17 Feb

The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Sneakers

On the hunt for your new favourite everyday sneaker? Discover our top picks for ethical and sustainable sneakers below.

The most daring ethical kicks on the market

Sneakers have always maintained their status as a staple piece. Rain, snow, or shine, a versatile pair of sneakers is a season-less closet favourite, giving a simple, everyday look a little more sass. Unlike our functional running or gym shoes, which stay on our shelves for a few years, “trend” sneakers are replaced more often. 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.

Here’s the lowdown on the sustainable sneaker trail-blazers that are prioritising people, the planet, and animals. First up, we’ve got a modern take on ‘wearing your values’ with sneakers from Womsh (Italy). Not to worry, if being too literal isn’t your style, classic Veja’s (France) might be a better fit for you. And last, but certainly not least, if you’re looking for a more retro look, Flamingos’ Life (Spain) has got you covered with shoes rockin’ from the ’70s and ’80s.

Lastly, 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. With that, happy browsing.

LANIUS

Rated: Good
A pair of sustainable leather sneakers by LANIUS

Leather Sneaker – Ships within Europe from Germany

Offers

A beige cropped knit sustainably made sweater by LANIUS.

LANIUS – Knits

Wrap yourself in the softest knitwear, perfect for relaxing at home or staying snug outside. Exclusive 15% off knits with code GOODONYOUxLANIUS15. (Available in Europe and the UK only) (Ends: 31 MAY)

Checkout code: GOODONYOUxLANIUS15
Shop now
An orange athleisure set ethically made by LANIUS.

LANIUS – Athleisure

LANIUS' new athleisure capsule: made from recycled nylon yarn that adapts to the body and gives free rein to your movements. Exclusive 15% off athleisure with code GOODONYOUxLANIUS15. (Available in Europe and the UK only) (Ends: 31 MAY)

Checkout code: GOODONYOUxLANIUS15
Shop now
A loose fit pair of light green shorts made responsibly by LANIUS.

LANIUS – Trousers

From classy to flirty, but always responsible: LANIUS pants, jeans, and shorts fit for every occasion. Exclusive 15% off pants with code GOODONYOUxLANIUS15. (Available in Europe and the UK only) (Ends: 31 MAY)

Checkout code: GOODONYOUxLANIUS15
Shop now
A white and blue striped t-shirt sustainably made by LANIUS.

LANIUS – Tops

Delicate, minimalist, ethical tops and t-shirts that can be combined in many ways. Exclusive 15% off tops with code GOODONYOUxLANIUS15. (Available in Europe and the UK only) (Ends: 31 MAY)

Checkout code: GOODONYOUxLANIUS15
Shop now
A hot pink ethically made puff sleeve mid length dress by LANIUS.

LANIUS – Dresses

Fair and organic fashion with a feminine touch. Noble looks that radiate liveliness. Exclusive 15% off dresses with code GOODONYOUxLANIUS15. (Available in Europe and the UK only) (Ends: 31 MAY)

Checkout code: GOODONYOUxLANIUS15
Shop now

“Love Fashion, Think Organic, Be Responsible” are the maxims of LANIUS. The brand uses eco-friendly materials, like GOTS certified cotton. All LANIUS facilities are SA8000 certified and it is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation. These sneakers are made from chrome-free vegetable tanned leather, so not one for the vegans. Find the shoes in EU sizes 36-42.

See the rating.

Shop LANIUS.

Womsh

Rated: Good
white choose the change womsh sneakers

Vegan Snik White Silver – Ships internationally from Italy

“Womsh” is an acronym for Word of Mouth Shoes, referring to shoes that communicate and convey a message of sustainability and respect for the environment. In 2014, the Italian brand began producing sustainable footwear, combining traditional craftsmanship with ethical production. Their effortless and fresh design fuses Stan Smith and Golden Goose making a statement without ever saying a word. By using non-toxic, raw materials Womsh limits the production of hazardous waste and harmful emissions. While not entirely vegan, the brand does boast an extensive animal-free line. Find the shoes in EU sizes 35-42 for women, and 40-46 for men.

See the rating.

Shop Womsh.

CARIUMA

Rated: Good

OCA Low – Ships internationally from Brazil

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. These off-white canvas kicks are perfect for walks in the park, city, and pretty much everything in between. Find CARIUMA’s shoes in US sizes 5-13.

See the rating.

Shop CARIUMA.

Etiko

Rated: Great
white low cut etiko sneakers

Low Cut Sneakers White – Ships internationally from Australia

Etiko is a small family owned business that has won several sustainability awards and all products are vegan and Fairtrade certified. The Australian brand produces ethical hi-top and low-cut sneakers in a range of colors to suit any style or outfit. Find the shoes in UK sizes 3-13.

See the rating.

Shop Etiko.

Good Guys

Rated: Good

FELIX Vegan Running Shoes – Ships internationally from France

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 to 46.

