Ethical Trainers Are A Thing & These 5 Pairs Are More Affordable Than You Think

Eco-trainers are the 'keep cup' of the shoe world...

by Lauren Sharkey and Sarah Lakos
Originally Published: 
Edward Berthelot / Getty

Searching for ethically made trainers? Or eco-friendly trainers? It's clear that humans are having a huge detrimental impact on the environment. From what we wear to the incessant packaging that we use, it's up to us to make the change that is needed to stop the damage in its tracks. And you can begin with making sure your next pair of kicks are sustainably made.

Luckily, more and more sustainably-minded companies are popping up to help. One sector that has switched focus is footwear. Many brands were admittedly once hard to source but you can now pick up several ethical trainers in the UK.

You may be think that ethical products are often more expensive than their non-ethical counterparts; and in many cases this is true. Why? Because ensuring all workers are fairly paid for their time and effort, ensuring materials are locally sourced wherever possible (and 100 percent natural too), and ensuring that easy-to-use yet harmful chemicals are banned in factories cost money.

While you may not be able to buy sustainable trainers for less than £50, at least you can purchase something that is giving back to the environment — and other people in most cases. From brands that are working to defuse the refugee crisis to labels seeking innovative alternatives to toxic fabrics, the following will ensure your wardrobe finally has the good conscience it deserves.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle UK's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.


Sports Trainers, With A Difference

The All Birds Tree Dasher trainer is the same price as most sports performance shoes - the biggest difference is it's made from renewable and sustainable materials. It lists eucalyptus trees, sugarcane, castor bean and merino wool as just some of it's materials. Machine washable, and designed for comfort while you walk, run or train - they also come in 10 different colour ways.


The Brand That Prioritises Its Workers

These Ethletic trainers look similar to vintage Converse - the big upside is they're Fairtrade certified, and vegan. Their supply chain is completely Fair Trade and sustainably sourced, from plantations in Sri Lanka to their factory in Pakistan. They also support those communities, funding community projects and healthcare. If that does make you feel good about buying trainers, we don't know what will.


French Style Made From Brazil's Most Sustainable Materials

Style mavens made the Veja V-10 Trainers insta-famous in just one season back in 2017. Not only do these trainers look fantastic with summer dresses or your favourite denim - the owners are totally transparent about the brand's supply chain. With most of their materials sourced from Brazil, they believe in paying a higher market rate to help support communities. Veja have not only thought about their economic impact, but ecological too - banning PVC from their production process and removing harmful chemicals from their production process.


Trainers With A History

The Slovakian brand's Novesta Star Master is made from natural rubber and 100% cotton canvas. We've included this weekend-friendly pair, but they have a wide range of more sporty styles too! Operating since 1939, they were way ahead of their time in producing ecologically minded footwear. Both the cotton and the rubber used are certified. We love the chunky soul - a trademark of this heritage brand.


The Shoe That Helps Others

With a mission statement of: giving back, one step at a time, Good News trainers are exactly that. Their Good News + Net Sustain high tops are super chic AND do the good work of recycling materials, promote Fair Trade, donate stock to refugees and the homeless and constantly look for ways to reduce the impact of their production processes.


The Converse Swap

The Po Zu Rebellion High Tops are made from pineapples. Well, the sole is. The brand works with farmers in the Philippines, they use the discarded leaves from pineapple plants to create the 100% vegan rubber in their shoes. This, with fair trade linen upper makes the shoe a sturdy, comfortable wear. We love this retro style, which comes in a few additional colours and stitching details.

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