Ethical Alternatives to 5 of the Most Popular Men’s Sneakers

Let’s face it, change is hard. As humans, we try our hardest not to disrupt harmony, even if it means settling for less. 

At the same time, we have to recognize the state our planet is in and that both the way we consume resources as well as the rate at which we do so is not sustainable. We need to start making changes to lessen our environmental impact while also improving conditions for the people who make our clothes (and shoes).

However, making changes to live a more sustainable lifestyle is not about making sacrifices. It is about making choices.

With these 5 ethical sneaker alternatives you can keep your style game turned up while dressing like you give a damn.

1. Nike Air Force 1 Alternative: Veja V-10

Introducing the V-10 by Veja.

All white sneakers are in and the Veja V-10 gives you all the style with a heavy dose of positive impact. Made of organic cotton, recycled polyester, and wild rubber from the Amazon rainforest, the all white Veja V-10 are made with sustainable materials and ecological practices.

Wild rubber helps protect Amazon trees from logging by incentivizing harvesters to keep the forests alive and continue tapping this renewable resource. Veja also pays living wages across their supply chain.

Price comparison: Nike Air Force 1 07 @ $90 Vs. Veja V-10 @ $150.

2. New Balance 574 Alternative: Veja Rio Branco

Introducing the Rio Branco by Veja.

The New Balance 574 is a classic, versatile staple in many sneakerheads’ closets. Veja’s retro style sneakers will keep you in the same style while also being made sustainably.

Price comparison: New Balance 574 in color “Steel” @ $99.99 Vs. Veja Rio Branco @ $140.

3. Vans Chima Pro Alternative: PANAFRICA Sneakers

Introducing the Derby in Pointe-Noire by PANAFRICA.

A departure from the all black Vans, the PANAFRICA are different and we’re into it. If you’re all about the minimalist black aesthetic, try the Diego Low Tops by Nisolo.

PANAFRICA’s designs are inspired by their trips to Africa, featuring the landscapes and prints they see along the way. Learn more about the brand here.

Price comparison: Vans Chima Ferguson Pro @ $65 Vs. PANAFRICA Derby @ $100.

4. Chuck Taylor All Star High Top Alternative: Po-Zu Butterfly Hi

Introducing the Butterfly Hi sneakers by Po-Zu.

The Butterfly Hi resembles the archetypal Chuck Taylor All Star High Top while keeping the planet and workers in mind. Made of 100% organic cotton, fair trade rubber, completely solvent-free, and featuring a luscious “foot mattress” insole, these sneakers are sure to keep you stylish and comfortable.

Price comparison: Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops @ $55 Vs. Po-Zu Butterfly Hi @ $121.

5. Adidas NMD City Sock Alternative: Ecoalf Shao

Introducing the Shao by Ecoalf.

Sock shoes are like the urban athleisure equivalent of being a ninja, as demonstrated by Adidas NMD City Sock style sneakers. Ecoalf’s Shao sock shoes capture this trend while also cleaning up the oceans. Also check out Ecoalf’s Sia shoes for similar options.

Ecoalf requires BSCI or SA8000 certification from all of its suppliers, ensuring their commitment to safe and fair working conditions for people. Made from recycled plastic bottles found in the sea, this minimalist sneaker is sure to turn heads.

Price comparison: Adidas NMD City Sock @ $160 (new on stockx) Vs. Ecoalf Shao @ $126 (currently on sale).

Although living more consciously can positively impact people and the planet, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your style to do so. Fortunately, many ethical shoe brands have recognized this and are making the transition an easy one.

What is your favorite sustainable sneaker alternative?

*Featured image is the V-10 sneakers by Veja.

**Article updated 1/15/21

Eco-Stylist only endorses brands that pass our sustainable brand criteria. If you buy from those brands using our links, you help keep our cups filled with coffee. Learn more here.


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