks to the organic nanofibers. And with a superb elastomer compound, the ASICS Gel-Kayano 26 is able to deliver unmatched bounce.
Finally, the ASICS Gel-Kayano 26 comes with a Dynamic DuoMax support system, which improves the stability and support that it has to offer, reduces its weight, and maximizes its platform support.
This is the ideal choice for any lady that enjoys long and exhausting runs and wants to enjoy them in a comfortable yet stylish way, and most importantly, without harming the planet!
11. Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Mexico 66 Slip-on Shoes D3K0N
This is another unisex choice by Onitsuka, coming in 31 colors and a tremendous choice of sizes, you’ll definitely find the combination that best suits you.
The Onitsuka Tiger D3K0N is 100% synthetic, including the sole. The pair flaunts a classic sneaker design featuring eyelets on the vamp, logo patches on the heel and tongue, and signature striping overlays on the sides.
Like the Onitsuka Tiger 1183A012, it’s super versatile and combines durability with comfort. And although its price range is a little higher than the Tiger’s, the added durability that this pair has is worth the investment if you’re looking for long-term use.
How to Choose Vegan Sneakers
The number one thing you should make sure of when you’re shopping for vegan sneakers is that they’re actually vegan. In other words, you should double-check that they’re leather-free. Tags like “vegan,” “all man-made,” and “100% synthetic” are all indicators of this.
Not only that, but you should look up more info on how the product may have affected an animal’s habitat. You can tell this without the manufacturer providing the info even, by understanding a couple of things.
For starters, you should make sure that the sneakers are made of natural fibers, such as cotton, hemp, bamboo, canvas, or jute. You should also check the kind of adhesive used to hold the shoes together. If the type of glue used includes gelatin, it means that the product is using animal bones.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Vegan Sneakers?
Vegan products are ones that avoid using any materials coming from animals in their making. This includes furs and skins. Even the adhesives and dyes used on vegan products aren’t animal-based.
Most of the time, leather is the main suspect when it comes to using animals for fashion trends, and that’s why it’s the material you should be most careful with and double-check that the product you choose uses faux leather. But this also applies to many materials, including suede.
Why Go Vegan?
Going vegan has an incredibly positive impact on the environment as it helps preserve ecosystems. Especially ones where exotic animals like crocodiles and ostriches are involved, or any animal that’s excessively hunted for skin and fur exists.
It’s better to go for vegan products that use cotton, hemp, or plant-based leather instead.
Is Vegan Leather Reliable?
Most of the time, people are hesitant when it comes to buying vegan products -especially leather- because they doubt the durability. However, contrary to popular belief, vegan products can be a lot more durable.
For example, compared to actual leather, faux leather is sturdier and less prone to ripping, scratching, and scraping. Not to mention, it’s a lot more affordable, too.
Moreover, it’s a lot easier to clean and maintain as it isn’t easily stained and is water-resistant. It also doesn’t fade with exposure to the sun and is more likely to survive major cuts. This is thanks to the plastic-like attributes faux leather has, which stops it from absorbing water and peeling off.
Many vegan materials are more durable in general, and the best you can go for are vegan leather, hemp, and canvas.
What is Vegan Leather Made Of?
The versatility of vegan leather can be traced back to the fact that it can be manufactured from a myriad of materials, including glazed canvas, waxed canvas, naturally-derived materials, PVC, or polyurethane. The latter is the most harmful, however, so try to steer away from it.
And while any vegan material contributes to sparing animals the harsh treatment and suffering, not all of them actually contribute to long-term environmental sustainability, be it due to the process of manufacturing or the fact that the material isn’t biodegradable.
That’s why you should pick the materials that also don’t involve manufacturing processes with serious consequences and impacts on the environment. These include natural elements like cork and plant-based leather.
How to Make Sure Synthetic Leather Is Vegan?
First and foremost, you must read the label on the product. Usually, you’ll be able to find a sticker or a symbol at the bottom or the top of the garment to indicate that the product is vegan.
Moreover, with some experience, you’ll be able to tell real and faux leather apart from the feel of the material. Synthetic leather has a slightly different texture that doesn’t form a patina like real leather. It’s also less breathable as the pores are merely drawn on the surface and aren’t real.
Now that you’ve reached the end of the article, I hope you’ve found the best vegan sneaker for you. It’s a great thing that you’re concerned about your consumer choices, and that’s why you should take it all the way and buy products that involve no animal furs, skins, dyes, or adhesives.
There are many options for various kinds of activities and purposes as well as for diverse audiences with various needs.
So, whether you’re a man, woman, or child and whether you’re looking for everyday sneakers, ones you can run with, work out with, or hiking sneakers, you’ll definitely find something on the market for you. Look well enough and enjoy saving the environment while strutting your style.