Best Vegan Shoes & Eco-Sneakers Reviewed
Vegan or eco-friendly shoes probably aren’t exactly what comes first to mind for most people when searching for a new pair of sneakers or other types of shoe. However, the demand for vegan and eco-friendly clothing, including shoes, is on the rise. Shoes that lessen their impact on the environment and those that are constructed without using any animal products are sought on the principle of doing no harm or less harm to the planet and those we share it with.
Aside from ecological and animal-positive benefits, these shoes offer a number of other benefits including, generally, lower prices, natural materials like canvas, cotton and rubber, and a variety of styles and options to choose from. If you choose a shoe based on your values, you really won’t be forced to compromise function and style.
- Saucony Jazz Low Pro
- Blowfish Marley
- Very durable
- Dadawen Oxford
- Breathable upper
Many of our original shoes were eco- and vegan-friendly – made of materials recovered in our environment including hemp fibers, reeds, and woven linen and throughout the decades, canvas shoes with rubber soles have been popular so vegan-friendly shoes are not new. What is new is that there are now vegan options that are made to replace leather and suede, snakeskin and wool that act more like these also traditional materials.
Purchasing a pair of eco-friendly shoes are a great way to make a difference all while looking great in the process. We have searched the internet to bring you a list of 10 of the best options on the market for vegan shoes.
To qualify as vegan (rather than vegetarian), the shoes must be used with no animal products whatsoever, including the wool or hair of any animal. The dyes used in the shoe, if any, must have a non-animal source as well and all processes used in the manufacture of the shoe must never involve the use of animals or animal products. Not all shoes that claim to be vegan actually are. When searching for a vegan or eco-friendly shoe, it is worth doing a little research as well.
10 Best Vegan Shoes
1. Saucony Jazz Low Pro
As mentioned above, Saucony has of course chosen not to include animal products in their shoes which makes them a great choice for those looking to live out their vegan lifestyle in every aspect of life. The shoe uppers are made of hemp and canvas make them extremely high quality as well as good looking.
The outer soles on the Jazz Low Pro's are made from high-quality rubber making them durable for long walks or a day at work. The shaft of the shoe itself measures 3 Inches from the arch for a great comfy and durable fit.
Cost and Value
If your passionate about living a full-on vegan lifestyle, the Jazz Low Pro's by Saucony are definitely the shoes you should shoot for. They feature fantastic products and a durable build without sacrificing a gain in weight.
- Completely vegan
- High-quality products
- Nice pair of everyday sneakers
- Tread can be a little lacking
2. Blowfish Marley
The laces on this pair of sneakers are suited specifically for stretch and on the go fitting while also being very mobile when on foot.
Textured Rubber Outsole
The outer sole on this pair of sneakers is durable and great for everyday wear. In addition, Blowfish included an added toe bumper for extra protection when on the go.
Cost and Value
When considering the top of the line design this shoe features, the price being asked is far from being expensive. The vegan materials are high quality and the design is sure to be eye-catching when on foot.
- Vegan friendly
- 10 colors
- Great desgin
- Can be a little tight
3. Dr. Martens Alfie
The outsole on this boot is abrasion resistant and durable. Though it’s not as thick as most Dr Martens soles, it still offers reasonable traction and shock absorption. Inspired by sneakers, the shoe also has a very durable canvas upper in a choice of three colors.
Inspired by athletic shoes, the shoes feature a padded collar for additional comfort around the ankle. It’s lightweight and won’t fatigue your foot. The insole is also padded and the midsole and outsole will both disperse the impact of shock away from your heels and forefoot, leaving you with comfortable feet.
Cost and Value
These shoes are priced in the mid-range for shoes on this list. They are a fashionable, vegan-friendly shoe that is contemporary and modern while retaining classic style elements. It’s a durable and sturdy shoe that does not sacrifice comfort for a sturdy build.
- Durable canvas upper
- Abrasion-resistant sole
- Classic but modern
- Comfortably lined
- Sportwear inspired
- Canvas is rough
4. Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81
The EVA midsoles included on this pair of vegan sneakers makes for fantastic flex as well as cushioning. With the inclusion of the two-tone soles, the comfort that's added makes these sneakers great for casual usage.
The TPU Heel included creates enhanced stability providing the runner with fantastic shock absorption and traction. A great feature for day to day walking as well.
Cost and Value
The fairly cheap price tag is quite welcome seeing as this vegan sneaker has a fantastic design and is very versatile. The materials used are very durable as well as comfortable making for a great everyday casual sneaker.
