Once worn exclusively at the gym, trainers are now worn by everyone, everywhere. This wardrobe staple is now having a fashion moment with premium fashion brands like Balenciaga, Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton all featuring trainers in their latest line-ups. As a fashion item, trainers are here to stay.
At Immaculate Vegan it is our mission to seek out the best vegan shoes – stylish, comfortable, and easy to style – so here are our favourite vegan trainer brands (that's vegan sneakers to our American friends), perfect for anyone wanting to make a more ethical and sustainable purchase without compromising on aesthetic.
By Simon Bell, Co-Founder of Immaculate Vegan
This supercool Swedish vegan brand draws its design inspiration from Scandinavian minimalism, while the quality is typical of a premium high-end brand. They put sustainable materials at the heart of their design process, fusing timeless contemporary design with innovative production methods and recycled materials.
Many of their sustainable trainers use a breathable vegan eco-microfibre which is lightweight, antibacterial, eco-friendly and highly resistant, even against chemical agents. This material carries the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Class 1 seal, which certifies that the material has passed the most stringent controls and can be declared eco-friendly and free of agents harmful to health and the environment.
They also make use of a polyester made from recycled plastic ocean trash (in collaboration with The SEAQUAL Initiative); Pinatex (a vegan leather made from pineapple leaves, which provides an additional income to farmers in the Philippines), recycled cotton, linen, recycled rubber and TENCEL™ (an innovative textile produced sustainably from wood, using an environmentally responsible production process).
Humans Are Vain are also pioneering new projects in Sweden to create new technologies and materials for the next generation of sustainable production methods. These include 'Recycle Projekt', their circular economy system to ensure their products never see a landfill, and enable your unwanted HAV vegan trainers to be transformed into new products; as well as collaborating with environmental organisations, including an NGO on the west coast of Sweden, to help remove as much plastic waste as possible from the ocean and shoreline.
Manufacturing takes place in Portugal and Sweden in carefully selected ethical factories which HAV monitor with their own quality control team, based near the factories. They ensure that all their products can be certified 100% vegan, which means every component and material is checked and certified.
It’s hard to argue with the classic cool of a white trainer, and we love this Eden style from their new range. This smart, sustainable, and cruelty-free sneaker has a sole that is made from recycled rubber, a lining made from recycled plastic and stylish toe feature made from eco-microsuede. We think this is an icon in the making!
This slow-fashion vegan trainer brand is on a mission. To create a stylish product for men and women, mixing fashion and sustainability and without involving animals. Vegan, sustainable, and above all comfortable, BeFlamboyant’s trainers are all hand-made in Portugal, known for its high quality shoe manufacturing heritage.
BeFlamboyant feel a strong commitment to be another voice for change in the fashion industry. The upper and lining of each vegan trainer is made of high-quality OEKO TEX and V LABEL certified microfibres. The inner lining is produced with zero CO2 emissions, and is free from chromium VI, a commonly-used chemical in the footwear industry that is considered a carcinogen and can be harmful to the skin. It's also 100% breathable, anti-allergenic, antimicrobial and regulates temperature. The shoe laces are 100% cotton, and phthalates-free (a chemical found in many clothing items). The sole is made of thermoplastic rubber, a 100% recyclable material.
These Vegan Leather Trainers in Navy (other colours include Sand, Water, and Ocean) are sharply modern in design but hardwearing. The upper is made of high-quality Oeko-Tex microfibre, whilst the inner lining is produced with zero CO2 emissions. PETA approved vegan and with sustainability at their heart of their shoes, we love the fact that they plant a tree in areas affected by wildfires for each pair sold. They offer FREE shipping within the EU and – if you buy 2 pairs – the US too.
French vegan shoe brand SAOLA are about as eco-friendly friendly as you can get! Each year, over 25 billion pairs of shoes are made around the world, making footwear a major contributor to the textile industry’s status of world’s second largest polluter. 70% of the carbon footprint of a pair of shoes comes from the materials and production.
That's why SAOLA focus their efforts on utilising recycled and bio-based materials including recycled plastic bottles (PET), organic cotton for their laces, algae foams for the shoes’ outsoles, and cork for the insoles.
To produce their algae foams, Saola has partnered up with Bloom Foam, who remove harmful algae from the water and convert it into powder. It's then mixed with EVA, a rubber-like material, and turned into algae foam.
Plus, 1% of SAOLA sales are donated to wildlife conservation projects, so that in another 40 years, our planet’s animals aren’t a thing of the past. Lightweight, breathable and comfortable, SAOLA vegan trainers are kind to your feet and the planet. They also offer a great range of styles and colours for both women and men.
Of the many great pairs, our pick is this update on the classic street sneaker. Named after one of the photogenic beaches on the Oregon coast, the Cannon Knit utilises recycled PET from plastic bottles in its unique knit construction, for a lightweight and breathable sustainable traineer that's been designed to assure that future generations will be able to enjoy pristine coastlines for years to come. And of course the Cannon Knit is 100% vegan.
Cover image by Humans Are Vain
For articles like this in your inbox, sign up to our newsletter, and get 10% off your next purchase too.