Sneakers have always maintained their status as a staple piece. Rain, snow, or shine, a versatile pair of sneakers is a seasonless closet favorite, giving a simple, everyday look a little more mainstream clout. Unlike our functional running or gym shoes, which stay on our shelves for a few years, ‘trend’ sneakers are replaced more often. Looking back, we’ve ogled over so many different sneaker trends from Adidas, chunky Filas, retro-style Stan Smiths, to fresh-fitting Nike Airs. But we know a lot of these brands are far from ethical, so what about sustainable sneakers?
A product of the fast fashion industry, consumers are trained to run out to buy a new pair of sneakers as soon as the previous trend has lost its momentum. But investing in a pair of ethical, good quality shoes and learning how to take care of them is ultimately more sustainable, both for the planet and for your bank account. But we understand that even sneakers made to last have a lifespan—so when your shoes cannot handle another mile, consider donating them to Soles4Souls or Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program, which eliminates waste and gives new life to an “old” product.
Over the years, shoe companies have become notorious for bad environmental and labour practices, injecting toxic dyes into the Earth and paying unlivable wages to workers in their supply chains. This is why it’s so important that we’ve found brands that are setting new standards and helping consumers align their values with their consumption patterns.
Here’s the lowdown on the trail-blazers that are prioritizing people, the planet, and animals.