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The 15 Most Ethical & Sustainable Sneaker Brands in 2023

the best eco friendly sneakers
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Konstantina Antoniadou

01/02/2023

Looking for the most ethical and sustainable sneaker brands to upgrade your casual shoe game in the most eco-conscious way possible? From affordable sustainable sneakers to ultra-stylish recycled sneakers, our list will help you find your next ethical sneaker crush!

This post is about sustainable sneaker brands.

the most eco friendly sneakers
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Let’s be honest. If you are a comfort-seeker, sporting sustainable sneakers fresh from the box may feel more like an act of self-care rather than a sartorial purchase. Luckily, we are experts at spotting the best sustainable shoe brands to help you fill in any gaps in your footwear lineup. 

Whether it’s in the form of hiker-approved barefoot sneakers or inherently cool skateboarding kicks. Long gone are the days when the most ethical sneaker companies offered just a few options with the same colorways.

In 2023, affordable sustainable sneakers come in a variety of silhouettes, colors, and materials!

From apple skin leather low-tops and organic cotton canvas sneakers to Fair Trade shoes made of recycled plastic bottles, the options are truly endless. The most ethical sneaker brands are here to outfit us with light, breathable, and waterproof footwear that’s equipped with unique technologies. 

Think built-in arch support, high-performance midsoles that are big on cushion and energy return, and toe boxes that are wide enough to allow for natural stability. 

What are ethical sneakers?

Ethical sustainable sneakers are made to last with high-quality, sustainable materials or even recycled materials. Each pair is designed to have less impact on the environment, meaning less energy consumption, fewer natural resources, and a strong focus on recyclability.

Ethical shoes are also often made of responsibly-sourced leather straight from certified tanneries using ethical methods and materials which are not harmful and less wasteful for people and the environment. This means that the raw material is a byproduct of local farming and agriculture industries.

On top of that, the term “ethical” can also refer to vegan products. This includes natural textiles like organic cotton and real leather alternatives like apple skin leather.

Companies thrive on setting new standards with fair and transparent supply chains, and ethically sourced materials. Even the packaging is either recyclable or recycled to help us minimize our carbon footprint even more. 

Which sneaker brand is the most ethical?

Allbirds is amongst the best ethical sneaker brands of 2023. They use recycled and natural materials like ZQ Merino Wool, eucalyptus tree fibers, and recycled PET plastic to create their affordable sustainable sneakers for runners, hikers, and city lovers. Veja is another fantastic eco-friendly sneaker brand that works with direct suppliers, uses regenerative cotton, and focuses on a circular fashion economy highlighting repairs and recycling.

Which sneaker brands are biodegradable?

Veja creates almost 100% biodegradable sneakers for every taste. Most of the components in our shoes are biodegradable except for the lining and rubber additives in the sole. The latter components are made of recycled polyester or recycled cotton.

Which sneaker brands do not use sweatshops?

Some of the most sustainable ethical sneaker brands that don’t use sweatshops are Veja, Allbirds, Nisolo, Thousand Fell, Cariuma, Flamingos Life, Native and Ethletic. Every pair is crafted in safe and healthy working environments by skilled workers who are treated well and paid fairly for their work. 

This post is about the best sustainable sneakers for men and women.

The most ethical sneaker brands for a sustainable wardrobe

Wills Vegan is our favorite sustainable destination for made-to-last vegan handbags and oh-so-chic vegan leather boots. But did you know that they also carry our favorite ethical sneakers? 

Their collection is made in small batches in Italy and Portugal. Aside from being certified carbon-neutral, the brand meets Oeko Tex 100 and REACH regulations. 

Breathable and water resistant, some are equipped with 100% recycled polyester mesh knit while others feature vegan leather made with plants using bio oil sourced from organic cereal crops grown in Northern Europe. How amazing is that?

Price: $79.00+

Sizes: 5.5-11 USA | 36-42 EU

Ethics: Certified Sustainable Vegan Leather, Made In Small Batches In Europe, Carbon Neutral, Plastic-Free Packaging, Solar Energy, Fair Wages

Location & Shipping: USA, Worldwide Shipping Available

Shop Will’s Vegan Here

Sustainable vegan sneakers from Wills' Vegan:

Cariuma is one of the most ethical sneaker brands that solely uses fair trade certified cotton and natural, sustainably-sourced rubber and ethical leather. 

What’s more, their 6 different sneaker styles are all equipped with laces, labels, uppers, and threads made from recycled plastic bottles. Because of their love of skateboarding, each style is specifically designed to meet strict comfort and durability demands. 

We especially love their classic, white canvas low tops, but you can also find high-tops and slip-ons!

