10 Ethical Alternatives to Nike - Good On You
14 Oct

10 Ethical Alternatives to Nike

Even if you weren’t around in the 1990s, you’ve likely heard about Nike’s sweatshop scandals. Since then, the brand has worked hard to transform its tarnished image. So, what’s the impact of Lebron James and Cristiano Ronaldo’s sponsor on the planet, people, and animals today? And most importantly, what ethical and sustainable alternatives to Nike are there?

Nike has improved, but there is still a way to go. The activewear giant has made a few positive changes to its environmental practices: it is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, it uses some eco-friendly materials, including organic and recycled cotton and polyester, and has some water reduction initiatives in its supply chain. But while Nike ​​has set a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated from its operations and supply chain, there is no evidence it is on track to meet its target. We also found no evidence Nike has a policy to prevent deforestation in its supply chain.

When it comes to labour, the brand has been criticised for allowing its suppliers to exploit workers by paying below the minimum wage, enforcing excessive working hours, and failing to provide safe working conditions. And while we found some public information about policies to protect suppliers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19, sadly, workers were left out of the picture. To make things worse, we found no evidence Nike ensures payment of a living wage in most of its supply chain.

Despite not using fur, angora, or other exotic animal hair or skin in its products, which is a step in the right direction, Nike still uses leather, wool, and down feathers without specifying sources. This lack of transparency is problematic as the welfare of animals and workers is unknown.

If you thought the 1990s sweatshop story was the last scandal involving Nike, think again. In 2018, Nike was sued by two former female employees who accused the sneaker giant of creating a culture of gender discrimination and sexual harassment. The brand says it’s been focusing on female empowerment and inclusiveness in its advertising campaigns, but the women who work for Nike—from factories to headquarters—are left out of this picture. And just this year, Nike came under fire (again) after a prolific sneaker reseller was revealed to be the son of a longtime company executive. Nepotism, much?

Overall, we rate Nike ‘It’s A Start’. The brand (whose annual revenue is expected to reach $44.5 billion—a 19% increase compared to 2020) has a few promising environmental measures in place. Still, it needs to do much more and make serious changes in most areas. Nike can certainly afford it.

So, if you love the Nike vibe but prefer to support ‘Good’ or ‘Great’ brands that are beating the sportswear giant at its own game, here are some sustainable alternatives to Nike for you.

Ethical alternatives to Nike

CARIUMA

Rated: Good
three pairs of eco sneakers by CARIUMA

CARIUMA is a 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.

Etiko

Rated: Great
ethically made basics and shoes by Etiko

Offers

person wearing blue and white ethical sneakers by Etiko

Etiko – Vegan Shoes

Vegan shoes made ethically with no harm to animals and no toxic chemicals. 10% off vegan shoes plus a gift when you sign up to Etiko's newsletter. (Ends: 3 NOV)

Shop now
man wearing ethically made black Etiko tshirt with red logo

Etiko – Men’s Clothing

Men's apparel made from sustainable materials and certified Fair Trade. 10% off men's clothing plus a gift when you sign up to Etiko's newsletter. (Ends: 3 NOV)

Shop now
woman wearing grey fair trade hoodie by Etiko

Etiko – Women’s Clothing

Clothing that is both comfortable and sustainable. Good for the Earth and your body. 10% off women's clothing plus a gift when you sign up to Etiko's newsletter. (Ends: 3 NOV)

Shop now

Etiko is an Australian designer of organic, eco-friendly, and fair trade clothing and shoes. The brand constantly sets the bar for upholding and campaigning the human rights of people working in traditionally exploitative industry supply chains. Find the clothes in AU sizes 8-20, and the shoes in UK sizes 3-13.

See the rating.

Shop Etiko.

Boody

Rated: Good
three people wearing sustainable activewear by Boody

Made from organically grown bamboo, Boody is an Australian clothing brand that supports the trend for all things green and ethical. Find the range in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Boody.

Womsh

Rated: Good
sustainable sneakers made by Womsh

Fashion and sustainability can go together and Womsh is the footwear brand that proves it. Its shoes are entirely designed and manufactured in Italy. Find most styles in EU sizes 35-42.

See the rating.

Shop Womsh.

Shop Womsh @ COMOVITA.

Shop Womsh @ Curate.

Flamingos’ Life

Rated: Good
three pairs of vegan classic sneakers by Flamingos' Life

Flamingos' Life creates sneakers for men and women 100% animal-free. The brand uses eco-friendly and PETA vegan approved materials, including upcycled materials. Find the range in sizes 36-46.

See the rating.

Shop Flamingos' Life.

Presca

Rated: Good
sustainable cycle clothes by Presca

Add a caption for this image, eg “Hunter Sweatshirt – Shipping: worldwide from US”

Presca is an activewear label that designs and manufactures high performance sportswear with sustainability in mind. This UK-based brand is on a mission to take back materials which were polluting the planet and redesign them into performance sportswear that is built to last. Find the range in inclusive sizes 2XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Presca.

Veja

Rated: Good
sporty black and white eco sneakers by Veja

Veja is a French brand designing ecological and fair trade footwear, and is also a sustainable fashion pioneer. The brand uses eco-friendly 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 ethical 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 @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Veja @ thegreenlabels.

Shop Veja @ Outerknown.

Shop Veja @ Threads 4 Thought.

Shop Veja @ Labell-D.

Shop Veja Kids second hand @ Retykle.

Nube

Rated: Good
stylish patterned eco activewear by Nube

Nube turns recycled plastic into responsible and fashionable activewear, designed and made in the US. The brand partners with artists and designers around the world to create prints motivated by the environmental crisis that inspire connection and action. This fully woman-owned business uses a closed-loop manufacturing process by recycling all off-cuts created during the manufacturing process. Find Nube products in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Nube.

Shop Nube @ Curate.

Girlfriend Collective

Rated: Great
three people wearing ethical activewear by Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective creates minimal, luxury clothes made with certified fair labour, certified by the Social Accountability Standard International SA8000. The brand uses eco-friendly materials like recycled polyester as well as low-impact non-toxic dyes and is fully Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified. Inclusively sized Girlfriend Collective offers products from 2XS-6XL.

See the rating.

Shop Girlfriend Collective @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Girlfriend Collective @ thegreenlabels.

Shop Girlfriend Collective @ OASEAS.

Shop Girlfriend Collective.

tentree

Rated: Good
people wearing earth-friendly clothing designed by tentree

tentree is a Canadian sustainable lifestyle brand that plants 10 trees for every item purchased. The certified B-Corp brand has already helped to remove tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and reforested over 5,000 hectares of land (that’s equal to 12,000 football fields). But its commitment to sustainability extends way beyond trees. Using recycled, organic, and circular fabrics, tentree cuts down on huge amounts of waste and water usage with every piece. We love it for its super comfy fabrics and easy wardrobe staples that are typically available from XS to XL.

See the rating.

Shop tentree.

Nike (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Nike is an American sportswear and activewear manufacturer. The brand has good policies to audit suppliers in its supply chain, but it is not taking adequate steps to ensure payment of a living wage for its workers. By buying Nike second hand you're helping keep clothes out of landfills and helping protect workers by slowing down the fast fashion cycle and the relentless demands on low-paid workers in the supply chain.

See the rating.

Shop Nike Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Editor's note

Feature image via Nike, 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 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 more than 3,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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