The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Putting your Best Foot Forward with Sustainable Sneakers

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Faye Clayton proves there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to trainers, investigating the sustainability credentials of some of Leeds’ favourites. Faye saves the best till last and ranks trainers from least to most sustainable.

Nike Air Force £84.99

Nike’s production can be seen as highly problematic. Nike has not eliminated hazardous chemicals, and thus have been criticised by environmental group Green Peace. The welfare of the animals in which leather, wool and down feather is sourced from has not been revealed by Nike. Many question the amount spent by Nike on celebrity sponsorship compared to the low wages it pays workers. Therefore, Nike has received the lowest sustainability rating.

credit: Office

Vans Old Skool: £64.99

Vans uses few eco-friendly materials and does not aim to eliminate hazardous chemicals. It also does not strive to pay the living wage and uses leather in many of its products. It is therefore not a sustainable shoe option. 

credit: Vans

Reebok Classics: £69.99

Reebok’s remain focused on emission reduction and its workers are reported to receive a living wage payment. However, a main issue is the use of leather without stating its source, as this implies it is not likely to be a by-product of the food industry. Moreover, leather is not a sustainable material, and for Reebok to score higher it would have to consider less harmful alternatives.

credit: Office

Stella McCartney Loop: £360

Stella McCartney’s recent launch of the ‘Loop’ trainer is an innovative attempt to reduce the harmful impact of fast fashion. This shoe has been created using only eco-friendly materials, including using clips to assemble the shoe instead of glue. The choice of materials mean that once the shoe is no longer wearable you can dismantle the trainers and recycle all the parts. 

credit: MyTheresa

Veja Esplar: £95

Veja craft their trainers from raw materials obtained from organic farming, a process that avoids pollution and harsh chemicals. The brand remains focused on being entirely transparent in the process, publishing a social audit every year. Despite this, style is not compromised and Veja remains a firm staple amongst celebrities such as Meghan Markle.

Credit: Toast

Ethletic: £62 

Ethletic pride themselves on being an entirely ethical trainer brand. All products are made from natural resources that follow their guideline of ‘fair, vegan and sustainable’. This has therefore earned Ethletic the number one ranking. With many of the shoes mimicking a converse style, it’s easy to gain the look whilst being much kinder to the planet in the process.