In a world that is growing ever more aware of the effects our society has on the world, more and more of us are turning towards ethical purchasing practices.
There’s no way to be perfect in this regard of course, but we can limit our negative output by purchasing sensibly, recycling when possible, and limiting our energy consumption when we can. In addition to these increasingly popular efforts though, we can also adapt our habits by paying more attention to where we shop and what clothing we wear.
More and more people are moving away from fast fashion, and embracing second-hand and thrift store purchases. This change in focus has also affected the way businesses operate. Clothing companies across the world are now operating more sustainably, in an effort to adapt to the changing demand of customers and remain the business of those who prioritize sustainability.
One field that has seen a significant shift in recent years is footwear.
Ethical shoe brands like Rothy’s, For Your Earth, and many others, have grown in popularity in recent years.
However, their popularity still doesn’t compare to that of major name brands like Nike, Adidas, or Converse. This is significant because among those who still haven’t embraced ethical footwear, many are simply partial to the brands they know; they’re comfortable with Nike, and so don’t bother to seek out Rothy’s, and so on.
Now, however, even the major footwear brands are beginning to embrace sustainable sneaker production –– which should in short time drastically expand the number of consumers buying shoes responsibly.
Here’s a list of some of the best sustainable sneakers from major apparel brands.
Reebok Nano X1 Vegan Sneakers
The Nano X1 Vegan Sneakers are the perfect shoes for any occasion, providing comfort and durability for every part of your day.
Whether you’re working out, or going on an afternoon stroll, the sneaker’s plant-based materials will have you feeling safe in the knowledge that you’re making a difference. Featuring Floatride Energy Foam made with castor beans and Flexweave knit, the Reebok Nano X1 Vegan feels cutting edge even while making use of sustainable materials.
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%
Numerous sustainable models have come out of the biggest brand in footwear in recent years, and Nike’s new Air Zoom Alphafly release is the latest example. The sneaker is created using leftover materials, and features at least 50% totally recycled materials by weight.
This marks arguably the biggest step forward for Nike so far on the sustainable footwear front. And not for nothing, it’s an extremely comfortable and versatile athletic shoe.
Adidas Ultraboost 21 X Parley
Upcycled with marina plastic, the Ultraboost 21 X Parley is a fantastic addition to any ethical sneaker collection. The sneaker marks a major milestone for Adidas, as it is the first one to not use any virgin polyester.
Adidas worked with Parley Ocean Plastic on the sneaker, picking up plastic from remote islands, beaches and coastal communities. Not only is this sneaker made from sustainable materials, but the process of creating those materials was also environmentally positive.
One of the more reasonably priced ethical trainers in the industry, Everlane Tread uses only 6.8% non-recycled plastics. Its effort prevents an estimated 18,000 pounds of rubber from ending up in landfills each year, and also cuts some 54% of its greenhouse gas emissions.
This is on top of lots of other smaller decisions, which bring down the total carbon footprint of the shoe –– all while providing a high-quality sneaker at an affordable price.
Converse Chuck 70 Renew
Arguably one of the most iconic sneakers on this list, the Converse Chuck 70 Renew takes the classic design and refreshes it for a more sustainably-minded customer base by harnessing recycled jeans.
Converse worked alongside Beyond Retro, an Eco-friendly fashion brand, to source the jeans that would go into creating the Chuck 70 renew.
Reebok Cotton + Corn
Reebok Cotton + Corn sneakers are completely vegan, featuring a 100% cotton upper and a sole created using corn.
Reebok originally launched the shoe with leather accents, but due to kickback from consumers (and PETA), the brand reworked and relaunched the sneakers with vegan materials. Even the boxes the sneakers are packaged in are 100% recyclable. And as you can tell more or less at a glance, these are some very comfortable and easygoing casual sneakers.
Nike Space Hippie “This Is Trash”
If you hadn’t already guessed, Nike Space Hippie is made up of trash. using recycled materials formed from water bottles, t-shirts and yarn scraps –– along with recycled Nike Grind material –– this sneaker is made up of at least 25% recycled material by weight.
One day, we might be at the point where sneakers are made up of 100% recycled materials. However, this and the Air Zoom Alphafly are certainly steps in the right direction. Plus, Nike’s Space Hippie shoes also happen to be some of the most visually unique shoes money can buy right now.
Through all of these interesting shoes, major brands are getting in on the sustainability trend in a big way.