20 High-Performance Vegan Running Shoes That Are Better Than Nikes
In one of my previous posts, I already said I’m not a fan of Nike. But I like running, and my current pair of running shoes need to be replaced, so I started to look around and see what kind of running shoes are out there that aren’t Nikes.
Most of the running shoes are made of synthetic fabrics that are harmful to the environment or use leather and wool which always involves animal cruelty.
So are there any training shoes that I can wear with a clear conscience? That don’t harm the planet or animals, and preferably weren’t made in a sweatshop? That would be also awesome if they weren’t ugly, and I could actually afford them. Am I asking too much? Apparently not. There are a lot of options out there!
Here are 20 shoes that are great for vegan runners! I also listed how each shoe/brand performs in terms of sustainability and transparency to make it easier for fellow conscious shoppers.
*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means that The Pretty Planeteer gets a small commission for purchases made through them without any additional cost to you.
Hylo Athletic shoes are my top choice when it comes to vegan running shoes. The brand only makes one model for women and one for men (in 4 different colors) and both of them are vegan!
Running performance: Hylo shoes are comfortable, built for speed, and they are lightweight (only 215g). They’re designed for a cushioned, comfortable ride, improved energy return, and injury prevention. Perfect for everyday running and in the gym.
Sustainability: The brand markets its running shoes as “the world’s most sustainable running shoes”. While I can neither confirm nor deny that, I can agree that these shoes are pretty sustainable. They are made with 7 natural and vegan materials. No synthetic fabrics, no animals!
Plus, these shoes are also circular! Which means that after you’re done using them, the brand composts the upper, and recycles the sole into its new shoes.
Ethics & transparency: Hylo running shoes are produced in Putian, China in a factory that ensures high-quality production and ethical labor conditions. Seven out of the nine materials come from a 100 km radius of the factory to minimize carbon emissions.
The Vivobarefoot Geo Racer is a stylish vegan running shoe designed for lovers of barefoot walking and running. Almost half of the Vivobarefoot collection is vegan. Their shoes are made with sustainable and innovative materials to be equally gentle to the environment and your feet.
Running performance: These shoes are extremely flexible, you can literally curl them up into a ball. They are light and lean and try to interfere the least with the natural movement of your feet for ultimate freedom of movement. The Vivobarefoot Geo Racer is perfect for walking, running, or lifting weights.
Sustainability: The Vivobarefoot Geo Racer is made with recycled PET plastic waste and includes a removable insole made of bio-based materials.
From 2020 all Vivobarefoot shoes are designed to have an end of life solution to create a more circular economy.
Ethics & transparency: Vivobarefoot is a certified B Corp which means it meets the highest social and environmental standards and has a positive impact on society.
The brand has its Code of Conduct, Business Strategy, Investment Policy, Ethical Marketing Policy, Environmental Policy, etc. on the website, it’s one of the most transparent brands I know of.
Most of Lunge’s running and everyday walking shoes are vegan. The Neo Run is a lightweight, neutral running shoe with an exceptional fit and unmatched suspension.
Running performance: Lunge Neo Run is simple and functional. It’s comfortable and fits like a second skin on your feet while providing secure footing and remarkable flexibility. Perfect for running on concrete road. Or as a super comfortable everyday shoe.
Sustainability: Neo Run is made with high-quality, non-toxic, Oekotex 100 certified materials, and produced locally for a lower environmental footprint.
Ethics & transparency: Lunge shoes are designed and manufactured in Germany, according to strict German guidelines. The company lists its suppliers on the website, most of them are located in Germany as well, the others are in European countries.
WVSports is the athletic footwear line of Will’s Vegan Shoes and the Oakes Cross Running Trainers are the next best vegan running shoes on our list. These shoes don’t only avoid the use of animal materials, they were made to promote vegan running!
10% of the proceeds support Fiona Oakes’ Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary.
Running performance: The shoes were designed for three times world record holder runner, Fiona Oakes. They are made for trail running in different conditions, from the Sahara Desert to the North Pole.
Made with breathable, water-resistant, and abrasion-resistant upper, and outsoles that are designed to be super grippy and durable. Perfect for different weather- and terrain conditions.