Price: $79+

Sizes: 5-13 USA

Ethics: Sustainable & Recycled Materials, Carbon-Neutral B-Corporation, Fair Labor, Renewable Energy

Location & Shipping: USA, worldwide shipping available

Shop Cariuma Here

Our favorite sustainable sneakers from Cariuma:

Nisolo is lauded as one of the most transparent and ethical sneaker brands with ridiculously stylish and extremely comfy kicks that are designed and produced with raw materials that are durable, timeless, and have less impact on the environment. 

Their everyday sneakers for women feature recycled (rPET) knitting made from plastic water bottles and Green EVA” shock-absorbing, breathable insoles.. Plus, the water-resistant upper materials and waterproof outsoles make them ideal for all seasons. In other words, you just found your next favorite affordable sustainable sneakers

Price: $124+

Sizes: 5-11 USA

Ethics:  Safe and Fair Labor Standards, Climate Neutral Certified Brand, Leather Working Group Certified, Recyclable packaging

Location & Shipping: USA, Ships to USA, UK & Canada

Shop Nisolo Here

Our favorite ethical sneakers from Nisolo:

Thousand Fell is ready to upgrade our sneaker rotation with affordable sustainable kicks that are super comfortable, breathable, built to last, and designed to be recycled at the end of life. 

Each pair is made of bioleather fabric with a natural quartz coating to repel stains and liquid (think water resistant).

The material is a sustainable vegan combination of corn waste, coconut husk, and recycled bottles that look and feel better than leather. 

Price: $125+

Sizes: 5-10 USA

Ethics: Zero-Waste Brand, Fully Recyclable Materials, Vegan, Ethically Made, Sustainable Packaging

Location & Shipping: USA, ships to Canada

Shop Thousand Fell Here

Sustainable sneakers from Thousand Fell:

Allbirds uses water-repellent Puddle Guard® technology in their sustainable ZQ Merino wool sneakers to help keep shoes from getting soggy.

Styles like the “Tree Dasher” laceless running shoe are crafted from fully renewable materials such as leftover stock yarn. Runners will especially appreciate the new “Tree Flyers” which has a  high-performance midsole that is big on cushion and energy return, making long runs easier on your body.

Now, let’s add the lightweight, breathable eucalyptus fiber to the mix and we’ve got the epitome of comfort and performance!

Price: $110+

Sizes: 5-11 USA

Ethics: Sustainable & Renewable Materials, Vegan Options Available, Responsible Energy, Carbon Offsetting, Ethical Manufacturing

Location & Shipping: USA, worldwide shipping available

Shop Allbirds Here

Flamingos Life creates ethical fair trade sneakers made of recycled plastic bottles, organic cotton, and natural rubber as well as corn waste and bamboo. 

Each pair captures the zeitgeist of the 70s, 80s, or 90s – which we absolutely adore. Now, If you are a fan of hi-tops, they’ve got you covered too! 

Even cooler: for each pair of retro 90s purchased, Flamingos Life donates to Aqua, an NGO that brings clean water to remote areas of Uganda. Stylish, retro, and incredibly sustainable, what more can we ask from the perfect pair of ethical sneakers?

Price: $140+

Sizes: 5-12.5 USA | 36-46 EU

Ethics: Recycled And Sustainable Materials, Fair Trade, Donations, Eco-Friendly Packaging

Location & Shipping: Spain, worldwide shipping available 

Shop Flamingos Life Here

Veja needs no introductions! The inherently cool recycled sneakers brand produces sustainable shoes by giving a new life to waste and turning them into higher quality and more valuable products. 

The brand has created their own innovative B-Mesh fabric that is light, breathable, and waterproof. On top of that, the colorways and slew of different silhouettes will certainly match your aesthetic with ease. 

From all-white low tops to bold high-tops and ethical alternatives to new balance silhouettes, the options are endless.

Price: $130+

Sizes: 4-10 USA | 35-47 EU

Ethics: Vegan options, B-Corp Certified, Fair-trade

Location & Shipping: France, worldwide shipping

Shop Veja Here

Expertly artisan hand-crafted inside their own community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sole Rebels’ ethical sneakers are lovingly designed for maximum performance, comfort, and style. 

In addition to recycled car tire soles, all styles incorporate as many recycled and sustainable materials as possible. Their range includes flats, lace-ups, slip-ons, boots, and more. Granted, these are not your typical monochromatic sneakers. They are enhanced by the artist’s unique creative eye which makes them even more precious. 

Price: $149.99+

Sizes: 5-12 USA

Ethics: Ethically Made By Hand In Africa, Responsible And Recycled Materials, Community Empowerment

Location & Shipping: USA, free worldwide shipping available

Shop Sole Rebels Here

Native, one the most beloved sustainable sneaker brands, makes it easy for “all to live lightly”. Their collection of 100% animal-free footwear includes fantastic ethical sneakers made with repurposed algae using ‘Rise by Bloom’ technology. 

The result? Cool-to-look-at, lightweight, washable, sock-absorbent styles that are also odor resistant! Plus, these affordable sustainable sneakers come in an array of color options – from light pink to black. 

