The Best UK Ethical Trainers Brands To Know

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On the hunt for sustainable and ethical trainers? I’ve got nine of the best ethical trainer brands for 2023 here for you today.

Did you know that trainers have been rated the most popular shoe in Britain? It’s an odd popularity contest to win but behind this left-field statistic are some shocking facts. Namely, people aged 25 to 34 own on average, nine pairs of trainers each.

It’s not just the 25 to 34-year-olds that are trainer hoarders. Global Action Plan says that UK teenagers collectively own a staggering 58 million trainers. Almost a third of these shoes – 19 million – were unworn in the last three months. 

Why are we so compelled to buy so many pairs of trainers? Are we a nation of fitness fanatics? Maybe. However, a more likely explanation is that the trainer industry has a massive advertising budget to encourage people to buy their trainers.

In 2020, for example, Nike alone spent $3.59 billion USD on advertising. Meanwhile, over the past five years, reports have been circulating that some trainers are a better investment than gold.

Needless to say, we’re clearly sitting on a trainer mountain, that comes with consequences. Global Action Plan says that over 409 Million kgs of carbon emissions are generated in the production of these 58 million pairs of trainers. To put that into context, this is the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe in a medium-sized car almost 50 thousand times. 

The Best Ethical Trainers In The UK For 2023

Person sitting on a chair, wearing jeans and trainers, with a blue text box that reads guide to the best ethical trainers.

Whilst it’s undeniably clear that buying fewer trainers is the best for the planet, and for our pockets, buying ethically when we really need a new pair of trainers is also a good step forward.

Thankfully, in 2023 there’s no shortage of ethical trainers or sneakers to suit all preferences and budgets.

The price range key for this guide is £ = Under £50 | ££ = £50 – 100 | £££ = £100+

Use the quick links below to navigate to a specific brand, or keep scrolling for the full post:


Allbirds shoes UK

Price range: ££ – £££

Available directly from Allbirds

Looking for trainers with a small carbon footprint? Try Allbirds.

Allbirds say that a standard pair of trainers emits 12.5 kg of carbon dioxide. Allbirds also says that its average pair of trainers emits 7.6 kg of carbon dioxide, and it wants to lower that further.

As such, Allbirds ethical trainers are made from natural materials, such as ZQ Merino accredited merino wool grown under strict sustainable farming practices. These include social responsibility, animal welfare, and traceability through the supply chain.

Other materials include recycled plastic bottles, which are used to make shoelaces. Meanwhile, castor bean oil is used to make the insoles for a touch of sustainability in every possible place.


cariuma eco friendly trainers

Price range: ££ – £££

Available directly from Cariuma

Brazillian ethical shoe brand Cariuma makes timeless trainers transparently made from natural materials. Its materials include cork, recycled PET, mamona oil, and leather and suede which is certified by Leather Working Group. 

What’s more, to ensure worker safety, no hazardous chemicals are used in Cariuma’s manufacturing process. Instead, it uses Bluesign-certified chemicals (an independently verified scheme) to dye its materials.


Loci ethical trainers in white and red

Price range: £££

Available from: Loci

Loci make great footwear that greatly reduces harm to animals and the planet. This eco-friendly trainers brand uses only entirely sustainable vegan materials and 100% recycled plastics to make its footwear.

With a sole made from recycled rubber, an insole made from cork, and uppers made using 20 recycled plastic bottles every part of the shoe is crafted sustainably.

Worried about getting sweaty feet with all that plastic? Don’t worry. The comfortable and breathable inner means this isn’t the case.

With this focus on sustainability, you might think there is a compromise on quality. This isn’t the case. Each pair is carefully designed to withstand everyday use whilst offering maximum comfort and water resistance.

And there’s more to love. All of Loci’s shoes are handmade in its factory in Portugal. Plus 10% of all Loci’s profits go towards making lifesaving changes for sea life around the world.


ethletic vegan trainers

Price range: ££ – £££

Available from Ethical Superstore

For vegan-friendly trainers, try Ethletic Footwear. This brand is proud to offer an ethical alternative to leather trainers. Its vegan trainers are made with organic and Fairtrade-certified cotton, the rubber soles are FSC-certified and sourced responsibly, and the rubber is fairly traded.

