If you’re trying to be more mindful of your impact on the planet, you may have already swapped your car for an electric step-through bike or rolled out your eco-friendly yoga mat at home. Whether you’re training for an event or trying to improve your fitness, consider these best sustainable running shoes.
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1. Allbirds Tree DashersPrice: $125.00Pros:
- Flared outsole improves traction and stability
- Shoe is completely carbon neutral
- Every shoe box features recycled materials
- Runs slightly small
- Relatively tight toe box
- Could use more toe protection
In an effort to cut their footprint by 50 percent over the next few years, Allbirds increasingly practices specific measures such as using natural materials and using cleaner electricity and fuel resources. One of the best sustainable running shoes available right now is the popular Allbird Tree Dashers, which is also available for men. At first glance, it’s a colorful and sleek shoe that pairs nicely with your favorite compression leggings and running shorts. But there’s more to this eco-friendly shoe than its good looks, as it’s packed with sustainable and ethically sourced materials.
Tree Dashers feature renewable materials such as a single-piece upper derived from eucalyptus trees and a dual-density midsole made with carbon-negative green EVA. The midsole is constructed with sugarcane sourced from southern Brazil. According to Allbirds, the company chose sugarcane because it’s entirely renewable and effectively removes carbon from the atmosphere.
A single plastic recycled bottle yields one pair of laces for each pair of Allbirds. The Tree Dashers feature castor bean oil sockliners, which give off less carbon than foam made with petroleum. Naturally sourced merino wool wicks moisture and regulate temperatures. It’s also breathable for maximum comfort on warmer days. Merino wool heel lining supports your feet while you run.
It’s hard not to notice the flared outsole, which improves pronation control and stability. Traction pads sourced from natural rubber confidently grip various surfaces. Each pair of Tree Dashers arrives in a box made with 90 percent recycled cardboard.
With a 7mm heel-toe drop, the Allbirds Tree Dasher caters slightly more towards runners with tight Achilles tendons or who strike the ground with their heels first. This neutral running shoe is cushioned in the appropriate places and provides light stability.
Tree Dasher was rigorously tested by runners of all abilities over a year to ensure it could withstand the demands of every athlete. Whether you prefer to run on the pavement or trails, these flexible shoes won’t restrict your natural movements. We also like the fact that they’re machine washable.
If you’re out running rain or shine, consider the Allbird Wool Dasher Mizzles. They’re made with sustainable merino wool and weather-resistant technology to keep your feet dry when it’s raining or snowing.
2. adidas Ultraboost Parley Running ShoesPros:
- Flexible outsole offers a smooth ride
- Energizing cushioning caters to distance runners
- Breathable knit upper keeps feet cool
- Lacks support for high arches
- Runs slightly big
- Not designed for trail running
The adidas Ultraboost Parley is our second favorite sustainable running shoe. This adidas running shoe, also available for men, contains Parley Ocean Plastic derived from plastic waste found on beaches and in coastal communities. It also features sustainable coloring that reduces environmental impact.
The Parley and adidas partnership began in 2015 when the Ultraboost prototype was unveiled. This shoe also featured upper material crafted from waste that’s collected and repurposed into Parley Ocean Plastic before it reaches the ocean. From there, the material is woven into threads to create adidas X Parley products such as this urban running shoe.
Once you step into the Ultraboost Parley, it’s clear this shoe is just as functional as it is fashionable. Complete longer runs in the Ultraboost Parley, which features a breathable knit upper that’s also derived from Parley Ocean Plastic. A flexible outsole keeps strides smooth and natural as you pound the pavement in your favorite running compression socks. Energetic cushioning beckons you to test your endurance limits.
You won’t find any unnatural color options with this shoe. Instead, the shoe’s natural color schemes are a strong visual reminder of your desire to help protect the planet. Pair the Ultraboost Parley with a reusable sports bottle to further enhance your eco-friendly lifestyle.
3. Reebok Nano X1 Vegan Training ShoesPrice: $150.00Pros:
- Lightweight and durable upper material
- Ideal for running and cross-training
- Ample support for lateral movements
- Only comes in one color
- Runs slightly large
- Could use more cushioning under the arches
Improve your fitness in the Nano X1 Vegan Women’s Training Shoes, which invite you to go fast and far with their flexible forefoot cushioning and integrated support. These shoes are also available for men.
The forefoot cushion blends plant-based castor bean oil and EVA foam for an energetic stride. A plant-based knit upper keeps feet comfortable on warm days and is strong enough for your active lifestyle.
This vegan version features 40 percent USDA-certified bio-based content. Its materials may be slightly different, but it shares the same genetic makeup as the popular and time-tested non-vegan X1 running shoe. For example, a heel clip stabilizes feet for rapid lateral movements. Both versions are built to last and can be used for running, cross-training and other workouts.
Although the Nano X1 Vegan is currently only available in one color, its neutral scheme pairs nicely with your favorite squat-proof leggings and other workout clothing.