Sustainability: WVSport Oakes Cross Running Trainers are made with innovative, durable, and PVC-free materials.
Plus, Will’s Vegan Shoes’ supply chain is plastic-free and carbon-neutral.
Ethics & transparency: The Oakes Cross Running Trainers are made ethically in Italy under EU employment-, safety-, and discrimination laws.
On is a Swiss running shoe and apparel company. According to Peta, 100% of On running shoes, including the Couldflow are vegan, however, the brand can’t guarantee that the glue they use is also vegan.
Running performance: On Cloudflow is a lightweight running shoe with an innovative design that turns your impact into acceleration. The curved heel is excellent for better hold, durability, and comfort.
Perfect for road running at any distance and indoor training.
Sustainability: The brand is working on a more circular economy, reducing carbon emissions, and opting for more eco-friendly materials. On uses recycled polyester, bio-based polyester, and vegan leather in its running shoes.
Ethics & transparency: Ethical sourcing and transparency are very important for On. You can check out all the brand’s first-tier suppliers on their transparency page.
Shipping: 50 countries worldwide (couldn’t find exactly which ones, but will probably ship internationally soon)
New Balance’s Fresh Foam running line is entirely vegan, however, they aren’t certified and the brand can’t promise that the glue used in their products is free of animal materials.
Running performance: The New Balance Fresh Foam 860 features data-driven cushioning for long-distance comfort, an engineered mesh upper for a fit that feels uniquely yours, and Fresh Foam midsole cushioning for an ultra-cushioned, lightweight ride.
The Swedish Icebug designs shoes that are suitable for slippery terrain and cold weather. The Rover is the brand’s best performing running shoe that also happens to be vegan.
Running performance: The Icebug Rover is made for long comfortable runs, and speed hikes in all kinds of terrain and weather conditions with a grip in mud and rocks, and a superb traction on both dry and wet surfaces. Perfect for the city and trail as well.
Sustainability: The Icebug Rover is made with Bluesign® 100% recycled and solution dyed PET polyester, Oeko-Tex 100 certified lining, and the outsole contains 15% recycled rubber.
In 2019, Icebug became the world’s first climate positive outdoor footwear brand. From 2020 they offset 200% of the brand’s carbon emissions.
Ethics & transparency: Icebug manufactures in Vietnam and in China, and works with factories that provide fair wages and safe working conditions. The brand is currently working on more tracability and transparency in its supply chain.
According to Run and Become, Inov-8 is one of the best brands for vegan running shoes. Some Inov-8 shoes include leather or suede, but the ones that don’t, like the Mudclaw G 260, are vegan.
Running performance: The Inov-8 Mudclaw is one of the best off-road trainers for muddy surfaces. The rubber sole enhanced with graphene and the 8mm studs deliver the toughest grip on soft and wet ground. It’s super lightweight, durable, and perfect for mountain running and obstacle course racing.
Sustainability: Inov-8 focuses on making durable, and high-quality footwear. Some of the rubber the brand uses is recycled, and there are some measures put into place for improving the footwear line’s sustainability, but in my honest opinion, they could be doing a bit more.
Ethics & transparency: Inov-8 running shoes are manufactures in China in a factory that provides safe and healthy working conditions, and wages that are above the average for the area.
Shipping: UK, USA, EU + Switzerland, Austalia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Jamaica, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Thailand, UAE
The Adidas Ultraboost 20 shoes are part of the Adidas X Parley collection that’s made with recycled ocean plastic.
They are not marked vegan on the Adidas website, but according to Top Vegan Shoes, they are “made entirely from vegan materials.”
Running performance: The Ultraboost 20 are high-performance running shoes with a precise fit. Featuring a supportive fit that enhances movement, a midsole that contains 20% more Boost for optimal energy return, and tailored fiber placement for precise support.
Sustainability: Made with recycled Parley Ocean Plastic.
Adidas is promoting a shift in the apparel industry to improve the environmental footprint of factories. The brand is also an active member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), the Roadmap toward Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC), the AFIRM Working Group on Restricted Substances, the Chemicals Management Working Group of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), and of the Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP).
