Having taken the top spot in last year’s review, this pair from Humans are Vain still managed to hugely impress the second time around. Stylish, comfortable and versatile enough to go with a variety of outfits, they were our go-to time after time.
Once upon a time, veganism was considered a fringe movement – but not anymore. The number of vegans in Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, according to the Vegan Society, while the global vegan women’s fashion market has been valued at almost $400bn (£307bn). Interestingly, vegan footwear accounts for 41.3 per cent of that total.
We’re moments away from Earth Day, celebrated every year on 22 April, which means you may be on the hunt for a more ethical fashion fix. In fact, with growing concerns for the environment and the impact of animal farming on the planet, even those not dedicated to a plant-based diet are exploring alternatives for the fridge, cupboards and even their wardrobes.
By now, most of us are aware of the fashion industry’s harmful part in global carbon emissions, but trainers are an area that can be particularly problematic. A mix of non-environmentally friendly materials, such as nylon and plastic, plus chemical solvents and energy-intensive manufacturing processes, means that the vast number of trainers being produced each year really takes a toll on the planet. There is a link too with cattle farming and deforestation, making leather a contentious material in the billions of pairs of shoes created each year.
Thankfully, a growing number of brands are looking to create trainers that are suitable both for vegans and those trying to reduce their environmental impact. Making use of recycled materials from post-consumer waste, combined with innovative ways of crafting fashion from plant-based materials, such as pineapple, means there are a bunch of exciting and cool ways to get your sneaker fix sustainably.
How we tested
Every pair we reviewed was taken for a spin: on daily walks, city explorations, dashing to get trains and everything in between. Countless miles have been walked (and run) in the shoes, with comfort, design, style, price and durability all considered. Obviously, each of the brand’s eco-credentials was of key importance, and while some brands on the list are entirely vegan, others have a mixed offering.
The best vegan trainers for 2022 are:
- Best overall – Humans are Vain challenge v2 sustainable panel sneaker: £135, Humansarevain.co.uk
- Best unisex vegan trainers – Loci x Reed nine: £145, Lociwear.com
- Best vegan trainers under £100 – Ration.L r-kind trainer Jupiter pink: £70, Rational.co.uk
- Best luxury option – Stella McCartney women’s Stella #StanSmith Adidas: £235, Stellamccartney.com
- Best variety of choice – Veja v-10 cwl white california: £150, Veja-store.com
- Best waterproof vegan trainers – 8000 Kicks explorer v2 for women: £110, 8000kicks.com
- Best canvas vegan trainers – Superga 2750 organic cotton in natural beige: £45.50, Superga.co.uk
- Best vegan running trainers – WVSport oakes cross running trainers: £97, Wills-vegan-store.co.uk
- Best for fashion lovers – Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather samo vegan low top sneakers: £104.90, Goodguysdontwearleather.com
- Best vegan trail trainers – Vivobarefoot x Finisterre primus women’s trail knit: £70, Finisterre.com