Updated: May 24
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Though only 1 minute long, Nike profits. Kangaroos die is a powerful short film about the horrible truth behind one of the most well known athletic brands - but Nike is not the only major brand that uses kangaroo leather.
The gore is kept somewhat to a minimum but the most chilling part for me is when the text "2 million kangaroos are slaughtered every year to make shoes" is displayed across the screen. 2 million. For SHOES. If you aren't vegan and this bothers you, consider the amount of other animals slaughtered each year for food, fashion, and more. It's beyond comprehension.
Most people are so desensitized and accepting of cows and pigs being slaughtered, but become enraged when the kangaroo is slaughtered for shoes, or the dog is slaughtered for food in a wet market. Once you make the connection, it's clear that all of it is so barbaric and unnecessary. There are so many ethical and sustainable options out there, yet many businesses still trade blood for profit.
There is no difference, don't @ me.
When I first went vegan, I spent so much time focusing on ingredients and what things are made of, I wasn't yet aware that I needed to also focus on who was producing these items. I bought man-made workout shoes from one of these top brands. The fabric wasn't made of animals, so I felt like I was doing my part (I wasn't aware of adhesives at this point). But the more I opened my eyes to ethical consumerism, the more I realized my dollar was still supporting a company that uses leather, regardless of the animal it came from.
With the rise in veganism however, there's a rise in demand for ethical, sustainable alternatives. So I put together this list of vegan athletic shoe brands. I've included a few brands at the end that are not 100% vegan, but do offer vegan lines. You may think including "vegan-friendly" on the list defeats the purpose of not supporting companies that still use animal products, but we must recognize the companies working towards a more ethical business. Some of these companies are in the process of transitioning or may be testing the waters to see if the demand is there.
Use your best judgement when shopping. Keep in mind certain factors like price points and availability, mean that maybe not everyone can buy from a 100% vegan brand. Veganism is not about being perfect, but rather doing what we can.
Vegan Athletic Shoe Brands
Shoes from these brands are all vegan and cruelty free.
Wide range of vegan shoes for all activities - running, hiking, kayaking, and more.
Matt & Nat
Fully vegan brand with more than just shoes, but do offer a running shoe and sneakers.
All shoes are vegan and cruelty free, and they are in the process of receiving certifications from different organizations. Plenty of different running shoes to choose from.
Don't let the name fool you, this company started before the word "vegan" was popularized. Running shoes and trainers available, but also boots, sandals, and more.
100% vegan and also 100% waterproof. No leather, suede, or animal-based adhesives.
Will's Vegan Store
London-based store with hiking boots, trainers, and a whole lot more. They use Italian vegan leather made from plants, and their vegan leathers and suede are easy to keep up because they don't stain like actual leather.
BONUS: Other Vegan Shoe Brands
Maybe you don't want to workout and just want to look good. These brands are all 100% vegan and have some sweet kicks.
These shoes are made of hemp (awesome) and are 100% vegan and eco friendly.
Boots, sandals, sneakers, moccasins, and more.
High tops and low tops in different colors and some with embroidered designs.
Lots of different shoe options, but their vegan support sneaker comes in cheetah print and tie dye - what's not to love about that?
Fair trade, vegan, stylish, funky, sustainable footwear.
Collection & co
Sneakers, sandals, heels, boots, and more, all made free from animal derived materials.
LA-based vegan brand with all different kinds of sneakers. They even have a design by Adam Horovitz from the Beastie Boys.
Nae Vegan Shoes
Portuguese vegan footwear brand that is eco friendly and offers boots, sneakers, heels and more using various vegan and sustainable materials.
Vegan shoe company working toward making all shoes 100% life cycle managed by 2023.
Italy-based vegan shoe company with boots, flats, sneakers, and more.
Most of the running shoes are vegan. The most recent company update lists 4 styles that are not vegan (Addiction Walker 2, Levitate 2 LE, Ricochet LE, Addiction Walker).
Call It Spring
They are in the process of becoming a fully vegan brand, all current vegan products are labeled on their website.
Has a line of vegan-friendly performance shoes.
All but one model are vegan (the Rekovr contains a wool blend).