Make sure your running shoes match your vegan principles
Almost all our running shoes use exclusively vegan materials but the glues don’t necessarily meet Vegan standards. So here is our selection of the best 100% Vegan running shoes.
BEST VEGAN RUNNING SHOE BRANDS
Two brands dominate the Road Running Vegan Shoe scene: Brooks and On.
On is a brand dreamt up by Swiss Duathlon and Ironman Champion Olivier Bernhard. His goal was to create shoes that cushion – those many times competitive-athlete-injured-muscles demand such – but also spring. Softness and propulsion in one shoe? An oxymoron? Not for On. But the thing we most treasure about the On brand is the love that imbues all their efforts; they genuinely want you, the runner, to have a great experience, their staff around the globe to live happily and be fulfilled in their work, and to bring a positive experience to this world of ours. Naturally that includes the environment.
Brooks have become the go-to brand for runners who want running shoes they can trust. What sets Brooks apart? Number one in their world is the – not the marketing jingo, not the latest fad, it’s just you! This shows in a range that is complete with shoes to fit any width and any running gait. They are strongest in road running but also have an excellent trail shoe in the Cascadia, one of the few trail shoes to come in a broader width offering too. Brooks have been focussing on their Eco Policy for longer than it’s been fashionable and this now includes 100% vegan shoes across their entire range of running shoes. Not all are listed here but every Brooks shoe you find on our site is vegan.
With their foot-shaped toe box, specific form-fit women’s models, and cushioned zero drop platforms, the Altra range really achieve their goal of making shoes that are healthy for your feet and posture. Not surprisingly they’re inspired to make their running shoes healthy for our eco-system too. So right down to the glue their running shoes are 100% vegan.
Arguably the Trail and Fell running brands are leading the way on Veganism and Sustainability. In this section you’ll find Altra, Inov-8 and La Sportiva trail running shoes. They are not only 100% vegan but also focused on lessening our impact on the planet. In the words of Inov-8’s representative, “ethical considerations are a big part of our global strategy as we look for more ways to reduce our environmental impact as a business and explore how we can contribute to a sustainable society.”
This is the first On shoe we stocked and we love it as much now as we did then. It is light, it has bouncy, satisfying cushioning, the roll through is natural and easy, and they’re just too run-able! The cloud pods – constructed from zero-gravity foam – cush on landing and then firm up to spring you off. Because there are so many of them (18) they naturally provide great flexibility, so you have a really smooth toe-off. As these shoes are light, you can use them for racing, tempo runs, and regular training.
The Cloudswift is a more robust but still pretty light (240g women’s, 290g men’s) neutral road running shoe. The new Helion super foam provides great impact-protecting cushioning along with increased durability. The new Cloud Elements construction of the midsole sees the clouds compact diagonally which is what helps provide durable and comfortable cushioning. On have added a Speedboard which basically encourages the foot to roll through the stride and propel off (in a responsible way) so you can run further, faster – or not. This shoe will work equally well on slower recovery runs.
One of our most popular neutral road running shoes, the Ghost comes in 3 widths for men (4E being the widest) and 2 for women, so there’s a fit that’s right for everyone. The cushioning is sublime, thanks to plush DNA LOFT. The upper of the shoe is so comfortable, especially around the heel where the comfort collar hugs and protects your Achilles heel. There is also a lovely flow through the stride thanks to the segmented cushioning. All in all, a supremely comfortable shoe for any amount of miles/Ks.
The Ghost is an excellent running shoe, the Glycerin takes perfection to another level. If you’re looking for the smoothest of rides with ultimate comfort then this is your shoe. It feels lighter than previous versions, its combination of DNA Loft and DNA Foam cushioning gives a very smooth and cushioned roll through your stride without being heavy or soggy, and the uppers are luxurious.
The Levitate combines cushioning with spring, so it’s a more responsive shoe. Brooks categorise this as an Energise running shoe; the momentum and power in your stride reacts with the high energy return DNA Amp to power your next stride. It’s luxuriously comfortable and perfect for those who want impact protection but not an overly soft shoe.
On’s first properly effective stability shoe. The Cloudflyer is light, the cushioning has a spring to it – there are softer options below if you like a bit more cushioning – and though it won’t provide enough support for a heavy over-pronator, the stability aspect is efficient and works well for those who need guidance to keep their feet in a neutral position through the stride. This is my shoe of choice and I love it on everything from tempo runs to 10 mile runs. It’s great in the gym too.
This recent addition to the On universe is broader than others – which has proved popular with our customers as some find the rest of the range too tight. It’s also the first shoe to feature double clouds; two rows of them that enable the shoe to offer very effective support and top cushioning. This does mean it’s a bit heavier than other On shoes but no more so than most other road running shoes. It’s a great option for anyone looking for the perfect blend of support, cushioning and spring.
This is On’s max cushioned and stable running shoe that’s all about comfort. It is more substantial than the other On shoes and can take more punishment. You feel secure and comfortable in this shoe, ready for long runs. It has been very popular with our male customers – especially those with a taller/heavier frame, as the cushioning is soft and offers a spring, but without collapsing under the heel strike.
Simply the King / Queen of supportive road running shoes. This shoe continues to out-sell all other supportive running shoes thanks to its effective GuideRails that support and guide your foot, its smooth transitioning from heel to toe, and the DNALoft cushioning. It comes in 2 widths for women and 3 for men (4E being the widest) and is also available in black which can be a great option for those looking for a supportive shoe to wear day in and day out.
