23 OF THE BEST SUSTAINABLE SNEAKER BRANDS TO KNOW IN 2021

While sustainable clothing is making strides to improve the environmental impact of the fashion industry, a lot of progress still needs to be made with the shoe industry.

Did you know that less than 5% of shoes are being recycled?

This is why selecting shoes made from sustainable materials as well as recycling your sneakers at the end of their life is so important.

To learn about end of life shoe recycling programs, you can skip to the end of this post here.


Below are 23 amazing sustainable sneaker brands to look into the next time you’re in the market for new sneakers, organized by sneaker type.

Wondering how this list was compiled?

Check out this guide which explains the criteria to consider when shopping for sustainable fashion.

For reference, pricing is in USD.

Price Range:

$ = typically under $100

$$ = typically under $150

$$$ = typically under $200

$$$$ = typically $200+


Best Brands for Casual Sustainable Sneakers

Alice & Whittles

Alice and Whittles offers functional and minimalistic footwear.

They carry sneakers, hiking boots, rain boots, boot laces, insoles.

Based in Ontario, ship worldwide

They use natural fair trade rubber, re-claimed ocean plastics, recycled PET, vegan water based glue, 100% recycled post-industrial leather

Price Range: $$

All of its supply chain is traced

Favorite Item: Minimalist Black Luxa Sneaker


AKS

AKS offers handmade embroidered sneakers which are biodegradable

They carry high top and low top sneakers

Based in California

They use organic cotton and natural rubber

Certifications: Fair Trade, FSC, PETA

Price: $$

Favorite Item: Taupe Feather High Top


Arcas Bear

They carry sneakers and accessories

They use pre-consumer recycled cotton, recycled water bottles, cork, recycled rubber

Certifications: PETA, GOTS, Certified B Corporation, One Tree Planted

Give Back Programs: 2 trees planted with every sneaker purchase, Return to Recycle Program which offers a discount on next purchase when sneakers are returned to them at the end of their life

Price: $$$

Favorite Item: Earth Energy Sneakers


Cariuma

They carry men’s and women’s sneakers

Based in Brazil

They use rubber, bamboo, organic cotton, sugarcane, cork, mamona oil, recycled PET, leather and suede, Bluesign Certified dyes

Certifications: GOTS, Global Recycled Standard, FSC, OCIA International, OEKO-TEX, Leather Working Group, I’m Green, Bluesign

They use recycled and recyclable packaging, offer carbon neutral shipping through DHL Go Green

Give Back Programs: 2 trees planted with every sneaker purchase

Price: $

Favorite Item: IBI Sun Yellow Knit


Ethletic

They carry high top and low top sneakers

Based in Germany

They use organic cotton, natural rubber

Certifications: Fair Trade, PETA, FSC

They subsidize repairs for their shoes to extend their life

Price: $$

Favorite Item: Fair Sneaker HIRO II Shell


Etiko

They carry men’s, women’s and kids’ apparel, shoes and accessories

Based in Australia

They use organic cotton, natural rubber, non-toxic dyes

Certifications: CarbonSocial, Fair Trade, GOTS, Social Traders Certified, Certified B Corporation

They use shoe boxes made from post-consumer waste

Price: $

Favorite Item: Lowcuts White Organic Fairtrade


Flamingo’s Life

Based in Spain

They use corn waste, bamboo, organic cotton, hemp, linen, upcycled materials

Certifications: PETA, USDA, GOTS

Price: $$

Favorite Item: Roland V.3 Tricolor Ivory


Komodo

They carry men’s and women’s apparel, shoes and accessories

Based in England

They use organic cotton, natural rubber, recycled PET, Tencel, linen, bamboo, rayon, hemp, wool

Certifications: GOTS, FSC, 1% for the Planet

Price: $

Favorite Item: Eco Sneako Classic Women’s Mint


Natural World

They carry men’s, women’s and kids’ shoes

Based in Spain

They use organic cotton, rubber, suede

Certifications: GOTS

Their packaging is made from 100% recycled cardboard that is recyclable

Price: $

Favorite Item: Ica


Po-Zu

They carry men’s and women’s shoes

Based in England

They use cork, eco-microfibre, natural latex, organic cotton, coconut fibre, linen, Pinatex

