By Hazel Sutton
Personally, I am not a brand loyalist when it comes to my sneakers. I have many friends who exclusively wear one brand and I can see why as each brand has their own way of fitting for example, Puma's are great for people with low arches and Adidas often fit wide. But I like to try them all and have a lot of different brands and styles in my sneaker wardrobe. But there are some ethics to consider for the environmentally conscious consumer.
Though sneakers are exceptionally durable and versatile shoes, the durability often comes down to the products they are made from. As we come leaps and bounds into discovering new, more sustainable ways of developing fabrics it’s only natural that the manufacturing of shoes keeps up with these new technologies. And yes, we are talking about vegan shoes. There are so many amazing alternatives to leather out there from Pinatex (pineapple leaf leather) to an Italian start-up called Vegea which recycles wine grape waste to make a supple leather, that it’s only natural that we’ve seen a rise in vegan sneakers!
Another great vegan sneaker that is a cult staple in the fashion industry is Veja, and in particular the V-10 CWL and the URCA CWL.The shape of these are so clean cut and modern, with a little sporty tennis style look with the topstitching. The iconic V detail is always in a contrast colour to the rest of the shoe and I love the pastel tones like Matcha or Petale, especially for spring.
I feel like there is a denominating theme with the look of trainers, and the brand LØCI is no different.
Made from 100% recyclable materials, the shoes are entirely vegan and who doesn’t love knowing something they are wearing is made from recycled fibres? They have a whole host of different colours, but their tonal shoes are particularly chic and versatile. The shape is fairly simple so by contrast let's talk about a chunkier, more solid shoe (perfect for a little height boost). Humans Are Vain have created a gorgeously thick soled vegan trainer, made from apple leather and a highly durable eco vegan leather. The whole of this shoe is sustainable from the corn fibre lining to the recycled rubber sole.
I mentioned Pinatex earlier, made predominantly from pineapple leaf fibre. In June last year Ananas Anam, the masterminds behind the leather substitute, collaborated with Nike to create a collection ‘Happy Pineapple’, which is beautiful. Featuring a colour palette of fresh mint, cork print, lime green and cream, the collection is designed around their most popular designs like the Air Force 1’s and Air Zooms. Another sneaker brand using a unique alternative to leather is Flamingos Life. Their retro style trainers are made from corn waste and bamboo which seems insane but honestly they’re so cute. They come in low and high top, feature a beautiful creamy neutral background and pops of brighter colour- my personal favourites are the ‘Retro 90’s White Blue Monocolour’ and I am so tempted to add them to my ever expanding trainer collection.