Eco sneakers for everyone

Stroll, strut or saunter in these more sustainable shoes.

We've come a long way since the first earth-friendly shoes; forget the bland and the ugly, these days eco-sneakers can be something to covet. Better still, you can dress the whole family in these good-looking kicks, and they’ll handle sports, outdoor adventures or the street.

Sustainability First

Simple Shoes has developed a hot line of sustainable sneaker footwear they call ecoSNEAKS, with witty names such as Satire (for women) and Innertube (for men), speaking to the line’s clever repurposing of recycled car tires and inner tubes for soles. Commited to becoming 100 percent sustainable, Simple is also using laces made from PET plastic (from recycled plastic bottles), and their ecoSNEAKS are made with hemp fabrics and certified organic cotton for uppers and liners. Simple’s distinctive Green Toe line of is created with an organic cotton lining, water-based cements and with only certified suede and BLC leathers for a totally rad look in over a dozen colours and styles.

When it launched, Nike’s Jordan XX3 was branded as one of the first “environmental” sneakers in the sports footwear category, due to the fact that it was manufactured without toxic adhesives (it’s stitched instead) and all materials used are obtained within a few hundred miles of Nike’s factories. The megabrand’s CONSIDERED line can be easily disassembled for recycling. Nike has also launched the first all green performance basketball shoe. The Trash Talk sneaker is made entirely from materials leftover in the factory that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Not the greenest of green but certainly an improvement over their other lines.

Using 100 percent organic hemp and water-based glues, Blackspot has produced an edgy shoe that is worker and eco-friendly. Their Blackspot Sneaker resembles the classic Converse sneaker. Patagonia also has a diverse selection of rugged casual shoes with familiar earthy colors and vegetable-based dyes, recycled rubber and hemp fibres. The Sprats line is perfect for tweens and wee ones. It has breathable pigskin and mesh linings, brawny rubber soles and bumper toes perfect for play. Adjustable elastic laces make them easy to put on or take off.

Will a kid wear ugly shoes even if they are good for the earth?

Luckily they won’t have to. Keen is a shoe manufacturer who supports environmental, conservation and social organizations interested in connecting people with the outdoors. Its shoes reflect its philosophy of sustainability and durability. The kiddie version of the Ventura sneaker has all the features that made the adult shoe a best seller. With a natural canvas upper, removable jute, cork and natural latex footbed and a natural rubber outsole, this sturdy and attractive shoe breathes and provides traction on almost any surface. Perfect for running around the schoolyard.

Teenage boys probably won't care, but their favourite brand of skaters shoes just got a bit greener. Etnies has started selling vegan shoes that are totally animal-free and eco-friendly. You'll be able to spot the vegan shoes with their special label (a cow with a red line through it).