Running can help you manage your weight, stress, blood pressure, and cholesterol. And what’s the key to getting and staying in shape with running? A great pair of running shoes.
Who’s in Your Shoes?
You may be surprised. Some shoes that are labeled as nonleather actually contain animal-derived materials. When shopping for shoes, look out for the following:
- Non-synthetic materials: Nearly all running shoes are made from exclusively synthetic materials to keep them light and breathable, but some are made from synthetics blended with various leathers (that’s cows’, dogs’, or other animals’ skin).
- Glues: The synthetic materials of running shoes are put together using strong glues. In some brands, the glue is derived from animal bones.
- Dyes: Most shoes are made with synthetic dyes, but some brands may color their shoes with inks and dyes derived from animals.
Thankfully, it’s now easier than ever to be kind to your legs and feet with the perfect pair of vegan running shoes—with no cruelty to animals!
The good news is that finding vegan running shoes is getting easier every day. Online retailers REI and Zappos even offer vegan search filters on their websites! All brands listed here offer a number of running shoes fit for kind people.
Note: Materials and their derivations may vary by region, so we recommend checking with the company before making a purchase, as production practices could change.
There’s a huge selection of vegan-friendly shoes on the ASICS site including the vegan Onitsuka Tiger line, but if you’re browsing, keep in mind that the brand produces a few that are nonvegan. These have an “L” (denoting the use of leather) at the end of their product codes.
Brooks carries vegan running shoes, just be sure to check their website. Note that shoes in the brand’s Chariot and Vanguard lines are not vegan.
Altra’s running shoes are breathable to keep you feeling cool and comfortable on long runs, and they’re all vegan except the men’s casual shoes that list “leather” on the label.
Xero Shoes offers two 100 percent vegan lines, the Terraflex, which is built to last on rugged trail runs, and the lightweight Prio, which is designed for fitness training and distance running.
The Primal 2 by Lems Shoes is a versatile and entirely vegan running shoe that will serve you well both during runs and in your daily life.
This entirely vegan brand designs lightweight running shoes with roomy toe boxes built to stay comfortable even over long distances.
A sportswear standby, Mizuno has a wide selection of running shoes that are all vegan.
This high-performance Swiss brand, which is 100 percent leather-free, will have you running like a Swiss watch.
With innovative four- and five-lug soles, made for moving easily across rough terrain, this vegan brand can give you the edge you need to crush an outdoor run.
Well known for its hiking boots, Merrell also has an extensive line of vegan runners, from tough trail shoes to light barefoot shoes.
Vivobarefoot offers many unique vegan shoes that can keep you moving seamlessly from serene forest paths to rugged mountain trails and everywhere in between.
This British brand guarantees that all its shoes made without leather or suede are vegan and features a variety of different soles for excellent grip on track or trail.
A name with a claim to fame, Nike has a selection of synthetic running shoes, like these in its light and breathable Flyknit line:
New Balance offers many synthetic options, including its Fresh Foam line, which features a durable, responsive heel that will last run after run.
Adidas has many synthetic shoes that are better for animals on land as well as in the sea, like these Parley shoes made partly from recycled ocean plastic.
Saucony offers synthetic running shoes with excellent cushioning and arch support, such as those in its Everun, Kinvara, and Ride lines.
*Note: These companies cannot guarantee that the glue used in their shoes is vegan. We’ve opted to include them because their products are widely available. The more popular these otherwise animal-friendly shoes are, the more vegan options will be made available in the future.