Eco Sneakers
Source: iStock

Sustainable Sneaker Options For Eco-Friendly Runners


Jan. 24 2022, Updated 10:02 a.m. ET

In the world of running, there are several well-respected sneaker brands out there, from Asics, to Nike, and Brooks. But how sustainable are those kicks? According to Environmental Leader, producing a pair of running sneakers comprised of synthetic materials generally uses between 11.3 and 16.7 kilograms of carbon dioxide. With that in mind, we've compiled a list of sustainable sneakers for runners, for eco-minded fitness enthusiasts who want to reduce their carbon footprints.

Article continues below advertisement

Inkkas' running sneakers

For those who crave a pop of color, Inkkas' sneakers come in a variety of hues and unique designs. According to the company website, Inkkas shoes use certified fair-trade and high quality materials, and the company plants a tree for every pair of shoes purchased. If you're looking for something specific, Inkkas' inventory contains a wide variety of running collections, so we strongly suggest browsing their site to determine which one fits your fancy. 

Reebok's Entire Plant-Based Lineup

Source: Reebok

Last year, Reebok debuted its first-ever plant-based sneaker, the Forever Floatride GROW ($120). Each pair is comprised of a eucalyptus upper, an algae sockliner, a natural rubber outsole, a midsole made from castor beans. Now, debuting May 1, Nano X1 Vegan ($150) is the brand's latest product in the realm of plant-based goodies: it's an animal-free USDA Certified Biobased sneaker that's comprised of plants and recycled materials, prioritizing both comfortable and arch support — we love that.

Article continues below advertisement

Allbirds' Tree Dashers

Allbirds products are created with 100 percent natural materials, though they're made with a wool base, which is deemed controversial by some. However, their delivery boxes are derived from 90 percent recycled cardboard, and their SOLES4SOLES program distributes lightly used Allbirds to communities in need. Tree Dashers are Allbirds' signature running shoe, which — according to the website — which are durable and supportive. Plus, they come in minimalist colors we love. (Price point: $125).

Article continues below advertisement

Adidas x Parley's selection of running sneakers

Adidas' greenest collection to-date, Adidas x Parley, is an entire athletic wear collection comprised of plastic from the ocean. The collection contains several different types of running sneakers, from the 4D Run 1.0s, to the Ultraboosts. The brand even carries a few pairs of trail runners, for those who enjoy spending a little time frolicking in the woods. (Price point: up to $200). 

Article continues below advertisement

Puma's First Mile collection

Puma created a collection called First Mile, which focuses on sustainability and positive social impact. According to the website, the brand hires (and ethically pays) employees from communities across Haiti, Honduras, and Taiwan, to collect plastic bottles which are recycled woven into textiles for athletic wear and running shoes. The Optic Mono Running shoes from the collection are cushioned, while providing stability and support. (Price point: $100).

Article continues below advertisement

Vivobarefoot's Primus Lite II Bio

For those who enjoy the feel of barefoot running, U.K.-based sportswear brand, Vivobarefoot, recently their newest sustainability shoe, the Primus Lite II Bio. It's comprised of over 30 percent plant-based materials, with a plant-baed sole and upper, and the rest made up of repurposed algae, recycled plastic, and natural rubber, derived from trees in Vietnam. About 17 bottles make up each pair, and by 2021, they plan to use 100 percent sustainable materials. (Price point: £120, about $154 USD).

Article continues below advertisement

Zen Running Club

Zen Running Club offers eco-friendly, vegan running sneakers that are made solely from plant-based materials. They come in four cute colors: grey, black, blue, and green — and in addition to being incredibly cushioned — the knitted outer shell fits to the shape of your foot after just a few runs. The company is also partnered with The Vegetarian Society, to ensure all of its materials are animal-free.

Article continues below advertisement

Saucony's Veg Tan Pack

Veg Tan Pack
Source: Saucony

Popular running company, Saucony, has announced a brand new collection, the Veg Tan Pack, which include eco-friendly versions of the brand's Originals line. Featuring vegetable-tanned versions of the Shadow 6000 ($120, which are being released on Feb. 16 through Feb. 19), Jazz Court ($110), and Jazz 81 ($100 which will be available Feb. 4), it eliminates the nasty conventional chemicals that are generally used in the leather tanning process. Comes in unisex sizing.

Article continues below advertisement

At this point, there are enough sustainable running brands out there, so you don't have to sacrifice sustainability for a high-tech shoe. TBH, we're all about these.

More from Green Matters

Latest Community News and Updates

    Green Matters Logo

    © Copyright 2022 Green Matters. Green Matters is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.