4. ASICS Gel-Nimbus 23 Running ShoesPros:
- Durable upper material constructed with recycled materials
- Stretchy midfoot panel supports feet
- Increased heel compression over outgoing model
- Heavier than some competitors
- Not ideal for high arches
- Only the upper is made with recycled materials
According to Asics, the Gel-Nimbus 23 has more heel compression and softer cushioning than its predecessors. These changes aside, it remains a popular neutral road shoe designed for normal arches. This Asics shoe, also available for women, is a solid choice for running in general, although it’s engineered for longer distances.
As the Nimbus evolves, so does its construction. The Gel-Nimbus 23 features a durable upper made with recycled materials to minimize carbon emissions and waste. This makes it one of the best sustainable running shoes in the Asics Gel series if you’re interested in reducing environmental impact.
Gender-specific features, including innovative technology that reduces excess shoe twisting and pillars for increased comfort and responsiveness, make this shoe comfortable for men and women. A midfoot panel stretches as needed yet hugs feet for enhanced stability. Even the eyelets are uniquely shaped to move with your feet, not against them.
Just as this shoe’s gel technology absorbs shocks, its springy foam technology allows for smoother strides and transitions. You can run long distances in these Asics running shoes, with one of these best running watches with music to keep you entertained. The men’s shoe weighs 10.9 ounces and features a 10mm heel drop.
5. Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Vegan Running ShoesPros:
- Designed for running on hard surfaces, walking and working out
- Wider shape keeps feet stable
- Strong and flexible construction
- Not designed for trail use
- Traction isn't the best
- Runners seeking thick cushioning should look elsewhere
The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III is a minimalist sustainable running shoe made with vegan and recycled materials. In fact, they can even be repurposed when you’re ready to move on. This eco-friendly process reduces the impact on the planet.
Urban runners will especially appreciate the active outsole, which withstands frequent impacts on hard surfaces. The sole is 4mm thin for a more natural ground feel. If you’re looking for a running shoe with lots of cushioning, however, the Primus Lite III might not be the right fit.
Unlike many running shoes, Primus Lite III mimics the shape of a foot, rather than a shoe. In other words, your feet can move freely as you run. These Vivobarefoot shoes run a bit wide to promote natural stability. They’re also flexible and lightweight and won’t inhibit your natural movement.
Use this minimalist running shoe for road and urban running. It works just as well for walking and working out.
6. Xero Prio Zero Drop Running ShoesPros:
- Can be rolled up for traveling
- Wide toe box allows toes to spread out
- Backed by a 5,000-mile sole warranty
- Material isn't waterproof
- Toe box may feel too wide for runners with narrower feet
- Relatively short laces
Xero Prio promotes all-day comfort with its zero-drop sole, which keeps feet low to the ground. It’s also made with 100 percent vegan-friendly materials, which makes it a great gift for runners who care about the environment.
Unlike most running shoes, the Prio features an optional midsole. Slip the 2mm insole in for more cushioning or remove it for a more natural sensation. Whether you prefer to run with or without socks, the Prio offers a secure and comfortable fit.
Whether you’re hitting the road or trails, there’s a 5.5mm FeelTrue rubber sole underfoot for maximum protection without reducing ground feedback. Features such as a wide toe box and a breathable mesh upper keep feet comfortable throughout the day.
These flexible eco friendly running shoes move with you, not against you. In fact, you can even roll them up and stick them in a carry-on bag or backpack to save space when you’re traveling.
The lightweight Prio is only 7.6 ounces in a men’s 9 shoe. Whether you’re running or packing the shoes for a trip, you’ll hardly notice them. A 5,000-mile sole warranty offers peace of mind.
7. On Cloud Terry ShoesPrice: $149.99Pros:
- Features two types of vegan leather
- Speed-lacing system makes it easier to slide feet in and out
- Unique dotted sockliner
- Limited color choices
- Not ideal for aggressive trail running
- Caters to urban athletes
On’s Cloud Terry shoes feature two types of vegan leather. While its experimental fabrics, as On calls them, are comfortable and soft to the touch, they represent a more sustainable future for the popular Cloud running shoe. Fans of the original Cloud will find the same renowned silhouette and sleek design in this eco-friendly version.
A blend of cotton and synthetic leather creates a durable shoe that caters to urban runners. Technical materials keep your feet dry and comfortable, even on hot summer days.
Innovative Zero-Gravity foam cushions landings, especially on long and hard runs. A molded heel keeps feet secure, while the shoe’s speed-lacing system makes it easier to slide your feet in and out.
Designed with a 6mm heel-toe drop, this On running shoe falls somewhere between minimalist and average in terms of its cushioning and heel strike. The low top works well with your favorite ankle running socks. It’s also lightweight and weighs just 7.87 ounces.
8. Altra Wahweap Running ShoesPros:
- Fit-specific technology for women
- Durable EVA midsole
- Siped rubber outsole grips rugged terrain
- Minimal arch support
- Shoes aren't water-resistant
- Relatively stiff material
The sustainable Altra Wahweap running shoe features a durable 30 percent hemp upper. Hemp is naturally strong and lightweight, making it well-suited for running and general fitness. It’s also soft and easy on the skin to keep your feet comfortable.