Ethics & transparency: In recent years Adidas has been focusing on increasing transparency in its global supply chain. In 2015 the brand adopted a Fair Compensation Strategy that’s based on the current UN guidelines.
The Reebok Forever Floatride Grow is the brand’s first plant-based running shoe, made with 59% USDA-certified bio-based content.
Running performance: Rebook’s super comfortable running shoe provides lightweight, responsive cushioning, and perfect for your everyday runs.
Sustainability: The Forever Floatride Grow is made with materials that “grow” in nature and provides a solution to the sneaker industry’s enormous plastic consumption. The plant-based materials include eucalyptus bark, bloom algae, castor bean oil, and natural rubber which aren’t only better for the planet than synthetic materials, but better for your feet as well!
Ethics & transparency: Reebok is part of Adidas Group which in recent years has been focusing on increasing transparency in its global supply chain. In 2015 Adidas adopted a Fair Compensation Strategy that’s based on the current UN guidelines.
Merrell Antora 2 is a vegan-friendly running shoe for trail running and comfortable hikes.
Running performance: The Merrell Antora 2 is comfortable and lightweight as a sneaker. Features a breathable yet waterproof mesh which makes these shoes perfect for any weather, hiking in the mountains, or trail running.
The Xero Prio is a super comfortable minimalist shoe that is made from 100% vegan-friendly materials.
Running performance: The Xero Prio is a barefoot shoe that’s designed for a natural fit, natural feel, and natural comfort. It gives your feet just the right amount of protection and security while enabling them to more freely.
Perfect for running, walking, hiking, and even for lifting weights at the gym.
Sustainability: Xero doesn’t provide enough information about the sustainable practices put in place in order to help the environment.
Ethics & transparency: Xero doesn’t provide enough information about the sourcing and the manufacturing of its shoes and apparel.
Topo Athletics is a vegan-friendly running shoe brand. This Peta article says that all but one of their models are vegan. The Ultrafly 3 is an excellent running shoe for vegan runners.
Running performance: All Topo running shoes, including the Ultrafly 3, are designed to have plenty of toe space. This model also features a fit and feel that feels like a second skin, a 5mm drop with under-heel cushioning, and a springy and durable zip-foam midsole compound.
Perfect for road running at any distance.
Sustainability: Topo doesn’t provide enough information about the sustainable practices put in place in order to help the environment.
Ethics & transparency: Topo doesn’t provide enough information about the sourcing and the manufacturing of its shoes.
Mizuno makes fantastic running shoes and all of them are vegan! The Wave Rider is the favorite series of many runners and it definitely worth giving a try if you’re looking for a new pair of vegan running shoes.
Running performance: The Mizuno Wave Rider 24 is a high-performance, neutral running shoe with dynamic cushioning and enhanced energy return.
Awarded Best In Test by Runner’s World in the UK.
Sustainability: Mizuno doesn’t provide enough information about the sustainable practices put in place in order to help the environment.
Ethics & transparency: Mizuno doesn’t provide enough information about the sourcing and the manufacturing of its shoes and apparel.
Altra is another brand that’s a favorite for many vegan runners. The brand makes vegan-friendly shoes with vegan glue that are also comfortable and designed for a great running experience. We recommend the Escalante 2.5.
Running performance: The Altra Escalante has a foot-shaped toe box that allows your toes to relax and move naturally. The balanced cushioning helps you maintain your correct running posture, and the dual nature midsole compound provides an increased energy return.
Perfect for everyday wear, short or long runs, or walks.
Sustainability: Altra doesn’t provide enough information about the sustainable practices put in place in order to help the environment.
Ethics & transparency: Altra doesn’t provide enough information about the sourcing and the manufacturing of its shoes.
Newton is a Peta-approved vegan running brand. Gravity 9 is the company’s best performing running shoe at the moment.
Running performance: The Newton Gravity 9 takes versatility, comfort, and responsiveness to the next level. It’s the brand’s most versatile road shoe designed to help you run smoother and more efficiently.
Sustainability: Newton doesn’t provide enough information about the sustainable practices put in place in order to help the environment.
The brand was a B-Corp but in 2019 decided to drop out.
Ethics & transparency: Newton doesn’t provide enough information about the sourcing and the manufacturing of its shoes.