Our ethical and sustainable sneaker edit
Tread lightly with these fab finds
Whether you’re hitting the gym, the streets or the great outdoors, sneakers are a wardrobe staple that most of us can’t live without. But they’re also one of the many items often produced by unethical manufacturing practices. The good news is that as more and more business recognise the need for both ethical and sustainable practices, there’s more good for mankind and good for the planet options. So, if you want to tread lightly (and still be on trend), look no further than our favourite sustainable sneakers.
Adidas have a host of sustainable initiatives currently in play, like their upcycled marine plastic waste initiative, Parley Ultraboost as well as Stella McCartney vegan Stan Smiths. This year alone, the company has produced up to 20 million pairs of shoes made from recycled plastics and by 2024 they will use only recycled polyester in all of their products. The streetwear favourite rates well in terms of ethical production, transparency and sustainable initiatives, plus, they’re a tried and tested favourite almost guaranteeing #30wears.
These ethically made sneakers have basically broken the internet thanks to their cool minimalist design and cult following. They’re made in Brazil from sustainably-sourced rubber, vegetable-tanned leather, organic cotton and uppers made from recycled bottles. Workers and suppliers are paid above minimum wage and work under ethical conditions. Some styles can feel a little stiff as we’ve experiences first hand, they soften nicely after a few wears.
Taeger prioritises socially and environmentally sustainable design via small-batch, handmade production, and by using sustainable and recycled materials. Their ‘Blanc Cupsole’ is made using chrome-free leather and sustainably-sourced rubber. We love them because they go with pretty much everything any they’re comfy to boot!
They’ve been described as “the world’s most comfortable shoe”, All Birds are all about simplistic design. There’s no flashy logos just great shoes made from natural materials like Merino wool, eucalyptus tree fibres and sugar cane. They also offer a 30-day return period, so if you don’t love them after a month you can return them, no questions asked. As well as sneakers they’ve just dropped a range of clothing too.
Getting back to nature is at the core of Vivobarefoot. Its design philosophy is centred around sensory experience – we have over 200,000 nerve endings in our feet and letting our feet, well, be feet like our ancestors. Plus, each pair is made from 17 recycled bottles. They’re designed to last but if you do manage to wear them out they have a refurbishing program that’ll have you back hiking, jogging or just getting about in your everyday life in no time.
As well as priding themselves on ethical manufacturing and using vegan, organic and recycled materials, Saye also plants two trees for every pair of sneakers sold (so far they’ve 98,016). They’ve also restored 118 hectares of land. We love their old-school tennis shoe vibe, and they also have a vegan range with three different styles.
Reebok have recently introduced a collection of both recycled clothing and footwear with the launch of their Reecycled collection. The Nano X and Zig Kenetica shoes have benefited from an upgrade of more than 50 per cent recycled materials. They come in both men’s and women’s sizes and styles.
Made from 50 per cent recycled cotton, Everlane’s Forever Sneaker is the type of shoe you could get used to wearing, for well, forever! They come in five wardrobe-friendly neutral colourways as well as men’s and women’s sizing. what’s more, the entire shoe can also be recycled at the end of its lifecycle.