Wear the shoes on trails and rugged surfaces, as the outsole is specifically designed for traction on tricky technical surfaces. A rubber wrap around the toes guards against rocks and other debris.
If you’re looking for a running shoe with minimal cushioning, the thin foam insole provides support without adding extra bulk. A proprietary Balanced Cushioning platform minimizes impacts by maintaining an equal distance between your heel, forefoot and the ground. The EVA midsole is built to last.
9. Merrell Moab Flight Trail Running ShoesPros:
- Laces are made with 100 percent recycled material
- Vibram outsole contains some recycled rubber
- Ample cushioning for trail runs
- Relatively heavy
- Not waterproof
- Bulky design
Moab Flight is a cushioned trail running shoe from Merrell. With a 70 percent recycled mesh upper and a 50 percent recycled top sheet on the EVA foam insert, this is definitely a sustainable running shoe. This vegan-friendly shoe also features Vibram EcoStep sole with 30 percent recycled rubber. Even the laces are made with 100 percent recycled material.
With a 10mm heel-toe drop, this modest minimalist trail running shoe encourages a natural running position. A 29-19mm stack height reveals this shoe has plenty of cushioning without feeling too bulky underfoot.
However, it’s not a lightweight trail running shoe. The Moab Flight weighs a little over one pound, or 460g. Merrell minimized weight where possible, as is evident from its lightweight foam midsole and a removable foam insole. It can still feel relatively hefty, however, especially if you’re carrying extra weight such as a fully-loaded hydration running belt.
The Moab Flight features breathable mesh material to keep feet comfortable. On the bottom, you’ll find a 3mm lug sole for improved traction on trails.
10. Saucony Canyon TR Trail Running ShoesPros:
- Breathable knit upper made with recycled material
- 3D print film makes the upper more durable
- Cushioned midsole guards against impact
- Sits slightly high on the ankles
- Relatively stiff for road running
- Not for fans of zero-drop shoes
Your favorite trails are beckoning. Answer with the Saucony Canyon TR, a versatile shoe geared towards trail runners. This shoe is also made for women. It’s not exclusively built for trail use, however, as the 3mm lugs offer plenty of traction on trails and paved roads.
An average 8mm offset reduces stress on the calves, feet, Achilles and ankles as you run. Saucony’s innovative PWRRUN midsole cushioning guards against impact. A grippy outsole keeps the shoe from sliding on technical trails and slippery surfaces.
A breathable knit upper keeps feet comfortable by promoting airflow. It’s also made with 33 percent recycled material. A 3D print film protects the upper and makes it more durable on the trails.
As with most trail running shoes, the Saucony Canyon TR is on the heavier side. This men’s running shoe weighs 11 ounces.
11. Reebok Nano X Cross Trainer Running ShoesPros:
- Made with repurposed or recycled materials
- Comfortable woven textile upper
- Ideal for running, CrossFit and more
- Runs slightly small
- Toe box is wide for narrow feet
- Higher cut around the ankles can irritate skin
Enhance your sustainable lifestyle with the Reebok Nano X training shoes, which feature repurposed or recycled materials. The lightweight EVA cushion minimizes impacts and keeps feet stable.
True to its name, the Nano X, also available for men, is a versatile option for nearly any cardio workout. Whether your activity of choice is running, climbing, HIIT workouts or weight lifting, you’ll find ample foot support in these eco-friendly running shoes.
The woven textile upper stretches as you move, yet fully supports feet during training sessions. A rubber outsole securely grips paved and unpaved surfaces and is built to withstand frequent use.
A durable mesh and synthetic blend makes the Nano X a sensible choice for your favorite outdoor activities. This training shoe comes in several vibrant colors, many of which reflect the natural colors that surround us.
Which Sustainable Running Shoes Are Best for Everyday Running?
In our opinion, one of the best sustainable running shoes for your money is the Allbirds Tree Dashers. This shoe sports a sleek silhouette and pairs nicely with your favorite running outfits and athleisure wear.
Where this shoe really shines, however, is in its eco-conscious construction. Along with a carbon-negative green EVA midsole, this Allbirds shoe features components made with sugarcane, castor bean oil and even plastic bottles.
Which Are the Best Sustainable Running Shoes for Cold Weather Runs?
When cold weather strikes, the Merrell Moab Flight offers protection. A Vibram Ecostep outsole made with recycled rubber improves traction on uneven terrain.
Whether you're running on trails or pavement, the 3mm lugs offer plenty of traction. Between its 100 percent recycled laces and 70 percent recycled mesh upper, the Moab Flight is a solid choice for eco-conscious runners.
What Are the Best Vegan Running Shoes?
If you're into minimalist shoes constructed with vegan materials, you can't go wrong with the Primus Lite III. This vegan running shoe features materials that aren't derived from animal products.
It's also designed to be repurposed once you're done with the shoe, which means you don't have to worry about sending your old shoes to the landfill.
A thin 4mm sole makes the Primus Lite III a popular choice among runners seeking an eco friendly running shoe that won't disrupt your natural stride.
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