Ethical Sneakers: Are They Better Than the Regular Ones?

Ailen Berezin 2021-10-25

Let's hop into a new topic that has now become really popular among us Warriors: What are Ethical Sneakers? Are They Better Than Regular Sneakers? Basically, Ethical Sneakers are sustainable shoes made out from either recycled materials or natural ones. How cool is that? Are they better than regular ones?

If you'd like to know more about What 'Sustainable Fashion' is, and why it is Important? you should have a look at our latest article about it.

A good pair of comfortable sneakers is what everyone would choose to wear at the office or just to go around to get grocery's done. They match every outfit these days and they are designed to treat your feet nicely.

The following is a short review of some Ethical Sneakers. Below you can find a longer one.
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What if I tell you that there is something even better about sneakers? They are now Sustainable made by different brands, turning them into amazing Ethical Sneakers. Ethically designed not to hurt our beloved planet Earth. Carefully manufactured with recycled or organic materials that won't make your feet feel as if they were in trouble.

I've tried a few myself and didn't find many differences between Regular Sneakers and Ethical ones besides the designs. But even though there are fewer designs when it comes to Ethical Sneakers, brands like Adidas or Superga have their own Eco line and the designs are just as pretty as regular ones.

The sneaker industry has taken a mayor step into Sustainability by starting to pay attention to the environment (and what people are claiming) by releasing Ethical Sneakers. There are now different options when looking for sustainable or recycled sneakers.

Why are Ethical Sneakers so important?

Everyday shoes companies would sell at least 20 pairs of sneakers per second worldwide. If you do the math, there are tons of sneakers that are no longer functional at the end of each year. Because, as most of the things that we buy nowadays, sneakers only have a limited lifespan until they break or no longer feet the owner.

Just imagine how often kids need to change their sneakers because of growing. This means tons of non recyclable materials thrown to waste. Only less than 5% of the used shoes get recycled. Most of the sneakers found in the market are made from materials that would never break down.

Moreover, most of the sneakers could be easily considered completely unethical as they use leather as the main material. It is socially known that the whole livestock industry is responsible for many of the greenhouse emissions these days.

Also, the whole process of manufacturing and dying the materials that make sneakers, use chemicals that are not only bad for the environment but also for the people who works with it.

These are the main reasons why we should all be sweeping to more, if not fully, sustainable and Ethical Sneakers. There is no need to buy unethical ones if you have the option to do it.

Well known brands are now jumping on the Sustainable train and releasing more ethical options for their publics. Is this enough? That is a question we should be discussing soon. What is real for sure is that the whole market is slowly changing.

Cotton, hemp, bamboo fibers and corn fibers are the main organic characters from this movements along with recycled rubber.

Our Top Pick: Ethical Sneakers

Best for everyday Men Sneakers: Aldo's lace-up sneakers

Aldo is a leading Sustainable brand in the market. Their shoes are made entirely from recycled or organic materials such as algaes and natural rubber. Not only these sneakers are ethical but also they come in different colors. Buy on Amazon

Best Lace-less Men Sneakers: Aldo's Sustainable Sneaker

How comfortables are lace-less sneakers? Just hop on them and you are ready to go. These are the best sellers from Aldo's brand. They are comfies, they are neat and you can wear them at anytime. The sole is consistent, firm and of course, recyclable. Buy on Amazon

Best primegreen-made Men Sneakers: Adidas Advantage Eco Sneaker

How shock was I when I discovered that Adidas was manufacturing prime class Ethical Sneakers. Well, even though they are not a 100% made from recycled or sustainable materials, Adidas has done a good job when manufacturing this pair of sneakers. Buy on Amazon

Best Sustainable Women Sneaker: Aldo's Women Sneaker

These ladies signature designed sustainable shoes from Aldo's brand. The whole pair of sneakers have been made from sustainable and recycled materials. You can pick from three different colors. Also, Aldo is always giving away discounted rates on left over sizes, so you can even get them for a really good price if you are lucky. Buy on Amazon