Seeking to tick every ethical box for footwear, Ethletic is a fair-trade company, with the environment and sustainability at the core of what it does.

In addition, the pioneering Fairtrade rubber project pays a Fairtrade social premium for every kilo of rubber used in the production of these trainers. The rubber tappers then decide how to use their income to improve their living and working conditions.

Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather

vegan trainers uk

Price range: ££ – £££

Available from Immaculate Vegan and Content

Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather is a European cruelty-free and sweatshop-free ethical shoe brand, available in the UK at Content.

This 100% vegan brand uses vegan ‘leather’ or vegan ‘suede’ to create its range of vegan trainers – which have been seen on the feet of celebrities including Emma Watson and Miley Cyrus.

Find various options including lace-ups and velcro fastening trainers, in a range of colours. These are all manufactured in Portugal in a fair trade environment.

Good News

vegan trainers

Price range: ££ – £££

Available from Young British Designers

Good News is a small footwear brand on a mission to improve the environmental and social sustainability of its products. Good News aims to do this by decreasing its carbon, chemical, and water footprint whilst also caring about the people involved in the making of its shoes.

The signature low-top ethical vegan trainers are sustainably made from organic and recycled materials. The uppers are made from bio-degradable natural oatmeal organic cotton sourced. Meanwhile, the organic cotton laces are threaded through recycled metal eyelets. And what’s more, the soles are made from recycled materials – a mix of car tyres and old rubber shoes!

Find them at Young British Designers for £80. Use the discount code YBD10 to take 10% off at Young British Designers. Please note this cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.


novesta shoes uk

Price range: ££ – £££

Available from Trouva

Novesta’s ethical and vegan-friendly trainers are made in Slovakia with a cotton upper and a natural rubber sole, for a natural and eco-friendly approach to footwear.

Specialising in quality and handmade construction, Novesta is committed to manufacturing shoes according to the highest environmental standards.

Every shoe is hand-finished by Novesta’s craftsmen, and every shoe is as comfortable as its cutting-edge design.

Will’s Vegan Store

Wills Vegan Shoes ethical trainers brand

Price range: ££ – £££

Available from Will’s Vegan Store

Will’s Vegan Store makes ethically made eco-friendly vegan trainers and shoes. These are all made in Italy and Portugal under European Union employment, discrimination, and health and safety laws. Together these ensure that workers receive equal pay, maternity, and parental leave.

The shoes themselves are made from vegan leather. This is made with bio oil sourced from organic cereal crops grown in Northern Europe. The rest of its products are manufactured from Ecolabel-certified vegan leathers and suedes made in Italy and Spain that meet Oeko Tex 100 and REACH regulations. Meanwhile, most of their outer soles are made from natural rubber, and their insoles are made in Spain from recycled rubber.

What’s more, the online store operates a plastic-free carbon-neutral supply chain using sustainable materials. It’s no surprise that Ethical Consumer has ranked Will’s Vegan Store as one of the most ethical shoe retailers out there. 


Price range: ££ – £££

Available at Selfridges

This cult organic, fair trade and ethical trainers brand uses eco-conscious fabrics such as recycled and organic cotton, recycled plastic bottles, and sustainably harvested wild rubber to make its stylish ethical trainers. What’s more, workers are paid a fair price for their labour.

If you are vegan, then it’s important to note that not all of Veja’s trainers are vegan. However, Veja does have a huge range of vegan ethically-made trainers. This means that if you are specifically looking for vegan trainers then you are well-catered for.

Looking for more ethical footwear ideas? Check out my post on stylish ethical shoes and my post on ethically made vegan shoes. I also have ideas on ethical wellies and ethical slippers for all your sustainable footwear needs! And if you’re looking for some trainer care tips, check out my guide on how to wash trainers to help keep your favourite pairs looking newer for longer.

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