The Anatomy of a Vegan Sneaker

Anatomy of a Sustainable Sneaker@2x

Living a wholly vegan lifestyle involves more than just abstaining from eating animal products. Vegans also embrace cruelty-free fashion and sustainable clothing

Vegan sneakers and footwear are additional ways people can help both animals and the environment, while still looking stylish. This article includes everything shoppers need to understand the anatomy and structure of ethical, sustainable and vegan sneakers.

What Are Vegan Sneakers?

A vegan sneaker isn’t made with any ingredients from animals or their by-products. This means the shoe won’t have any down, wool, silk, fur, or leather. None of the products are tested on animals either. The past decades have seen a rise in eco friendly fashion choices. By using synthetic materials and recycled materials, shoes have come a long way into the eco-friendly world.

Benefits of Sustainable Fashion

The main benefit of wearing shoes made from sustainable materials is that they are good for the earth. They don’t harm any animals during production. True leather shoes also tend to wear out quickly. A vegan shoe is made of durable, strong fabrics that are resistant to weather as much as possible. They also stay looking fresh for a longer amount of time. Most people are familiar with the sad feeling when their leather shoes get wet and deformed. The leather becomes stained with salt and too stiff to wear. This doesn’t happen when you wear sustainable shoes. You can also get better quality shoes at a lower price.

Importance Of Vegan Materials In Shoes

Ethical fashion is something the last thought of a vegan. Most people think about food, but shoes aren’t always on the top of your mind. The good news is that it is possible to buy a vegan sneaker that is eco friendly. A vegan comes to the realization that everything they buy from make-up to furniture could damage the environment. There are dozens of vegan materials that can be used to make stylish, durable shoes. Many of these shoes are made from recycled products helping the earth and the fashion industry. The sustainability and economic impact of every pair of vegan sneakers stack up to make a huge impact on the world.

Vegan Materials

You should always look for certain materials used to make your shoes. Some are bio-based, while others are synthetic. We’ll dive into some of the most popular vegan materials that are being used to create sustainable fashion that will keep the world spinning and your feet styling.

Natural Cork

Cork is one of the most sturdy, unique materials to use to make sustainable shoes. It’s a fashion-forward material because it is water-resistant, completely recyclable, and renewable. It’s easy to keep it looking brand new. It’s a natural fiber that you can get straight from oak trees. Cork oak trees can live to be over 300 years old. You’re not only wearing eco-friendly shoes, but helping to prevent the desertification of these precious cork oak forests.


Piñatex is sometimes called pineapple leather. It is made from pineapple leaf fibers.

This innovative material is sustainable and natural. It also helps support farming communities because the fashion world is using something they were throwing away. The pineapple leaf fibers undergo a special process where they become a non-woven type of textile. In the next phase, they receive a special finish that gives them the look of leather.


Hemp is a perfect material to use for shoes because it is made without any fungicides, pesticides, or herbicides. It doesn’t even rot. It regulates your temperature, so your feet aren’t sweating in your shoes. Another great thing about hemp that it is anti-bacterial, so your feet won’t have a funky odor at the end of the day. Hemp footwear is durable and sustainable at the same time.

Recycled PET Bottles

Recycled plastic bottles are usually used to create the soles of a vegan shoe. These types of bottles can be made into a material that looks stylish and functional without looking anything like plastic. The only downfall to this material is that it isn’t biodegradable. It’s easy to wash in the machine, sustainable, and versatile for many different types of shoes.

Recycled Rubber

Recycled rubber is durable and sustainable. This material does take a long time to break down. It is often made from old tires. Many shoes use recycled rubber made from 100% waste truck rubber granules. These are made without mixing with other waste particles.

Biobased Polyurethane

Biobased polyurethane is an innovative material that is much more environmentally friendly than traditional polyurethane. It is made from forage corn, which cannot be eaten. The best thing about it is that it is lighter than real leather. It’s also waterproof and can even be dry cleaned. Biobased polyurethane is used in many other industries, but is taking the shoe world by storm for its durability and style.

Mushroom Leather Suede

Mushroom leather is one of the biggest things in a sustainable fashion. Its organic and is born from a type of fungus. This fungi is actually able to be grown in a specific shape and size for a shoe. Mushroom leather suede is softer than everyday suede and antibacterial.

Final Thoughts

Sustainable shoes are the fashion of tomorrow. They’re durable, lightweight, look great, and keep you comfortable all day. Above all of these things, these shoes are helping the environment. By wearing vegan shoes, you’re changing the world one step at a time.


Kristina Meyers is a contributor to Fair Trade Finder, a blog that provides online shopping recommendations for sustainable, ethical and organic products and services. 

Kristina is an experienced consultant with a demonstrated history of working in consumer goods, government agencies and software as a service. She is skilled in analytical skills, web design, management, and marketing. Kristina has a Bachelor of Science in Design and Urban Planning from Cornell University, Ithaca New York.

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