Best Fashionable Women Sneaker: Superga Cotton & Hemp Sneaker

Superga Cotton and Hemp Sneakers are simply my favorites one. I would recommend them to anyone who is looking for fresh everyday sneakers that could easily match any outfit. They are the proof that sneakers could be pretty and also ethical. Buy on Amazon

Best Lightweight Women Sneaker: Ryka Women's Empower Sneaker

I would describe these ones as the most supportive and flex ethical gear on the market. They would get you anywhere without hurting your feet. Also, they come in two different colors and are lace-less. Buy on Amazon

The following is a deeper and more extensive product review.

Best for everyday Men Sneakers: Aldo's lace-up sneakers

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Sustainable Warriors Score

4 5

Buy on Amazon

What I Like

  • Rubber sole
  • Algae insole
  • Three colors

What I Don't Like

  • Double check sizes

As I've said on the previous description, Aldo is a leading Sustainable brand. Aldo not only have Ethical sneakers but also all different types of shoes. Their shoes are made entirely from recycled or organic materials such as algaes and natural rubber.

Manufactured with a 100 % synthetic materials and a rubber sole. Insoles are made from algae derived biomass material and the upper knit is created from recycled plastic bottles or RPPL as they would like to call it. The knit in each pair of sneakers prevents the landing of at least five plastic bottles into the ocean or landfill.

Also, an equivalent of 70 standard water bottles is cleaned and filtered in the sustainable making process. Aldo is committed to keep on increasing this rate. As they would say increase the freshwater effect.

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If you are into fashion you can find these sneakers as a really pretty and suitable for everyday option. Aldo's are easy to match with your favorite jeans or jogger pants. If you know your clothes, you can pick the one sneaker that would better match your wardrobe from three different colors like black, beige or light brown.

The Love Planet selection from Aldo's will help you mix and match your Ethical Sneakers with other different accessories.

Best Lace-less Men Sneakers: Aldo's Sustainable Sneaker

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Sustainable Warriors Score4 5

Buy on Amazon

What I Like

  • Lace-less

What I Don't Like

  • One color available only

One of the most important things about Sustainable and Ethical Sneakers is the materials from which they are made from. The key here is that most of these materials should at least be biodegradable, organic or recycled. Even though most of the recycled shoes are actually made from non biodegradable materials, they are better than buying a new pair or non-ethical shoes.

In this case, Aldo's have designed a whole collection, named Love Planet, that mix between recycled materials such as plastic knit and biodegradable materials like the algae made insole. Lace-less is not my favorite choice but I cannot deny that they are a really comfortable option for everyone.

And this is the case of this Aldo's lace-less Ethical shoes for men.

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As per customers review, these ethical sneakers would fit snug but tight. They only come in one color: black, so it would be the perfect accessorie for those classic sustainable men. You could easily match them with a pair of jeans, black or denim and wear a casual outfit for your week or weekend days.

In my opinion, the biggest downside here is the only color available, but it is not crucial as you can get it in a different model if you want.

Best primegreen-made Men Sneakers: Adidas Advantage Eco Sneaker

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Sustainable Warriors Score5 5

Buy on Amazon

What I Like

  • Trend
  • Design

What I Don't Like

  • Not 100 % sustainable

I simply love how hard Adidas tried to make their well-known Superstars into something sustainable. I am not going to open up the debate on whether if it is ethical that Adidas is manufacturing unethical sneakers at the same time. My point here is about how gorgeous and ethical this pair of sneakers is.

The outsoles are made from natural rubber, the grip that you can find with this pair os sneaker is amazing. The grip is firm and steady while the closed shoe laces keep them tight and close to you feet. You can find these sneakers in five different styles from black to green details stitches.

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I couldn't like these sneakers more. Specially because you can use them everywhere, anytime. At the office, for a walk or even if you are going to a bar you can just wear them and they would look amazing. Even more because they are sustainable and ethical. The transparencies from the sole are a nice detail.

