Big sports brands didn’t get to be big sports brands by staying on the back foot. These days, the main players are keen to show off some ethical cred and scoop up some of those vegan dollars to boot. Of course there are heaps of leather free sports shoes out there, but we’re interested in the ones that don’t use animal products in their glues, either. Here’s who’s currently playing in the sustainable sneakers arena.

Adidas boasts a number of popular vegan runners in its vast collection including a vegan version of its legendary Stan Smith, launched last year in collaboration with Stella McCartney and sported by celebs such as Madonna and ‘mostly vegan’ Meghan Markle. Another recent partnership saw the brand releasing the vegan Parley collection, made from recycled ocean debris.

In an attempt to reduce the brand’s environmental impact, Reebok makes its vegan shoes from corn and castor bean oil. Petroleum-free and non-toxic, the unisex NPC UK is part of the new Cotton + Corn collection. We use the term ‘collection’ advisedly, as this is the first pair off the rank, but look forward to what comes next.

Nike is up there in the mainstream charge with a range of trainers that claim vegan status, current releases including the Air Max Full Ride and Air Vibenna. So popular have they been that the release of a limited edition vegan shoe in a store in Virginia, USA, had to be cancelled after hundreds of people swarmed the outlet and police had to be called to deal with the crowds.

There’s a huge selection of vegan-friendly sports shoes available from Asics, not least those under its Onitsuka Tiger label (don’t miss the Mexico 66s). In other feel good news, the company has announced it will use 30,000 items of recycled sports clothing to make the official uniforms for the Japanese Olympic teams at next year’s Tokyo Olympics. You can donate until May 31, 2019… as long as you are in Japan.

All Brooks running shoes meet vegan standards, without exception so they say. They’re the first choice of US ultramarathon champ (and vegan) Scott Jurek who says that as well as being the ‘green rubber’ offers better wear and surface grip. And as one of the greatest runners of all time, he should know about such things.

Main image courtesy of Adidas.

About the Author


Sara is a journalist by trade and spent many happy years editing magazines until people stopped buying them and she was forced to transfer her talents to a brave new digital world. Sara lives in the inner city with two small kids, a dog and a cat, and tries her darndest to live an ethical life.

Sara’s background as a journalist and editor includes lengthy stints on titles such as inside out, donna hay magazine and the Sunday Telegraph (no judgement!). She has freelanced for a plethora of brands including Body + Soul, Marie Claire, GQ and Qantas Insider. She has also worked client side in property, retail, fashion, beauty and food.

Our writers independently select all products featured on The Vegan Company. We only recommend products and services we love – and think you’ll love too. Just letting you know that when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.