Some of the Coolest New Sneakers Are Coming From These Ethical Brands

Photo: Veja
As sustainability becomes a greater focus in the fashion industry, it’s getting easier to shop for ethically made wardrobes staples from dresses to jeans and outerwear. But for the wellness junkie who’s habitually signed up for yoga, boxing, and barre classes—and (literally) running errands in between—sneakers are a must from performance-based to fashion styles. So, it's refreshing to see so many of the coolest kicks coming from eco-friendly brands right now.

"It used to be if you wanted an animal-free sneaker, your only option was fast-fashion and if you wanted a sustainable pair of kicks, your only option was leather-clad,” says Ashlee Piper, a sustainability expert and author of Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet. “Now, brands like Veja, Native Shoes, and Keep bring all the style and comfort of a sneaker with cruelty-free options that are also ethically produced,” she says. This includes APL’s brand new TechLoom Breeze collection of knit sneakers made from Merino wool—they're the brand’s most sustainable and lightest running shoe to date, certified by The Woolmark Company.

While a functional trainer is a strong starting point, fashion-forward kicks—from wear-with-everything white lace-ups by Veja to Stella McCartney's new techy, sock-style sneakers—come with an ethical stamp of approval. “We wanted to create a sneaker that would be made better and that respects the environment and workers,” says Veja co-founder Sébastien Kopp, whose business doesn’t pay for advertising or marketing as a way to invest the company’s entire budget in their moral manufacturing processes. “Our sneakers would be more expensive to make, but we knew we could keep the price on par with other brands if we didn’t allocate money for advertising.”

For Stella McCartney, innovation is a key factor—her new Loop sneaker is designed with technical hooks and special stitching that replaces conventional gluing methods which harm air quality, contribute to water and soil pollution, and create contaminated waste from the adhesive that is not easily biodegradable. At the end of the sneakers life, it can be fully disassembled to be recycled or reused—a game changer for those who wear through sneakers in a few short months.

Whether you’re a sneakerhead looking to hop on the sustainability train or will feel better knowing your new pair of trainers are backed with a great ethos, ahead, shop the edit of sustainable sneakers from Veja, Stella McCartney, and more.

sustainable sneakers
Photo: Adidas

Adidas Ultraboot x Parley Shoes, $200

sustainable sneakers
Photo: Allbirds

Allbirds Wool Runners, $95

APL TechLoom Breeze
Photo: APL/The Woolmark Company

APL TechLoom Breeze, $250

sustainable sneakers
Photo: Ecoalf

Ecoalf Boracay Sneakers, $119

sustainable sneakers
Photo: Matt & Nat

Matt & Nat Gail Chess Sneaker, $90

sustainable sneakers
Photo: Rombaut

Rombaut Boccaccio Trainers, $330

sustainable sneakers
Photo: Stella McCartney

Stella Mccartney Loop Sneakers, $695

sustainable sneakers
Photo: Veja

Veja V-10 Perforated Sneakers, $132

sustainable sneakers
Photo: Vivobarefoot

Vivobarefoot Magna Trail, $157

sustainable sneakers
Photo: Wado

Wado Modelo '89, $113

If you're on the hunt for other eco-friendly companies, here are 18 sustainble fashion brands we love. Plus, check out H&M's new conscientious collection

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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