The Deluxe, supportive road running shoe from Brooks. This shoe has the plushest cushioning and a 3D seamless upper that hugs your foot for the ultimate in comfort. The GuideRails are there to guide your foot through the stride, keeping it balanced and thereby helping to protect ankles, knees and hips.
The Ravenna is a great option for those looking for slight support against over-pronation but nothing too controlling. This is also a slightly firmer shoe in the Energise category, so it feels lighter, more responsive and quick. It’s still got ample shock absorption properties, so you are well protected.
This lightweight Altra shoe provides moderate cushioning and great proprioception thanks to the low profile – the stack height is 24mm. The uppers are breathable and super comfy, with the standard Altra toe-box that allows your toes to spread as they were designed to. This is a great option for someone looking for a lightweight, natural roll-through shoe for running or walking.
The Paradigm has more cushioning again, and comes with a chunkier 29mm stack height, so it’s great for long distance. It also offers some support for a foot that is softer in the arch and has a tendency to over-pronate; there are no firmer densities on the inside of the shoe, but effective Stabilipods that guide your foot to a neutral position.
The waterproof Goretex version of the ever popular Cascadia offers complete foot protection (as long as water doesn’t get in over the top) for trail running and walking. Brooks have hit it just right with the cushioning; there’s enough there to protect you on longer runs over craggier trails (plus a bit of road), without losing that ground connection that gives you confidence in your stride when tackling uneven terrain.
Finally, Brooks brings us a properly wide trail running shoe. Only in men’s so far but we’re campaigning for a women’s version. The Cascadia has effective grip for a mix of terrains, can cope with some road to get you to the trails, and has good under-foot protection thanks to the Rock Plate and DNA cushioning.
The Parkclaw is a bit of a departure for Inov-8 but a great addition to their range. It’s perfect for firmer trails, plus – as the name suggests – park running. The Powerflow+ midsole provides plenty of impact shock absorption and the grip is good on firm and soft ground – but not properly muddy terrains. This shoe is also built on a wider last, so it’s a great option for those with wider feet.
This shoe works on virtually all types of off-road terrain from grass and firm trails to muddy slopes and wet rock, only very muddy Fell conditions will defeat this shoe. Following Inov-8’s philosophy of connecting with the ground you’re running on, this shoe provides enough impact protection. But it also enables good proprioception, so you can be confident with every stride and connect with the ground no matter what the terrain. The revolutionary G grip is the hardest wearing graphene outersole, so these shoes will stand up brilliantly to rugged terrain.
This is Inov-8’s offering for those looking for support and comfort over hours of running. The shoe-last is broader than some of their other shoes and the cushioning is more substantial; they designed it with long distance training/racing in mind on a variety of terrains. This was their first shoe to feature a Graphene outer sole; famously the world’s toughest grip, and it even comes from the UK (the Lake District). So this shoe can stand up to a lot of punishment, all the time protecting your feet.
La Sportiva’s shoes are literally made on the mountains – at their factory in the Italian Alps. This family brand has a terrific reputation for making excellent trail and hill shoes in an ethical and people-friendly manner. The Akasha is their popular, well cushioned model that can take you from road to trail (but not too much road, you don’t want to wear the grip down). It’s extremely comfortable and will give you enough grip for muddy trails but not fells. There’s a Trail Rocker system that provides a very smooth roll through and almost makes running easier!
This is your zero-drop, broad-based, foot-shaped trail to fell shoe. The upper is tough and can take all sorts of punishment from mud and wet and thorn. There’s even some drainage so the water that gets in can escape. This shoe will cope well with tougher trail conditions and is pretty useful on the fells too. Cushioning wise it’s good but with the focus on ground connection, so it’s not as soft as La Sportiva’s Akasha.
This is a serious fell shoe on a zero drop platform. The 6mm deep TrailClaw outer sole copes brilliantly with the muddiest and wettest of terrains, and the generous width of the uppers is helpful as many fell shoes are on the narrow side. The addition of Vibram’s famed material on the outer sole means this grips on wet rock, and you can tackle tough terrains with confidence. The cushioning is decent, so you will be fine on soft trails too.
The Mutant offers more cushioning than the other fell shoes here. This is a great option for someone looking for a shoe that can cope with muddy fells and steep climbs but also protect on flatter, drier trails. The sticky rubber outer sole provides the grip for wet ground, and the lugs are well designed to give you surety on muddy terrain. The uppers have a great fit; the shoe really hugs your foot, which is so reassuring when you’re careering up and down slopes.
Inov-8's message to the most intimidating of fell conditions is: Don’t mess with the Mudclaw G260! This is the shoe that can take it all on. Steep, wet, muddy/rocky mountain slopes? No problem, the Graphene grip will GRIP and is almost indestructible. Forgotten to clean the mud off, dry the shoe, treat it well? Okay, not a great idea but the uppers are tough and the Kevlar overlays that protect your feet are tougher than steel, but don’t worry, they will cut up the ground, not your feet!
This is a very effective fell shoe: flexible to cope with steep inclines, light which is great for racing, 8mm intelligent lug design to grip and release mud, low profile midsole offering protection but more importantly excellent ground contact. So you can move quickly in these shoes and respond to the changes underfoot at all times. There’s the added security of a meta plate to protect your feet from jabbing stones.