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: Thousand Fell Court

Introducing the Court sneakers by Thousand Fell.

All white sneakers are in and the Thousand Fell Court gives you all the style with a heavy dose of positive impact. They are made from recycled plastic bottles and designed to be sent back and recycled when you’re done!

Each pair of sneakers recycles 5.8 plastic bottles and saves 10.5 miles of driving emissions, and 4,820 hours of light bulb energy. They’re also vegan friendly.

How does it feel to wear them though? As Thousand Fell says: “Comfy AF”.

Learn more about Thousand Fell’s sustainability here.

Price comparison: Nike Air Force 1 07 @ $103 Vs. Thousand Fell Court @ $110.

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.

Made of recycled material and wild rubber from the Amazon rainforest. 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.

Learn more about Veja’s sustainability here.

Price comparison: New Balance 574 in color “Steel” @ $99.99 Vs. Veja Rio Branco @ $165.

3. Vans Chima Pro Alternative: Beckett Simonon Reid

Introducing the Reid sneaker by Beckett Simonon.

A departure from the Vans skater shoe, the Reid is an elevated minimalist sneaker and we’re into it. There’s a bigger price difference between these 2 models but you get what you pay for—and Beckett Simonon sneakers are made to order, by hand, in Colombia.

Besides exceptional quality, Beckett Simonon pays its workers living wages and is transparent about where and how their shoes are made. They use eco-friendly packaging and source more sustainable leather (Leather Working Group certified Gold).

Learn more about Beckett Simonon’s sustainability here.

Oh, and for something with more of that skater vibe check out the all black Hemp Sneakers by Etiko.

Price comparison: Vans Chima Ferguson Pro @ $70 Vs. Beckett Simonon Reid Sneakers @ $159.

4. Chuck Taylor All Star High Top Alternative: Etiko Hitops

Introducing the Hitop sneakers by Etiko.

The Hitops resembles the archetypal Chuck Taylor All Star High Top while keeping the planet and workers in mind. Made with organic cotton and natural rubber, certified Fair Trade, vegan friendly, and no toxic dyes. These sneakers are sure to keep you stylish and comfortable.

Learn more about Etiko’s sustainability here.

Price comparison: Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops @ $60 Vs. Etiko Hitops @ $87.07.

5. Adidas NMD City Sock Alternative: Ecoalf Ohio

Introducing the Prinalf Knit Sneakers 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 Ohio sock shoes capture this trend while also cleaning up the oceans.

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. It’s also vegan friendly.

Learn more about Ecoalf’s sustainability here.

For another sock shoe option check out The Fly by ACBC.

Price comparison: Adidas NMD City Sock @ $160 (new on stockx) Vs. Ecoalf Prinalf @ $145.

What’s Your Favorite?

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?

Looking For More?

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

**Article updated 12/29/21

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