5. Dr. Martens Vegan 1460
Dr. Martens sole is slip resistant. It is also abrasion resistant, fat resistant and oil resistant. Resistance for miles and miles of wear in an extremely durable sole. Great for work, kitchens, garages or anywhere else you may need to work, it also makes an impact as a fashion boot.
Dr. Martens has a collection of vegan friendly shoes, including their classic 1460 boot. The original that started it all – the boot is constructed of a synthetic material yet is soft and supple. It also has a very cook, subtle two-tone finish.
Cost and Value
These boots are priced in the mid-range and are comparable in cost to the leather 1460, so you’re not paying a premium for the ‘vegan’ label. It is a beautifully finished boot, durable, comfortable, shock-absorbing and iconic.
- Non-leather upper
- Soft & supple
- Comfortable insole
- Shock-absorbing outsole
- Lace up
- Classic style
- Scuffs easier than leather
6. Etnies Jamesons 2 Eco
Just like the Stan Smith Sneakers by Adidas, the Jamesons 2 come on over 50 color ways making sure you can match your apparel perfectly.
Protection and Comfort
Seeing as this sneaker, in particular, is primarily used as a skate shoe, the low top design looks sleek and provides a lot of protection given its lack in ankle support. The Jamesons 2 feature a faux-Vulc cupsole construction and a thinly padded tongue and collar for a nice mix of comfort and protection.
Cost and Value
The Jamesons 2 by Etnies are a fantastic choice for an everyday sneaker especially if you're an avid skateboarder. Ultimately these shoes look great and the eco-friendly additions are of course welcomed. In addition, the faux-Vulc cupsole and padded tongue really add a lot of value for quite a budget shoe.
- A great skate shoe
- Well built
- Protective and comfortable
- No vegan additions
7. Sanuk TKO
The Vulcanized construction featured on the TKO's have a Jute inspired rubber outsole and no animal products for a truly vegan sneaker.
Sanuk implemented a removable and anti-microbial innersole designed to reduce odor-causing bacteria making sure your sneakers stay clean and smelling good.
Cost and Value
The Sanuks are a fantastic budget everyday sneaker if you're on the lookout for a pair of vegan shoes. With a hippie-inspired design and fantastic materials you really can't go wrong!
- Look great
- Removable inner sole
- Moc toe construction
- Padded collar
- Vulcanized contruction
- Complaints about durability
8. KEEN Sienna MJ
The simple style of this Mary Jane is timeless. It’s a cute shoe that will pair well with any casual outfit and business casual wear. The shoe is more than just a classic style however, it is designed for comfort and ease of use with an elastic gore instep strap for slip-on ease and a secure fit.
Footbed & lining
The metatomical PU footbed in the Sienna is removable so that you can use your own custom insole or orthotic if you wish. It is also treated with a Cleansport NXT for natural odor control. The canvas lining is comfortable and will keep your feet dry, which only adds to the comfort of the shoe.
Cost and Value
These shoes are priced in the upper end of the range of shoes on the list. Still a value, they are comfortable, non-marking, easy to use, and flexible in a shoe that harmed no animal in its manufacture.
- Cleansport NXT
- Canvas lining
- Elastic gore strap
- Non-marking outsole
- Cushioned sole
- No arch support
9. Dadawen Oxford
If canvas shoes are not made well, are too heavy or are heavily treated, they can become unbearably hot and sweaty, trapping moisture on your feet. Not so with these Oxfords. The canvas is sturdy enough to be durable but weaved well for breathability.
The stitching on the Oxford helps make the upper of the shoe durable and strong. The shoe is not glued together in pieces but secured with welt stitches. The stitches also add to the overall style of the shoe.
Cost and Value
This is the least expensive shoe on our list. For a low price, you are getting a shoe made of high-quality canvas, breathable and comfortable. The shoe is versatile enough for frequent wear and will become an easy fave in your wardrobe.
- Canvas upper
- Breathable construction
- Waxed laces
- All day comfort
- Easy on, easy off
- Less durable
10. Xero Hana
Of course, all barefoot-inspired shoes have to be lightweight and flexible and Xero implements these features perfectly. The canvas outer looks great and allows your foot to move and bend naturally while the elevated zero drop sole encourages proper posture.
Natural Foot Design
The Hana's, unlike many other shoes on the market feature a wide toe box for fantastic comfort and room for your toes to spread out when walking or running.
Cost and Value
The cost may be a bit steep for some, but with everything considered the cost is actually quite affordable. The Hanas are most likely one of the most versatile shoes on the market allowing for running, hiking, and everyday usage without a sacrifice in durability. The Vegan and eco-friendly features are also a nice touch making this one of my favorite sneakers currently available.
