Plant-Based Shoes

Plant-Based Shoes

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Vegans and vegetarians who wish to lengthen their cruelty-free selections from their weight loss program into their wardrobe have much more selections than they did just some years in the past. But in terms of sustainable shoes, issues get a little bit extra difficult. The commonest materials used for vegan leather is PVC plastic. PVC has a horrible environmental record, and often doesn’t make for very high-quality footwear. Recycled plastic is a step in the suitable route, however avoiding plastic altogether is a more sensible choice. It’s nonetheless exhausting to discover a utterly vegan, plastic-free shoe. Fortunately, some shoe corporations are beginning to work with extra plant-based supplies as a substitute of leather-based and petroleum-based synthetics.

Zen Running Club

Zen Running Club is getting near its objective of a 100% plant-based operating shoe. It has changed plastic-based viscose with Lyocell, a breathable mesh cloth constructed from the pulp of farmed eucalyptus bushes. Zen Running Club is one among a handful of corporations utilizing a brand new EVA foam constructed from sugar cane as a substitute of plastic to make its midsoles. And whereas many athletic footwear now have light-weight plastic soles, Zen Running Club is sticking with pure rubber from an FSC plantation. The firm is working to seek out plant-based replacements for the artificial components which are at present required to make the rubber carry out effectively.

Zen Running Club shoes
Image supply: Zen Running Club


Since the pandemic, slippers have grow to be an important wardrobe merchandise. Mahabis winter slippers are usually not plant-based; they’re constructed from postconsumer recycled wool and virgin wool that’s licensed natural and humanely sheared (non-mulesed). But the corporate’s summer season slippers are constructed from Tencel, one of many higher sustainable fabric choices, with a pure cork footbed. Although designed primarily for indoor put on, Mahabis slippers have a sneaker-like sole that permits them to be worn open air. Some designs nonetheless use a plastic sole, however there are alternatives with pure rubber soles or soles constructed from an EVA containing rubber and corn flour.

Mahabis plant-based shoe
Image supply: Mahabis


The Canadian shoe model Sole is greatest identified for orthopedic footwear and footbeds however sustainability can also be a high precedence. Sole is a pioneer in using recycled wine corks to switch plastic foams in footwear. You may even contribute your own wine corks to its provide chain. The firm’s ReCORK line makes use of cork footbeds. It additionally makes use of wool and veggie-tanned leather-based among the many higher supplies. Sole’s Bloom line partially replaces plastic foams with an EVA constructed from algae harvested from algal blooms in pure environments.

SOLE wool and cork shoes
Image supply: Sole


Allbirds is one sustainable shoe model with a really excessive cool factor that’s transferring in direction of a very plant-based shoe with its deal with bio-based supplies and regenerative agriculture. Some Allbirds uppers use sustainable wool. But for a lot of of its different types, Allbirds makes use of quite a lot of plant leathers constructed from FSC-certified tree fibers. The firm makes use of each recycled plastic and its trademark SweetFoam — a carbon-negative, rubber-like polymer constructed from sugarcane — to make soles.

Allbirds men's sneakers
Image supply: Allbirds


Native Shoes started its sustainability journey with a deal with recycling. The Remix Project permits prospects to recycle their previous Native footwear by means of the corporate. Now Native Shoes has launched its first utterly vegan, plant-based shoe. Although it appears to be like lots like a traditional canvas sneaker, the Plant Shoe makes use of quite a lot of herbaceous supplies, together with a pineapple leaf fiber, linen, kenaf, cotton, and pure rubber.

Native Shoes - men's algae-based shoes
Image supply: Native Shoes

Big Brands

If you will have model loyalty to a significant athletic sneaker model, you’ll be able to encourage the corporate to maneuver in a extra eco-friendly route by shopping for its greenest strains. Most of the massive athletic shoe manufacturers provide footwear which are vegan or incorporate some plant-based supplies. Reebok’s Forever Floatride GROW is constructed from eucalyptus, algae, and castor bean oil. Nike gives the Plant Cork Pack line of recycled cork and plant-based footwear containing 20% recycled content material and the Happy Pineapple line that includes Piñatex. Adidas’ vegan shoes use recycled ocean plastic and extra sustainably grown cotton.


If you’ve discovered a shoe that delivers on sustainability, however not on consolation, OrthoLite insoles are a very good compromise; the insoles assist you to keep foot well being whereas supporting sustainable shoe corporations. The Ortholite Recycled and Ortholite Hybrid insoles use polyurethane foam, which is an oil-based plastic. But Ortholite reduces its reliance on petroleum with a mixture of recycled foam and a proprietary castor bean bio-oil. It additionally makes use of not less than 5% recycled rubber in all of its foams. Ortholite insoles are bought as inserts. Many shoe manufacturers, from Adidas to Cole Haan and Timberland, make footwear utilizing Ortholite insoles.