Certifications: GOTS, OEKO-TEX, Fair Rubber

Price: $

Favorite Item: Sneak V Natural Cork


Rens

They carry men’s and women’s sneakers

They use coffee, recycled plastic, recycled polyester, natural rubber

They use 100% recycled cardboard packaging

Price: $$

Favorite Item: Women’s Coffee Sneakers


Womsh

They carry men’s and women’s sneakers, women’s boots

Based in Italy, ships worldwide

They use chrome-free leather from slaughtering waste, AppleSkin, polyurethane, recycled organic cotton, recycled PET

They use recycled packaging

Price Range: $$$$

Most of its supply chain is traced

Favorite Item: Vegan Kingston White Silver Black


Best Brands for Elevated Casual Sustainable Sneakers

Elk

They carry women’s apparel, shoes, accessories and men’s accessories

Based in Australia

They use leather, MMCFS, cotton, wool

Certifications: Leather Working Group

Their shoe boxes are made from recycled cardboard

Price Range: $$$$

Favorite Item: Luvos Sneaker


Lanius

They carry women’s apparel, shoes and accessories

Based in Germany

They use organic cotton, wool, hemp, organic linen, Tencel, Lenzing-Ecovero, silk, econyl, vegetable-tanned leather

Certifications: GOTS, FSC

They use FSC certified paper packaging

Price: $$$$

Favorite Item: Sneakers Made of Leather


Rothy’s

They carry women’s shoes and accessories

Based in California

They use knit made recycled from recycled materials such as plastic water bottles, marine plastic

Price: $$$

Favorite Item: The Sneaker in Camo Cat

Best Brands for Sustainable Running Sneakers

Allbirds

They offer men’s and women’s shoes, apparel and accessories

Based in California

They use ZQ Merino certified wool, Tencel Lyocell, SweetFoam made from sugarcane, eucalyptus tree fibres, recycled plastic bottles, recycled nylon, TrinoXO

Certifications: FSC, Certified B Corporation

Price: $$

Favorite Item: Women’s Tree Dashers


Ecoalf

They carry men’s, women’s and kids’ apparel, shoes and accessories

Based in Spain

They use recycled polyester, recycled nylon, recycled cotton, recycled wool, recycled tires, post-consumer coffee grounds

Certifications: Bluesign

Give Back Programs: ECOALF Foundation

Price: $$

Favorite: Oregon Sneakers Women


Nae

They carry women’s boots, flats, sandals, sneakers, heels, men’s boots, sneakers, sandals

Based in Portugal, ships worldwide

They use Pinatex, organic cotton, cork, recycled PET, vegan leather (mix of cotton, polyester and nylon)

Certications: PETA

Price: $$

Favorite Item: Jor Re-PET White Vegan Sneaker


Native Shoes

They carry men’s, women’s and kids’ shoes

Based in British Columbia

They use microfibre, recycled elastalite, rubber, algae

Price: $

Favorite Item: Apollo 2.0


Veja

They carry men’s, women’s and kids’ shoes

Based in France

They use recycled plastic bottles, ricinus oil, sugar cane, latex, rubber

Price: $$

Favorite Item: Nautico Pierre Black


Will’s Vegan Store

They carry women’s shoes, accessories, knitwear, men’s shoes, accessories, knitwear, kids’ shoes

Based in UK, ships worldwide

They use vegan leather, rubber, vegan suede

Certications: PETA

They use non-treated paper and cardboard packaging.

Price Range: $$

Favorite Item: WVSport Freedom Trainers


For a deep dive into some of the materials mentioned in this list, check out this post.

What to Look for When Selecting Sustainable Sneakers

Below is a guide with the best materials to look for when shopping for sustainable sneakers.

sustainable sneakers

How to Care for Sustainable Sneakers

To remove dirt or dust, gently wipe with a dry cloth.

For more persistent stains, or a deep cleaning, separate all parts of the shoe, starting with removing the laces and insoles.

Some shoes can be put into the washing machine in a delicates bag and washed on the gentle cycle with cold water.

Always check the care guide of the particular brand of sustainable sneakers you’ve purchased for information about whether or not the shoes can go into the washing machine.

When in doubt, hand washing is your best option.

To clean, using a toothbrush or soft scrubbing brush dipped in warm, soapy water, gently scrub the stained area.

Rinse with a wet towel, and lay out to dry.

For more information on how to sustainably care for your clothes, check out this post.

End of Life Recycling Programs

Below are some awesome recycling programs to donate your gently used shoes to.


Do you have any tips for shopping for sustainable sneakers?

Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time,

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