Price: $73+

Sizes: 5-12 USA

Ethics: Sustainable & Vegan Materials, Eco-Friendly Manufacturing, Recycling Initiatives

Location & Shipping: USA

Shop Native Shoes Here

Maximalists, rejoice! Oliver Cabell’s ethical sneakers are “ handcrafted by someone who truly lives and breathes the shoemaking process” with the help of old-school shoe-making techniques. 

Most styles have a distressed twist coupled with buttery Italian calfskin leather and margom outsoles. Other options are even louder with all-over animal prints and subtle bursts of color. No worries, there are also many vegan ethical sneaker options ranging from all-white to sparkly.

Price: $219+

Sizes: 5-12 USA

Ethics: Ethical Leather & Vegan Options, Made In Italy By Hand, Fair Working Conditions 

Location & Shipping: USA, worldwide shipping available

Shop Oliver Cabell Here

Are you on a quest to find the most ethical sneaker brands? Ethletic deserves a place on your shopping list. All pairs are made from fairtrade-certified organic cotton and are 100% cruelty-free. On top of all that, their designs are absolutely gorgeous.

They have partly padded canvas boots as well as skateboard-style sneakers in tartan or tweed. Now, if you prefer something more classic, you can have a look at their 8 different collections to choose your new shoemate.

Price: $79.90+

Sizes: 5-12 USA | 36-47 EU

Ethics: PETA Vegan Approved, Fair Trade Award Winners

Location & Shipping: Germany, ships to EU and USA. 

Shop Ethletic Here

Po-Zu is an award-winning sustainable footwear brand known for their ethical production processes and innovative design. Currently, they have 4 different shoe styles –all hand made in Portugal – featuring a removable, highly comfortable all natural 100% cork footbed.

The brand uses recycled outsoles and VEGEA, a 100% vegan covered solvent-free, animal-friendly material, manufactured in Italy.

Price: $45+

Sizes: 5.5-11 USA  | 36-42 EU

Ethics: Handmade, Recycled And Sustainable Materials, Fair Labor

Location & Shipping: UK, worldwide shipping available

Shop Po-Zu Here

Aside from being one of the most ethical sneaker brands on the eco market, Vivobarefoot is also a fantastic e-destination for everyone who prefers barefoot shoes for healthy running and hiking. 

The B Corp puts much emphasis on monitoring their entire supply chain while using recycled all-weather mesh textiles across their collections. You can also find options made with merino wool and wild hide leather that are wide enough to allow for natural stability.

Of course, plenty of vegan options are also equipped with the brand’s signature waterproof technology and water-resistant treatment uppers with a hi-tech seal. 

Price: $99 +

Sizes: 5-11.5 USA

Ethics: Sustainable & Recycled Materials, Fair Labor, B-Certified Corporation, Livebarefoot Fund

Location & Shipping: USA, worldwide shipping available 

Shop Vivobarefoot Here

Susty sneakers with a trend-driven edge? Yes, please! Just like all our favorite sustainable sneaker brands, Womsh creates footwear that respects the planet and those who live on it. 

The company uses a mixture of bio-based and certified-origin materials which include AppleSkin for their vegan collection. 

Some options have an ultra-stylish, sporty vibe that rests on a personalized exclusive outsole while others have a sleek, street style-approved elevated colored heel. In fact, they have more than 30 different styles to choose from!

Price: $190+

Sizes: 4-10.5 USA | 36-41 EU

Ethics: Sustainable Leather And Materials, Made In Italy, Carbon Offsetting, Recycling, Eco Packaging, Renewable Energy

Location & Shipping: Italy, worldwide shipping available

Shop Womsh Here

Looking for ethical sneaker brands from Australia? Look no further than Etiko. Their organic cotton 100% vegan sneakers are cruelty-free and fairtrade, meaning that they paid theirworkers a fair, living wage for their work. 

From high-top sneakers like converse with super comfy built-in arch support to wear-me-everywhere low-tops with soles made of natural latex rubber tapped from a rubber tree, there is something for everyone! What’s more, the brand uses non-toxic dyes and glues and ships every order in recycled post-consumer waste cardboard boxes.

Price: $86+

Sizes: 5.5 – 15.5 USA 

Ethics: Fair Trade, Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Non-Toxic Dyes, Sustainable Packaging

Location & Shipping: Australia, worldwide shipping available

Shop Etiko Here

This post was all about sustainable & ethical sneaker brands.

All the aforementioned ethical sneaker brands are here to outfit us with affordable sustainable sneakers that are stylish, eco-friendly, and built-to-last for many seasons. From biodegradable sneakers to wear-me-everywhere recycled sneakers, all you have to do is pick the style and color that matches your aesthetic!

If you liked this post, you’ll definitely want to check out these other posts from SKL:

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