For many people, going vegan starts with food. But you don’t have to swear off burgers to live a more plant-based, sustainable life.
Luckily, there are loads of animal-free products out there these days—from vegan makeup and skincare to shoes. In fact, with so many trendy vegan sneakers out there (thank you, technology), you might never wear leather kicks again.
According to Galahad Clark, founder of sustainable shoe brand Vivobarefoot, shoemakers now have loads of materials to choose from when designing vegan shoes, from classic cotton and hemp to synthetic creations like polyurethane, thermoplastic polyurethane, and polyethylene terephthalate. (Polyurethane is the most popular leather alternative.) Vivobarefoot has even used a material made out of algae in some of its shoes!
Since many often-overlooked materials used in shoes are animal-derived (glue is a big one), look for a pair of kicks explicitly labeled as vegan, Clark says. “By law, shoes have stickers on them that indicate whether they’re natural or synthetic—but ‘synthetic’ doesn’t always mean ‘vegan,’” he explains.
Good thing most companies make darn sure you know when their sneakers are vegan! Here are 12 of the coolest vegan sneaker brands to know in 2019—plus, the people’s choice (based on top ratings and rave online reviews) from each that you can wear from the gym to the office to out on the town.