- Extreamly versitle
- Vegan as well as eco-friendly
- Relatively cheap
- Look nice
- Stiffness complintes when first purchasing
Vegan and eco-friendly shoes can come in many different styles and functions. Sneakers, in particular, are great everyday wear. However, we know you don’t live only in your sneakers so we have tried to provide a variety of functional shoes for your lifestyle. Below you will find our criteria and some frequently asked questions that will provide even more information about vegan and eco-friendly shoes.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Vegan Shoes
Vegan and Eco-Friendly Materials
Of course, when making a list of the top vegan and eco-friendly shoes, the quality of the materials used in each shoe has to be taken into account when choosing each sneaker. In the case of our list, the materials we chose had to be top of the line. In many cases, vegan and eco-friendly materials can sometimes be of low quality because the company wants to reduce manufacturing costs. Every shoe included on our list is reliable and of great quality, so you should have no problems wearing them on a day to day basis.
- Synthetic Leather –
Since leather is an animal-derived product, synthetic leather is a great alternative used in many vegan shoes put on our list. Being made from a mixture of plastics, these have a huge advantage as they require minimal care and don’t crack or fade easily compared to regular leather. In addition, synthetic leather is just as strong and is a great vegan shoe alternative.
- Hemp and Canvas –
Both of these materials are great for vegan shoes as they both feel and look great while on foot. The durability that comes with canvas makes it a perfect material for vegan shoes as it’s quite durable due to its multi-layer weave of fibers. Hemp, also, is a great choice as seen when used in the stitching of the Jazz Low Pro’s by Saucony; these are quite breathable compared to synthetic leather.
- Textile –
Similar to canvas, textile is also a weave of fibers but is more flexible compared to the more traditional canvas mix. A combination of both textile and canvas is very popular among not just vegan and eco-friendly shoes, but “regular” shoes as well. Of course, vegan-friendly fibers have to be used in the textile mix or else it wouldn’t be considered animal free in the first place. Materials such as organic cotton, linen, and peace silk are all popular and great choices.
To provide a great mix of vegan and eco-friendly shoes, the style of each shoe had to be versatile and suitable for a specific niche. Athletic shoes will be a bit lighter and lower cut while casual shoes will, of course, look a bit more flashy. Both were included in our list each with their own unique features to achieve the best possible vegan and eco-friendly shoe experience possible.
- Running Shoes –
In the case of running shoes, the Saucony Jazz Low Pro’s are of course a great example of a casual as well as an athletic pair of vegan sneakers. Running shoe designs are durable and provide great ankle support in addition to comfort making for a great versatile and all around great sneaker.
- Minimalist and Barefoot Shoes –
A great unique option lies in the Xero Hana’s as they were added to our list because they provide a great all-around minimalist look in addition to a design that’s great to walk and run in. The Hana’s are also very lightweight and very versatile as they double as both a casual and full-on athletic shoe.
- Other –
The rest of the sneakers featured on our list fall under a casual category which is considered more of a fashionable type of sneaker. Shoes included in this category have to be comfortable, and durable enough to withstand everyday wear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why buy eco-friendly/vegan shoes?
A: In terms of the environment, the shoe market in specific is not a very eco-friendly one. Manufacturing, in general, is the main cause of this problem as eco-friendly materials and even vegan materials are much more expensive than what you would normally use to make a shoe. In the end, it’s really up to you when choosing to purchase shoes if you want to go the eco-friendly/vegan route but I would implore you to give it a try and experiment with the lifestyle as a whole.
Q. How do you know something is 100% vegan?
A: The materials used for each shoe is listed on Amazon as well as on the companies website for you to check out. Vegan materials include anything that’s obviously plant- or chemical-based or not derived from animals.
Q. Are vegan shoes machine washable?
A: I personally recommend hand washing your shoes but for information on machine washing please check out the company website on which you purchased your shoes from to find a more in-depth answer. Generally, it varies from shoe to shoe so it’s hard to give an exact answer.
Q: Aren’t all natural fibers vegan?
A: Unfortunately no. Don’t mistake the word natural as meaning vegan. Natural materials include leather, wool and fur which are not vegan at all. Natural AND vegan materials include rubber, hemp, cotton, linen and other fibers obtained from plants. Vegan materials are not always plant-based either. Synthetic leathers, synthetic fiber, fleece and faux furs are made from chemical bases like plastic that are vegan-friendly and may or may not be ecologically friendly.
Q: But textile dyes are vegan right?
A: There are a couple of issues with some textile dyes. Many are not environmentally friendly because the process of dyeing textiles may leave chemical dye residues in our water and are harmful to the ecosystem and the overall environment. Secondly, particularly red dyes may be made of cochineal which is made from crushing bugs – so not at all vegan.