See the rating.

Shop Good Guys.

Shop Good Guys @ Immaculate Vegan.

Shop Good Guys @ thegreenlabels.

Stella McCartney

Rated: Good
Woman in ethical sneakers by Stella McCartney

Loop-Lace Up Sneakers – Ships internationally from the UK

Although many luxury brands have been criticised for their wasteful and harmful practices, British designer Stella McCartney has been committed to operating a modern and responsible business for almost two decades. Since 2012, the brand has been creating sneakers out of recycled polyester and plastic waste. While a lot of the brand’s products are vegan, keep an eye out for wool and cashmere in some cases. Find Stella McCartney shoes in US sizes 5-11 for women, and 6-12 for men.

See the rating.

Shop Stella McCartney @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Stella McCartney @ Labell-D.

Shop Stella McCartney Kids Pre-Owned @ Retykle.

Shop Stella McCartney Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Stella McCartney.

Veja

Rated: Good
white veja v10 sneakers

Black V Sneakers – Ships internationally from France

Made in Brazil from recycled cotton and wild rubber, these practical sneakers from French Brand Veja are perfect for pairing with your favorite pair of jeans. While the brand has vegan options, be aware that they also use leather from Brazil. Veja shoes are available in EU sizes 35-46 for women, and 35-47 for men.

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.

NOAH

Rated: Good
white sneakers by noah

Dominique Sneakers – Ships internationally from Germany

NOAH creates cruelty-free and 100% vegan shoes and accessories. This German brand’s high-quality and long-lasting shoes are hand-crafted in Italy, using a small proportion of eco-friendly material. We love these vegan off-duty white sneakers that features a removable insole. Find them in EU sizes 35-42.

See the rating.

Shop NOAH.

Shop NOAH @ Immaculate Vegan.

COG

Rated: Good
A pair of sleek, white sustainable sneakers by COG.

WINTON WHITE/COBALT – Ships internationally from France

Based in France, COG is a footwear label that creates sustainable, vegan sneakers from 100% recycled materials, including natural corks, used cotton scraps, end-of-life rubber, and plastic bottles fished out of the sea. Find sizes in EU 35-46.

See the rating.

Shop COG.

Saye

Rated: Good
Vegan HI sneakers by Saye

Modelo ’89 Vegan Hi Yellow – Ships internationally from Spain

Saye is a Spanish footwear label that creates ecological sneakers using organic and recycled materials, restoring forests and empowering local communities. Shoes are available in sizes 36 to 46, and you can find the unisex clothing collection sizes XS to XL.

See the rating.

Shop Saye.

Shop Saye @ SlowCo.

ID.EIGHT

Rated: Good

Hana White Crinkle – Ships internationally from Italy

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 collection of sneakers with a refined design and at the same time sustainable and ethical. The shoes are made in Italy with low environmental impact materials from food industry waste such as apple peels, grape stalks and seeds, pineapple leaves, recycled cotton and polyester.

See the rating.

Shop ID.EIGHT.

Ecoalf

Rated: Good
Colorful Ecoalf sneakers

Prince Sneakers – Ships internationally from Spain

Love the look and feel of Nike but hate the brand’s unethical practices? Look no further! Spanish fashion label Ecoalf makes lightweight trainers from recycled PET bottles and renewable Sonora fibres. Ecoalf creates high-quality, long-lasting products by repurposing waste such as fishing nets, old tires, and even coffee grounds, into high-quality materials. While most of their shoes are animal-free, they do use recycled wool and down in some products. They come in EU sizes 35-42.

See the rating.

Shop Ecoalf @ Farfetch.

Shop Ecoalf @ Labell-D.

Shop Ecoalf.

Ella & Witt

Rated: Good
Colourful chunky sneakers by Ella & Witt.

GOODALL Sneakers in Red and Beige – Ships internationally from Germany

100% vegan and PETA certified, Ella & Witt is a cutting-edge German brand that offers sneakers, boots, and more. Believe it or not, these red sneaks are made from corn leather and recycled PET bottles as carrier material. Find sizes in sizes 41-47.

See the rating.

Shop Ella & Witt.

Komodo

Rated: Good
Black low top sneakers by Komodo

Eco Sneako – Ships internationally from the UK

UK brand Komodo puts people and the planet first with its ethically-sourced and eco-friendly range of menswear and womenswear. These classics do that and much more for your everyday aesthetic. The label uses some eco-friendly materials including GOTS-certified cotton and hemp, and ensures that most of its suppliers pay a living wage to their workers. Find most of the range in UK sizes 8-16.

See the rating.

Shop Komodo @ Staiy.

Shop Komodo @ Immaculate Vegan.

Shop Komodo.

