The Best Vegan Trainers To Buy In The UK

From running shoes to everyday wear, here are the best vegan trainers to buy in the UK


12 Minutes Read

A selection of vegan running trainers UK Need some new vegan trainers in your life? We've got you covered - Media Credit: Various

Quite a lot of footwear contains animal-derived materials such as leather and suede, and trainers are no exception. But due to consumer interest in more sustainable and ethical shoes, the number of vegan trainers on the market is growing. Indeed, the value of the vegan trainer market is expected to double by 2033.

Read more: Nicki Minaj Launches Range Of Barbie Pink Vegan Sneakers

But which vegan trainers are best? With so many sporty and fashionable options, here is our guide to help you choose the best pair – or pairs. All of them come in both men’s and women’s sizes.

Why aren’t trainers vegan?

Many brands make their trainers using leather or suede, which is also made from animal skin, but using the underside of the skin as it’s softer.

Leather is often portrayed as a by-product of the meat industry, suggesting that it’s less wasteful to turn animal skins into fashion. But it’s a hugely lucrative industry and leather should more accurately be described as a “coproduct” of meat. The leather industry profits off the deaths of more than one billion animals each year, many of whom are factory farmed.

Leather is also disastrous for the environment. Animal farming uses vast amounts of land and farming cows is responsible for around a third of human-caused methane emissions.

For these reasons, trainers that feature leather or suede in their designs are definitely not vegan.

Read more: ‘Sheer Nonsense’: Stella McCartney On Why Leather Is Not A Byproduct

What brands make vegan trainers?

There used to be just a few specialist brands making vegan trainers. Nowadays, most major labels have vegan options.

Major brands like Nike, Adidas, Skechers, and Reebok make vegan trainers. A couple have even redesigned some of their classic styles with vegan materials, such as Adidas’ Stan Smith tennis shoes.

There’s a growing number of fully vegan footwear brands too, and many are using innovative new materials as alternatives to leather. British brand Ration.L makes vegan gender-neutral trainers. French company Minuit sur Terre uses recycled grain-based material and has a second-hand online marketplace where it resells its prototypes, shoes worn during photo shoots, products with small defects, and shoes returned by customers.

CORAIL, another French brand, turns plastic waste in the ocean into raw material to make into shoes. NOAH Italian Vegan Shoes uses “wine leather” — leather made from grapes — to make its simple yet stylish sneakers. Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather, yet another French company, is not only totally vegan but also guarantees fair-trade working conditions for everyone in its supply chain.

How can you tell if trainers are vegan?

Shoes must include a label indicating the materials used for the upper, lining, insole, and outer sole. You’ll usually be able to find it inside the tongue or on a tag or sticker on the packaging. Due to the growing market for vegan footwear, many brands will also explicitly market their shoes as vegan. They may also carry a certification label from the Vegan Society.

What materials do vegan trainers use?

Many vegan designs also go hand in hand (or foot in shoe) with companies’ efforts to make more sustainable footwear.

Brands have used plant-based leathers such as those made from grapes, pineapples, mushrooms, and apples to reduce waste and lower their carbon footprints. Textiles such as canvas and cotton are also commonly used to make vegan trainers, as is rubber for the soles. Some synthetic materials such as polyester may feature in vegan shoes too.

Running trainers

V.GAN Rumex Runner Trainers, £89

V.gan Rumex trainers
V.GAN These are great lightweight trainers

These lightweight trainers have cushioning made from natural cork. They’re breathable, water resistant, and PETA certified. The trainers come in a range of neutral colors, making them perfect for a run or for casual wear too.

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Merrell Moab Flight, £125

Merrell Moab Flight trainer
Merrell Hit the trails with Moab Flight

If you prefer running on trails than on pavements, these shoes are for you. Cushioned and lightweight, the Moab Flights are mostly made with recycled materials and are completely vegan.

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Will’s Vegan Store WVSport Trail Running Trainers, £130

A pair of UK vegan trainers from Will's
Will's Will’s is all about sustainability

Will’s Vegan Store makes clothing, accessories, and shoes, including these lightweight trail running trainers. Made with recycled polyester and nylon, the uppers are a breathable mesh so your feet don’t get too sweaty. The shoes are certified carbon neutral too.

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Brooks Hyperion, £140

Brooks Hyperion
Brooks Brooks is a go-to brand for runners

Brooks has made all of its running shoes vegan, so there are plenty of options to choose from here. The Hyperion is the brand’s most lightweight trainer, designed to be responsive to quick movements. Available in six colours, these shoes will help you smash your PB on your next run.

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Hylo Impact, £150

Hylo Impact trainers
Hylo Athletics Hylo avoids using synthetic materials

Hylo Athletics launched in 2020 with a mission to create planet-friendly, high-performance running gear. It uses bio-based materials such as castor bean instead of synthetics made from fossil fuels. The Hylo Impact has a simple design, and with high cushioning, is perfect for running on roads. And once you’ve worn them out, you can return them to Hylo to be recycled into something new.

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Nike Downshifter 13, £64.99

Nike Downshifter 13 trainer
Nike Perfect for fast runs

On the cheaper end of the spectrum, these Nike’s are made with at least 20 percent recycled footwear materials. With great cushioning and ankle support, these trainers are perfect for everyday activities as well as running longer and/or faster miles.

Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather BABER-GV running shoes, £219

Good Guys Don't Wear Leather BABER-GV running shoes
Good Guys Go Vegan These running shoes come from an entirely vegan company

Good Guys Go Vegan is the tagline for this company started by one woman with a vision for cruelty-free footwear in Paris more than a decade ago. The Baber-GV running trainers are good for both trails city streets. They lining is corn-based and the sole is made from recycled rubber.

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Fashion trainers

Etnies Jameson 2 Eco, £64.99

Etnies Jameson Eco 2
Etnies Etnies are a skate culture classic

Etnies have been a staple of the skate scene for decades, but its cool, easy-to-wear designs have taken it into the mainstream too. The Jameson 2 Eco trainers are made of canvas and recycled plastic and rubber. They’re also part of Etnies’ Buy a Shoe Plant a Tree project, which has seen over two million tress planted already.

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Vegan Gola Classics Women’s Coaster Flame High, £65

Channel the 70s with these retro sneakers

The retro design of these hi-tops harks back to Gola’s original heyday as a 1970s sports brand. The off-white, Vegan Society-approved trainers are made of a light canvas, perfect for pairing with jeans or a summer dress.

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Ration.L R-Kind Vegan Trainers, £70

A pair of vegan trainers named R-KIND VEGAN - LUNAR ROCK TRAINER
Ration.L These vegan trainers are designed for everyday wear

Raion.L’s ethos is to be kind to animals and to people, whatever gender they identify with, hence its “gender neutral” range of shoes. A simple monochrome design gives these trainers a feel of understated luxury. They’re made with recycled and organic materials. Ration.L also sells pairs with slight defects and ex-display pairs for lower prices, so if you’re lucky to find them in your size you can grab yourself a bargain.

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Adidas Vegan Stan Smith Shoes, £85

Adidas stan smith vegan
Adidas Same style, but vegan

The Stan Smith shoes have been around for half a century, but now they’ve had an eco-upgrade with this vegan version. Adidas has committed to using only recycled polyester, which features in here along with repurposed rubber waste. Still the same classic look, just better for the animals and the planet.

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Reebok Club C 85 Vegan Sneakers, £90

Reebok Club C 85
Reebok Classic Reeboks, made vegan

Like the Stan Smith shoes, Reebok’s Club C 85 sneakers are a vegan take on one of their classic styles, the Club C. The uppers are made from vegan leather, all in white or off-white while the stripes come in a variety of colors. A perfect easy-wearing sneaker.

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Veja Wata II Low Canvas, £110

Veja Veja has an extensive vegan range

The Veja brand has vegan vibes in its name and the V logo that adorns its footwear. But beware, as not all its footwear is vegan. It does have a pretty extensive vegan range, though, including the Wata II Low Canvas trainers. They’re made with responsibly-sourced rubber and plastic components made of 42 percent cane sugar and 11 percent recycled plastic. Available in white, khaki, and black, the trainers are a great laid back style for summer.

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Evolution V2 Sustainable Sneaker, £125

Humans are vain evolution 2
Humans Are Vain The brand uses sustainable materials

Swedish brand Humans Are Vain bases its designs on the circular economy principle, upcycling and recycling everything it makes. Its trainers are all vegan and made with materials such as recycled rubber and corn fiber. The Evolution V2 sneakers have a trendy chunky sole and a clean white design, taking inspiration “from the aesthetics of Scandinavia.”

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NOAH Italian Vegan Shoes Sammy Sneaker, £135.15

Noah vegan trainers made from "grape leather"
Noah These vegan trainers are made from “grape leather”

These simple white sneakers are made from the wine industry waste: grape skins, stems, and seeds. The water-repellent “wine leather” has a lightly textured look, which gives some extra character to these simple trainers. The stripy laces add a nice touch of fun too.

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CORAIL Algae, £153

Algae vegan trainers from Corail
Corail These vegan trainers are algae based

French brand CORAIL gives a nod to the ocean in its design for these trainers, made out of plastic waste scooped up from the sea. The translucent soles seem to feature flecks of plastic while evoking the colors of the algae for which the shoes are named. And indeed one of the materials used in making the shoes is Seacell, a seaweed-based textile.

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LØCI NEO X Nicki Minaj, £160

Loci Nicki Minaj Neo
LØCI LØCI collaborated with Nicki Minaj to produce these trainers

“Urban-lux” vegan sneaker and clothing brand LØCI uses cutting-edge materials in its designs, including “bio leather” and recycled ocean plastics. These sneakers are one of the results of a collaboration with rapper Nicki Minaj and come in three bold pink and white or pink and black combinations. They are made of LØCI’s bio leather, which is 50 percent corn waste and recycled textile materials.

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Stella McCartney Sneak-Elyse Platform Trainers, £595

Stella McCartney Sneak Elyse
Stella McCartney These platform sneakers feature a layer of cork

Way at the luxury end of the market are these platform trainers by vegan fashion designer icon Stella McCartney. Made from grape leather, they come in white, brown, or black and have a visible layer of cork in the chunky sole. Eye-catching and sustainable.

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Read more: Are Ugg Boots Vegan? What You Need To Know

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