5 brands of ethical & sustainable sneakers you should know about

Buying “lifestyle” sneakers for outside-of-the-gym has become completely normal. Chanel has its models walk the runway in sneakers. Designer Yohji Yamamoto’s collaboration with Adidas has paved the way for multiple co-branded, limited edition & quite expensive designs. The norm is now to own not just one, but several pairs to match your wardrobe. The offer is increasing every month & a new kind of sneakers is successfully establishing itself as a legitimate alternative: sustainably and ethically made sneakers. Here are 5 brands which you might not have heard of yet. But I think they are doing a great job at going against the (mass market) flow.

1.VEJA

Country: France
Production: Brazil
Price range: €65-130

When you buy a pair of sneakers from a major brand, 70% of the price tag goes into marketing. Veja decided to spend 0€ on marketing and to put more money into production instead, while keeping the price tag on par with other brands. The rubber used for the soles is wild rubber gained from Brazil, in the Amazonian forest, where the working conditions respect fair trade and environmental standards. Veja says that making the same sneakers in China would cost 1/3 of what it costs in the Brazilian factory – but they couldn’t guarantee an ethical process or the use of sustainable materials.
Shop*: here and here. 

2. For Your Earth

Country: France
Production: Taiwan
Price range: €55-95

This brand produces in Taiwan, where some factories master the art of making textiles out of recycled plastic bottles. They use water-based glue to hold the elements together & 50% of a shoe can be recycled into a new shoe, adding natural rubber and synthetic rubber for stability. The pigments used for the color are either certified non-toxic or even completely natural. 
Shop: here and here

3. Novesta

Country: Slovakia
Production: Slovakia
Price range: €59-149


There aren’t many brands that still fully produce in Europe. The original Novesta model was created in Czechoslovakia, for the Olympic team to wear in Seoul (1988). The question of how to attach the upper to the sole is always tricky in terms of sustainability, when making shoes: Novesta doesn’t use glue. They machine-press and vulcanize the rubber sole onto the shoe, which results in notches that make the sole look like a tire. That’s the brand’s signature.
Shop*: here and here

4. Ahimsa

Country: Brazil
Production: Brazil
Price range: $99-109

In 2014, Ahimsa was the first brand worldwide to have a 100% vegan shoe factory. The sneakers are hand-made and 100% as well (mostly PU). If you are looking for a vegan pair of white sneakers, this one is a good alternative to more famous brands.
Shop*: here and here

5. Wado modelo 89

Country: Spain
Production: Portugal / Spain
Price range: €119

This brand started last year as a Kickstarter crowd-funding project where each sale would help plant 2 trees. Instead of using materials derived from plastic, which are not always bio-degradable and that aren’t 100% recyclable yet, Wado consciously decided to use the leather that’s left over from the food industry. The sole is a mix of natural & synthetic rubber.
Shop: here and here


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5 brands of ethical & sustainable sneakers you should know about
5 brands of ethical & sustainable sneakers you should know about

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