Po Zu

Rated: Good
A pair of eco-friendly white and cream sneakers by Pozu

Onyx White and Cream Vegan Sneaker – Ships internationally from the UK

Ah, a classic white sneaker. Po Zu makes sure their shoes are healthy for your feet and the planet by carefully selecting ethically sourced and natural materials. The brand also uses GOTS certified cotton and reduces its carbon footprint by manufacturing its products locally. Despite an extensive vegan collection, the brand does also use leather without specifying its sources. The brand’s shoes come in EU sizes 36-42 for women, and 41-46 for men.

See the rating.

Shop Po Zu.

NAE

Rated: Good
man wearing nae sneakers

Edda Maxi Sole Sneaker – Ships internationally from Portugal

NAE is a Portuguese footwear brand using innovative materials to create shoes with “No Animal Exploitation.” These fun sneakers and the rest of the brand’s footwear line feature sustainable shoe materials including recycled PET from bottles, recycled car tires, natural cork, recycled thermoplastic, and even pineapple leaf fibre. Bonus, the brand is 100% vegan. Find NAE shoes in US sizes 5-10 for women, and 8-12 for men.

See the rating.

Shop NAE.

Shop NAE @ Staiy.

Shop NAE @ Urbankissed.

Flamingos’ Life

Rated: Good
white flamingo's life sneakers

Roland V.5 Snow Ivory – Ships to Europe, the UK, and the US from Spain

A blast from the past. Flamingos’ Life creates retro-style 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.

Elk

Rated: Good
White velcro ethical sneakers by Elk

Roscoe Trainer – Ships internationally from Australia

A pioneer of independent Australian design, Elk was founded in Melbourne in 2004. Although their sneakers are not vegan and made from cow leather, their tanneries are audited by the Leather Working Group. Elk also uses renewable energy in its supply chain and reuses most of its offcuts to minimize textile waste. Like its tanneries, Elk’s facilities are audited and follows a Code of Conduct that covers all the ILO’S Four Fundamental Freedoms principles. Elk shoes come in women’s EU sizes 36-42.

See the rating.

Shop Elk.

O.T.A

Rated: Good
A person in white sustainable sneakers by O.T.A.

Graviere Leather White – Ships internationally from France

O.T.A is a footwear label that creates recycled tire sole sneakers made in Europe. Find sizes in EU 36-46.

See the rating.

Shop O.T.A.

LOCI

Rated: Good
Loci ethical white sneakers

LØCI X REED NINE – Ships internationally from the UK

LOCI is a UK-based footwear brand that offers vegan shoes and is committed to creating sustainable luxury. Handmade in Portugal, these sneakers are 100% vegan and designed for maximum comfort. Find pieces in EU sizes 36-47.

See the rating.

Shop LOCI.

Adidas (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Pre-Owned Adidas Sneakers – Ships internationally

Adidas is one of the largest sportswear makers in the world. The company has set some good environmental and labour standards, including an absolute target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated from its own operations.

See the rating.

Shop Adidas Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

 

Nike (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Pre-Owned Nike Sneakers – Ships internationally

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.

Gucci (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Pre-Owned Gucci Sneakers – Ships internationally

Founded in 1921, Gucci is an Italian luxury fashion house that produces menswear, womenswear, as well as shoes, bags, and other accessories. The brand has good policies to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, but still uses exotic animal skin. The good news is that you can find many of Gucci's modern luxury pieces second hand.

See the rating.

Shop Gucci Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Reebok (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start
white beige reebok sneakers

Pre-Owned Reebok Sneakers – Ships internationally

Reebok has set some good environmental and labour standards over the years. It is a founding member of the Better Cotton Initiative, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and is partially certified by Bluesign.

See the rating.

Shop Reebok Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Balenciaga (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Pre-owned Balenciaga Sneakers – Ships internationally

Balenciaga is a luxury fashion house founded in 1919 by Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga in San Sebastián. The Kering-owned brand has been making some efforts to reduce its environmental impact, setting targets to reduce its direct and indirect emissions, and implementing initiatives to reduce water use.

See the rating.

Shop Balenciaga Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Alexander McQueen (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Pre-owned Alexander McQueen Sneakers – Ships internationally

The iconic British fashion house, owned by Kering and now run by Sarah Burton (who designed Catherine Middleton's dress for her wedding to Prince William), is characterised by theatrical and bright styling. The brand has started to improve its environmental practices by setting a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gases in its own operations and supply chain by 50% per unit of revenue by 2025. It also has a policy to eliminate environmental pollution from the use of chromium and other chemicals in its leather tanning processes, and implements initiatives to reduce water use. Thanks to these policies, Alexander McQueen is on the right path and stands out from the majority of luxury fashion houses.

See the rating.

Shop Alexander McQueen Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

So there you have it. A whole host of sustainable sneakers that will match your values⁠—and your outfit⁠—for many years to come.

Editor's note

Feature image via Womsh, 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 thousands of rated brands. We may earn a commission on sales with top-rated partners made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

Ethical brand ratings. There’s an app for that.

Wear the change you want to see. Download our app to discover ethical brands and see how your favourites measure up.