As all sustainable shoes they might last a little bit less than regular shoes because they soles are made from natural rubber. So just need to keep a little bit of more care with this ones.

The biggest downside that I could find is that they are not one hundred per cent made from recycled materials and that they are manufactured by a brand that not only makes ethical shoes.

Best Sustainable Women Sneaker: Aldo's Women Sneaker

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Sustainable Warriors Score5 5

Buy on Amazon

What I Like

  • Colors
  • Design

What I Don't Like

  • Snug

Pink, black and beige: these are the three different colors that you can come across in an Aldo's women Ethical sneaker. As the whole Love Planet Aldo's collection, these are completely Ethical shoes made from recycled and sustainable materials. The design of these sneakers is super classy and sober. Perfect for weekend away or a week jog after work.

Aldo keeps on amazing us with their whole sustainable and ethical collection. I have simply became a fan of this brand. The soles made from rubber are soft and cushioned as well as the insoles. You don have to leave your footprint behind to wear these sneakers.

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The biggest downside for these ethical sneakers is just that the fit of the shoe itself is a little bit snug, I dare to say. So If you are trying to get this ones, just keep an eye onto the size guide so you don't get a big bummer when you try them on when they arrive.

Nothing else to say about this ones, they are great, super comfies and they look amazing.

Best Fashionable Women Sneaker: Superga Cotton & Hemp Sneaker

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Sustainable Warriors Score4 5

Buy on Amazon

What I Like

  • Design
  • Comfortable
  • Fashionable

What I Don't Like

  • Only one color available

Superga Cotton and Hemp Sneakers are simply my favorites one. I would recommend them to anyone who is looking for fresh everyday sneakers that could easily match any outfit. They are the proof that sneakers could be pretty and also ethical.

OMG I couldn't love them more. It might just be because they are the perfect match for most of my wardrobe's outfits but who wouldn't like them? The sole is made from organic cork, which can lead to your feet getting wet faster, but that might be the price you are paying for having great Sustainable Ethical sneakers for a great price that also look absolutely gorgeous.

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Chapeau to Superga that have definitely made their point with these sneakers: Ethical can also be fashionable. They only come in one color, which is an "dirty" white. Of course it is it because of the lack of chemicals used in the manufactured process. Normally, white shoes are dyed or the color is removed with different types of toxic chemicals that we then use in our feet or worst: They then lie on the surface of our planet.

Love these sneakers so much I would never stop recommending them.

Best Lightweight Women Sneaker: Ryka Women's Empower Sneaker

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Sustainable Warriors Score
3 5

Buy on Amazon

What I Like

  • Everyday active sneakers
  • Two different colors

What I Don't Like

  • Personally, I do not like the design
  • Not 100 % Sustainable

Ryka Ethical shoes are entirely made in the USA. What means that delivery times are faster than usual. Ryka has designed these sneakers as everyday lace-less active sneakers. Despite the whole body of the sneakers is made from recycled polyester, the sole is synthetic which means that we cannot be sure about their manufacturing process.

But they are really comfortable sneakers that you can use for work, exercising or just for running errands. Comfortable is the key with these sneakers. The knit is super breathable and it stretches easily, in a good way. There is a crisscrossing stretch gore straps and supportive synthetic and flexgear overlays.

Another key point is that the slip-on fit with back pull tab for easy on/off. This improves the anatomical Precise-Return insole with extra arch & heel support.

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I would personally wear these sneakers if I was going on a trekking weekend to the bush. They fit really comfortable, they are super lightweight and easy to wear on and off. Although I do not like the design at all, I need to say that the fit is perfect. Plus, half of the sneakers are sustainable which is great. But it is a true downside that they are not 100% ethical or sustainable.

We need to make changes in our everyday life that help our planet because basically we are helping ourselves as well. We might be the ones investing into sustainability by buying to small producers that are also concerned about how we reduce our carbon footprint.

So have a look at the different options that you have today, make changes and help Planet Earth.

Ailen Berezin

Writer & Content creator - Globe trotter - Book worm

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