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22 Sep

How Do the Biggest Sneaker Brands Rate?

Sneakers continue to be amongst the most loved, comfortable, and versatile shoes on the market. But not all sneakers are created equal, and unfortunately, most of the biggest sneaker brands on the planet rate “It’s a Start” or below and aren’t doing enough for people, the planet, and animals. Keep reading to discover the ratings of the most well-known sneaker brands. This article is based on the brands’ ratings published between February 2022 and May 2023, and may not reflect claims the brand has made since then. Our ratings analysts are constantly rerating the thousands of brands you can check on our directory.

Most sneaker brands aren’t doing enough for people, the planet, and animals

Sneakers are a beloved wardrobe staple. They offer comfort, style, and versatility like no other footwear. Whether you’re rocking a classic pair of Converse Chuck Taylors or embracing the latest Adidas Ultraboosts, sneakers have become a symbol of contemporary fashion, catering to our ever-evolving lifestyles.

But unlike our faithful running or gym shoes, which tend to stick around for a few seasons, trendy sneakers have taken on a different life cycle. In a world where trends change as quickly as social media feeds refresh, sneakers have become more than just shoes: they are symbols of identity, statements of style, and sometimes even status symbols. These fashionable kicks, often driven by the fast fashion industry, have transformed our perception of sneakers. We’ve been conditioned to pounce on a fresh pair as soon as the previous trend wanes.

As a result, sneakers flood the market at astonishing rates. According to data from Future Market Insights, the global sneaker market was estimated to be worth a staggering $72,232 million in 2022. And the projection for 2032? An eye-popping $139,876 million.

It’s no surprise then that fast fashion giants, like SHEIN, have eagerly embraced the sneaker trend, offering them at incredibly low prices—as low as $7. These bargain basement prices might seem tempting, but they often come at a steep cost to the environment and the people who make them.

So, amidst this sneaker frenzy, what about the big players? The giants of the sneaker world, like Adidas and Nike, have undeniably dominated this ever-expanding market for decades. But how do these colossal brands fare when it comes to sustainability? How are they impacting people, the planet, and animals? How do the biggest sneaker brands on the market rate?

While a few sneaker brands may earn a rating of “It’s a Start” on sustainability measures, sadly, the largest and most renowned sneaker brands are, for the most part, falling short in their efforts to lower their impact on the Earth and its inhabitants.

How do the biggest sneaker brands rate?

The “Good” rated brand


Rated: Good

Puma has taken some steps in the right direction by using more responsible materials, including recycled materials. It also supports industry organisations that work to address the impacts of microplastics and has set a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated from its own operations and supply chain, which it is on track to meet. But the lack of diversity and inclusion policies, and more importantly, the lack of evidence the brand pays its workers a living wage in its entire supply chain and not just in the final production stage, is worrying.

See the rating.

The brands that are making a start

The following brands have taken some steps in the right direction, but they’re still not quite there yet. You can read more in our article about what our “It’s a Start” rating really means.

The main issue remains that many of these aren’t paying workers a living wage. The reality is that there’s no evidence that the vast majority of major brands, in general, pay living wages. We found that 86% of the world’s most profitable fashion brands either don’t disclose anything about living wages or are confirmed to not pay living wages at any stage of the supply chain. Workers in all industries deserve to be paid enough to ensure they and their loved ones can live a life of safety, health, and dignity.


Rated: It's A Start

Though Nike has a few promising environmental measures in place, it’s clear that the company should be doing more and needs to make serious changes in most areas.

For example, Nike claims to have a program to improve wages but there’s no evidence it ensures its workers are paid living wages in most of its supply chain. And while it’s set a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both its direct operations and supply chain, we found no evidence it is on track.

See the rating.


Rated: It's A Start

Jordan is owned by Nike so it doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s also received an “It’s a Start” rating.

Like Nike, Jordan still has a long way to go to reduce its impact on people, the planet, and animals. In particular, it should incorporate more lower-impact materials in its designs and take actions to protect the biodiversity in its supply chain. And while it has a social auditing program certified by Fair Labor Association (FLA) and claims to have a program to improve wages, there’s no evidence Jordan ensures its workers are paid living wages in most of its supply chain.

See the rating.


Rated: It's A Start

While Converse has made a start in each category, it has a way to go before achieving a higher score. For such a profitable company, there really is no excuse not to implement a living wage or pay more attention to the treatment of animals in the supply chain.

See the rating.


Rated: It's A Start

Vans needs to strengthen its environmental practices by setting targets and using more lower-impact materials. It also needs to improve its labour conditions by implementing worker empowerment initiatives, but more importantly, by making sure workers are paid a living wage.

See the rating.

The brands we’d recommend you avoid

As consumers, you have the right to know how the products you buy affect the issues you care about. The brands listed below do not communicate sufficient information about their environmental and labour policies or do very little to reduce their impact on people, the planet, and animals, which is why we gave these brands our two lowest ratings: “Not Good Enough” and “We Avoid”.


Rated: Not Good Enough

While Adidas has shown that it is making progress in terms of sustainability and labour rights, at the end of the day the brand is still very much a part of the fast fashion industry. Producing huge quantities of garments and shoes (most of which are not made from lower-impact materials) has disastrous effects not only on the environment, but also on workers who often have to work long hours for very little pay in order to reach production targets.

See the rating.


Rated: Not Good Enough

We rate ASICS “Not Good Enough” overall. The brand uses too few lower-impact materials and while it has set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, we found no evidence it’s on track to meet its target. There’s also no evidence it’s taking actions to minimise microplastic impacts or to protect biodiversity in its supply chain.

There’s no evidence that ASICS has programs or policies to empower women in its supply chain, which can lead to promotions and higher wages, that it supports diversity and inclusion in its supply chain. Like other big sportswear brands, the brand isn’t paying workers a living wage.

See the rating.

New Balance

Rated: Not Good Enough

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 workers in most of its supply chain.

See the rating.


Rated: Not Good Enough

We rate FILA “Not Good Enough”. The brand uses few lower-impact materials, and there’s no evidence it reduces its climate impacts, textile waste, and hazardous chemicals in manufacturing.

What’s really worrying is that none of FILA’s supply chain is certified by labour standards and that there is no evidence the brand ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain. What’s more, FILA has been linked with sourcing cotton from the Xinjiang region in China at risk of using Uyghur forced labour and has taken insufficient steps to remediate.

See the rating.


Rated: We Avoid

Unfortunately, since the acquisition of Reebok by Authentic Brands Group in 2022 (from Adidas), a lack of transparency and action by the parent company and through the supply chain has left Reebok in a nosedive to the bottom with a final overall score of “We Avoid”. The most worrying part is Reebok’s lack of transparency when it comes to its labour practices and efforts to protect the people in its supply chain. Unless Authentic Brands Group takes some major steps for people, the planet, and animals in the near future, we can’t see Reebok’s score improving any time soon.

See the rating.

Check out better-rated sneaker brands

Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. Use our directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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