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23 Jun

More Sustainable Alternatives to New Balance You’ll Love

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New Balance’s image has come a long way. Once dismissed as the epitome of uncool, the brand has managed to reinvent itself, rising to new heights with its comfortable and high-quality sneakers. Sadly, the “Not Good Enough” brand’s ethics don’t hold up. But we have good news: we went on the hunt to find more sustainable alternatives to New Balance.

New Balance is not doing enough

New Balance’s image has come a long way. Once dismissed as the epitome of uncool, the brand has managed to reinvent itself, rising to new heights with its comfortable and high-quality sneakers.

Embraced by runners, athletes, and everyday consumers alike, New Balance has successfully ridden the wave of the dad shoe trend, thanks in part to strategic collaborations.

Unfortunately, despite its claims of “changing the way [it does] things to reduce [its] environmental impact”, New Balance isn’t doing so great when it comes to its impacts on people, the planet, and animals.

When it comes to the environment, New Balance needs to make progress. It has set a target to eliminate hazardous chemicals by 2025 and claims to be on track. However, there is currently no evidence that the brand is taking meaningful action to reduce water use or protect biodiversity in its supply chain. What’s more, the brand currently uses few lower-impact materials.

On the labour front, there is no evidence that New Balance ensures its workers are paid living wages in most of its supply chain. The brand claims to have a program to improve wages, but there is no evidence it’s being effectively implemented. Additionally, there is no evidence that New Balance implements practices to support diversity and inclusion in its supply chain.

Finally, despite not using fur, angora, or exotic animal skin, New Balance still uses leather, wool, down, and exotic animal hair (whether these materials are traced even to the first production stage is unclear).

Overall, we rate New Balance “Not Good Enough”. While the brand has taken some steps towards improving its impact on people and the planet, it still has a long way to go, especially when it comes to using more responsible materials and ensuring living wages for its workers.

As consumers, we can make a difference by taking care of what we own, reducing what we buy, shopping second hand, and choosing to support brands that are doing better.

So, if you like the New Balance vibe, we’ve got you covered. We scoured the Good On You database for a diverse range of more sustainable alternatives that capture the essence of New Balance while prioritising more responsible practices and environmental stewardship.

Whether you’re a devoted runner seeking performance-driven sneakers or simply someone who appreciates New Balance’s timeless appeal, our list has something for everyone.

8 more sustainable alternatives to New Balance

CARIUMA

Rated: Good
yellow sustainable skate shoes by Cariuma brand

CARIUMA is a more sustainable Brazilian sneaker brand that wants you to feel super comfortable while providing effortless style in organic canvas, leather, and suede styles.

Find CARIUMA's shoes in US sizes 5-13.

See the rating.

Shop CARIUMA.

Shop CARIUMA @ Good.

Ecoalf

Rated: Good
Colorful Ecoalf sneakers

Thanks to recycled materials like rescued ocean plastic, Ecoalf creates more sustainable fashion with the same quality, design, and technical properties as the best non-recycled ones.

Find the range in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Ecoalf @ Farfetch.

Shop Ecoalf.

Good Guys

Rated: Good
Colourful vegan sneakers by Good Guys.

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 36-46.

See the rating.

Shop Good Guys.

Shop Good Guys @ Immaculate Vegan.

ID.EIGHT

Rated: Good

ID.EIGHT is an Italian brand that was born from the meeting between Dong Seon Lee and Giuliana Borzillo, both come from the world of footwear, where they worked and met. Together they have created a more ethical and sustainable collection of sneakers with a refined design. The shoes are made in Italy with lower-impact materials from food industry waste such as apple peels, grape stalks and seeds, and pineapple leaves, as well as recycled cotton and polyester.

Find the shoes in EU sizes 36-46.

See the rating.

Shop ID.EIGHT.

Veja

Rated: Good

Veja is a French brand designing ecological and fair trade footwear, and is also a responsible fashion pioneer. The brand uses lower-impact materials, like GOTS certified cotton and vegetable-tanned leather. Veja pays its co-operative cotton growers and rubber tappers between 30% and 100% above the world market price. By not advertising, Veja is able to invest more money into strengthening its practices.

You can find Veja shoes in women's EU sizes 35-46, and men's 35-47.

See the rating.

Shop Veja.

Shop Veja @ Cerqular.

Shop Veja @ LVRSustainable.

Shop Veja @ Outerknown.

Shop Veja @ Threads 4 Thought.

Shop Veja Kids second hand @ Retykle.

COG

Rated: Good
Close view of someone in shoes by COG.

Based in France, COG is a footwear label that creates more sustainable, vegan shoes from 100% recycled materials, including natural corks, used cotton scraps, end-of-life rubber, and plastic bottles fished out of the sea.

Offered in sizes EU 35-46.

See the rating.

Shop COG.

Shop COG @ Immaculate Vegan.

Flamingos’ Life

Rated: Good
Someone putting on sneakers by Flamingo's Life.

Flamingos' Life creates sneakers that are free from animal-derived materials for everyone. The brand uses lower-impact and PETA approved vegan materials, including upcycled materials.

Find the range in sizes 36-46.

See the rating.

Shop Flamingos' Life.

Shop Flamingos' Life @ Good.

Womsh

Rated: Good

Fashion and responsible production can go together and Womsh is the brand that proves it. Its shoes are entirely designed and manufactured in Italy, and its clothing range is made from lower-impact fabrics like organic cotton.

Find most shoes in EU sizes 35-42, and clothes in XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Womsh.

Editor's note

Feature image by Unsplash, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet and animals. We love to recommend some of the best more sustainable brands, rated “Good” or “Great”. We also encourage shopping pre-owned as another great way to reduce the impact of our fashion choices. Use our directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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