Looking for ethically made, sustainable trainers? In this guide we will look at a few of the best sustainable trainer brands available and what to consider when shopping for your new footwear.
Trainers are the most popular choice of footwear here in the UK, collectively UK teenagers alone own a whopping 58 million trainers (!) Almost a third of these were unworn in the last three months. Needless to say, the trainer market is booming and with it comes an almighty environmental footprint.
Let’s Talk Sustainable Trainers…
As consumers a lot of time and money is spent trying to persuade us to buy the latest trainers, in fact in 2020, Nike spent $3.59 billion USD on advertising alone. When it comes to shopping more sustainably, the first step before making any purchase is to ask yourself if you really need to buy another pair of trainers? Maybe the most sustainable choice is wearing the ones that you already own? If you are certain that you need to invest, here is a mini guide of sustainable trainer brands worth investing in…
In a typical shoe about half of the carbon footprint is down to the materials, 25% is down to energy used in manufacture, 15% is transport, 5% the shoe box and 5% other bits and bobs.– Mike Berners Lee
Ration.L create Vegan, ethical trainers. Their R-Kind trainers are made sustainably using recycled and organic materials. These vegan trainers are made from a non-toxic and vegan PU leather and recycled materials, the insole is manufactured using organic materials. Plus, for every pair sold, 5% of profits goes to the Brain & Spine Foundation Charity
- Price: £70
- Shop: R-KIND Sustainable Trainers
Ethical trainer brand Cariuma make classic trainers from natural materials. Made using materials including Bamboo, natural rubber, organic cotton, sugarcane, recycled PET, and mamona oil. All delivered in recycled and recyclable packaging. 43% of the range is 100% vegan. For every pair purchased, two trees are planted.
- Price: £79
- Shop: CARIUMA
Cariuma have a range of classic styles for both men and women, including sustainable trainers for skateboarding, all designed and manufactured with the planet in mind.
Veja are possibly the most widely recognised sustainable trainers, worn by celebs and hipsters alike. This fairtrade, and ethical trainers brand uses organic fabrics such as recycled and organic cotton, as well as recycled plastic bottles, and natural rubber. They boast transparent manufacturing standards, workers are paid a fair wage. Veja offer a range of vegan trainers, although not all styles are exclusively vegan- so best to check the materials.
- Price: £79 – £120
- Shop: Veja
Ethical trainer brand Novesta dates back to the 1930’s in Slovakia. Novesta trainers are made with a focus on longevity, the materials are chosen with this in mind. They source materials from their supply chain, this includes VFCS certified natural rubber and GOTS organic cotton certified uppers the signature models.
- Price: £55
- Shop: Novesta
All Birds sustainable trainers are made using Brazilian sugarcane, which is made with the world’s first carbon negative green EVA. All Birds have layered castor bean oil, which emits less carbon than petroleum-based foam, and ZQ Merino wool for a cushiony, moisture wicking, and odor reducing insole. All Birds is carbon neutral thanks to a combination of sustainable practices, like using natural materials, and carbon credits.
- Price: £95
- Shop: All Birds
A standard pair of trainers emits 12.5 kg of carbon dioxide.– Allbirds
When it comes to looking for sustainable trainers, there are several things to consider. The place the trainers were manufactured, the materials used to make them and the ethical practices of the company you are investing your money in. Whichever sustainable trainers you choose, the above brands will help you to have a lower carbon footprint and tread lightly on the planet.