5 Top Brands of Recycled and Vegan Leather Shoes


The word vegan no longer has the extravagant connotations it once had. Forty years ago, labeling something “vegan” would have deterred people from buying it. These days, brands are rushing to offer “vegan” products made from innovative materials to advance their sustainability goals.

It’s important to point out that just because something is vegan doesn’t mean it’s sustainable. That being said, any brand that is working to reduce the amount of animal leather they buy and sell is taking a step in the right direction.

Here are five top brands that make shoes from recycled materials or vegan leather.

1. Pangaia Grape Leather Sneakers

Have you ever wondered where all the skins, seeds and stems go after crushing grapes to make wine? Well, thanks to Pangaia, a lot of trash is going to make stylish sneakers. Waste from the Italian wine industry provides Pangaia with its lightweight, breathable vegetable-tanned leather. It also requires little water or vegetable tanning alternatives and is sustainably produced in Portugal.

Durability was also considered when creating the shoe’s rubber sole. Rubber is made from industrial waste from samples, scrap, prototypes and other products that do not pass quality inspection tests.

2. Nike “Pineapple Cork” Shoes

Unfortunately, these Nike Air Force 1s made from pineapple waste aren’t edible, but they’re eco-friendly. Made with Pinatex’s patented pineapple vegan leather, these sneakers have been designed to reflect their organic origins.

The main body of the sneaker is constructed from cork. The imperfect bronzed exterior makes the shoe instantly recognizable.

3. Veja Vegan Leather Sneakers

Veja is the new brand everyone is talking about. The “V” embroidered on the sides of their sneakers replaced the classic Converse All-Star tag in the “it” bands. Veja sells animal leather and canvas sneakers, but also offers all-vegan leather shoes.

Their vegan leather is made from corn scraps and polyurethane. Aesthetically, there is not much difference between the vegan and non-vegan leathers sold by Veja. Polyurethane leather has more grain and is also used to make furniture.

4. Adidas ‘Primegreen’

Adidas has made efforts to reduce its environmental impact, particularly with regard to the use of virgin polyester. Their “Primegreen” line is not just for their sneakers, but it gives consumers the option to move away from buying new plastic products.

Primegreen is a newly developed fabric that contains no virgin polyester fibers or plastic. Adidas Primegreen sneakers are clearly labeled and you will be pleased to see that most of their sneakers are now made from Primegreen.

5. Reebok Vegan Leather Sneakers

Crafted from synthetic suede, the Reebok Classic Leather Vegan shoes are a durable blast from the past. Their soles are curved upwards and the colors are bright. If these sneakers weren’t clearly labeled “vegan”, we never would have guessed they were free of animal products (including glues and colors).

If you have a choice, why not go vegan?

Major fashion brands make it easier for consumers to choose the ethical option. While some may argue that it’s hard to shop sustainably when shopping for new clothes, we appreciate the steps these brands are taking. Hopefully, at some point, vegan shoes will become the norm for leather sneakers, and not just another way to sell more products.

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