Plant-Primarily based Footwear

Vegans and vegetarians who need to prolong their cruelty-free selections from their eating regimen into their wardrobe have much more selections than they did just some years in the past. However relating to sustainable shoes, issues get a little bit extra difficult. The most typical materials used for vegan leather is PVC plastic. PVC has a horrible environmental record, and often doesn’t make for very high-quality sneakers. Recycled plastic is a step in the suitable route, however avoiding plastic altogether is a better option. It’s nonetheless arduous to discover a utterly vegan, plastic-free shoe. Happily, some shoe firms are beginning to work with extra plant-based supplies as a substitute of leather-based and petroleum-based synthetics.

Zen Operating Membership

Zen Running Club is getting near its aim of a 100% plant-based operating shoe. It has changed plastic-based viscose with Lyocell, a breathable mesh cloth created from the pulp of farmed eucalyptus bushes. Zen Operating Membership is considered one of a handful of firms utilizing a brand new EVA foam created from sugar cane as a substitute of plastic to make its midsoles. And whereas many athletic sneakers now have light-weight plastic soles, Zen Operating Membership is sticking with pure rubber from an FSC plantation. The corporate is working to search out plant-based replacements for the artificial components which are at present required to make the rubber carry out nicely.

Zen Running Club shoes
Picture supply: Zen Running Club


Because the pandemic, slippers have turn out to be an important wardrobe merchandise. Mahabis winter slippers usually are not plant-based; they’re created from postconsumer recycled wool and virgin wool that’s licensed natural and humanely sheared (non-mulesed). However the firm’s summer season slippers are created from Tencel, one of many higher sustainable fabric choices, with a pure cork footbed. Though designed primarily for indoor put on, Mahabis slippers have a sneaker-like sole that enables them to be worn outdoor. Some designs nonetheless use a plastic sole, however there are alternatives with pure rubber soles or soles created from an EVA containing rubber and corn flour.

Mahabis plant-based shoe
Picture supply: Mahabis


The Canadian shoe model Sole is greatest recognized for orthopedic sneakers and footbeds however sustainability can be a high precedence. Sole is a pioneer in the usage of recycled wine corks to exchange plastic foams in sneakers. You’ll be able to even contribute your own wine corks to its provide chain. The corporate’s ReCORK line makes use of cork footbeds. It additionally makes use of wool and veggie-tanned leather-based among the many higher supplies. Sole’s Bloom line partially replaces plastic foams with an EVA created from algae harvested from algal blooms in pure environments.

SOLE wool and cork shoes
Picture supply: Sole


Allbirds is one sustainable shoe model with a really excessive cool factor that’s shifting in direction of a totally plant-based shoe with its concentrate on bio-based supplies and regenerative agriculture. Some Allbirds uppers use sustainable wool. However for a lot of of its different types, Allbirds makes use of quite a lot of plant leathers created from FSC-certified tree fibers. The corporate makes use of each recycled plastic and its trademark SweetFoam — a carbon-negative, rubber-like polymer created from sugarcane — to make soles.

Allbirds men's sneakers
Picture supply: Allbirds


Native Shoes started its sustainability journey with a concentrate on recycling. The Remix Project permits prospects to recycle their previous Native sneakers by the corporate. Now Native Footwear has launched its first utterly vegan, plant-based shoe. Though it appears to be like quite a bit like a basic canvas sneaker, the Plant Shoe makes use of quite a lot of herbaceous supplies, together with a pineapple leaf fiber, linen, kenaf, cotton, and pure rubber.

Native Shoes - men's algae-based shoes
Picture supply: Native Shoes

Large Manufacturers

In case you have model loyalty to a significant athletic sneaker model, you possibly can encourage the corporate to maneuver in a extra eco-friendly route by shopping for its greenest traces. Many of the massive athletic shoe manufacturers supply sneakers which are vegan or incorporate some plant-based supplies. Reebok’s Forever Floatride GROW is created from eucalyptus, algae, and castor bean oil. Nike gives the Plant Cork Pack line of recycled cork and plant-based sneakers containing 20% recycled content material and the Happy Pineapple line that comes with Piñatex. Adidas’ vegan shoes use recycled ocean plastic and extra sustainably grown cotton.


If you happen to’ve discovered a shoe that delivers on sustainability, however not on consolation, OrthoLite insoles are a very good compromise; the insoles mean you can preserve foot well being whereas supporting sustainable shoe firms. The Ortholite Recycled and Ortholite Hybrid insoles use polyurethane foam, which is an oil-based plastic. However Ortholite reduces its reliance on petroleum with a mixture of recycled foam and a proprietary castor bean bio-oil. It additionally makes use of not less than 5% recycled rubber in all of its foams. Ortholite insoles are offered as inserts. Many shoe manufacturers, from Adidas to Cole Haan and Timberland, make sneakers utilizing Ortholite insoles.


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