Step Into Greener Style With These Eco-Conscious Sneakers

Step Into Greener Style With These Eco-Conscious Sneakers
Mar 2023

From P448's apple-skin leather shoes to the Cariuma kicks loved by Dame Helen Mirren, replace your worn-out soles with these sustainable alternatives.

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This story is part of The Hollywood Reporter's 2023 Sustainability Issue. Click here to read more from the digital issue.

You can have your fruit and wear it fashionably, too!

The latest in sustainable materials are cooked up from apple and grape skins and other produce byproducts, then spun into stylish sneakers fit for the feet of Hollywood.

Veja's eco kicks -- made of responsibly harvested organic cotton and Amazonian rubber -- are a starry style mainstay, having been worn by royals Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton and stars including Emma Watson and Reese Witherspoon. (The label has previously collaborated with Marni, Ba&sh and Rick Owens.) Dame Helen Mirren wore Cariuma's eco-friendly sneakers to Cannes in 2022; other fans of the Brazilian label include John Hamm, Ashton Kutcher and Pete Davidson. And Oscar-winning environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio has put his money where his feet are as an investor in the British vegan footwear brand Loci.

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Experts agree that the most sustainable move is to avoid buying new and stretching your existing wardrobe. But shoes can be a different story: Ask any runner who has worn out their tread beyond the recommended 500 miles. Most footwear is constructed from petroleum-based materials (such as glues, synthetic tanning agents and products used to clean and finish shoes), which release volatile organic compounds that contribute to global warming and may take decades to decompose. And an estimated 22 billion of those threadbare pairs are tossed into the trash annually and end up landfills, per a 2020 study by U.K.-based research group Opinion Matters commissioned by Vivobarefoot.

Those looking to keep their old soles from harming the planet can use Terracycle's shoe recycling program. Brands such as Veja, Thousand Fell and Teva will also take back their old pairs and turn them into new ones.

Ready to replace your old brown shoes? Ahead, shop this season's Earth-friendly kicks made of recycled and consciously sourced materials from Loewe x On, Adidas by Stella McCartney, Veja and more.

Cariuma OCA Low Avatar Water Canvas Sneaker

Regularly spotted on the feet of Dame Helen Mirren and Robert Downey Jr., Cariuma teamed with Avatar: The Way of Water on a Pandora-inspired colorway of its best-selling OCA Low sneakers. The organic cotton and recycled canvas sneakers feature recycled plastic laces and a cushioned insert made of sustainable cork and mamona (a plant-based organic alternative to petroleum) and are finished with a bioluminescent Na'vi pattern. Cariuma OCA Low Avatar Water Canvas Sneaker; $110, cariuma.com


Cariuma OCA Low Avatar Water Canvas Sneaker; $110, cariuma.com


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P448 John Vegan Apple Pink Sneaker

P448's John kicks are made of apple-skin leather and finished with recycled tread and organic cotton laces and lining. Part of the Italian label's Project Sustainability, the silhouette turns approximately 30,000 tons of waste into materials with a lower carbon footprint. P448 John Vegan Apple pink sneaker; $315, p448.com


P448 John Vegan Apple pink sneaker, $315; p448.com


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Thousand Fell Men's Court Sneaker

Thousand Fell's signature zero-waste unisex style is responsibly made in Brazil of a breathable, recyclable upper, an aloe vera-coated mesh liner, a cushioned recycled rubber insole, recycled plastic laces and structural components made of coconut, palm and sugarcane. Roughly 11 miles of driving emissions are avoided, 4,821 hours of bulb energy are saved and about six plastic bottles are upcycled in the process. Thousand Fell Court Sneaker; $155 (including recycling deposit), thousandfell.com


Thousand Fell Court Sneaker; $155, thousandfell.com

Thousand Fell

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Loewe x On Cloudventure Sneakers

From Loewe and On's running shoe collaboration, the Cloudventure runners are made of recycled canvas and mesh and come in a variety of other spring shades. Loewe x On Cloudventure sneakers; $450, net-a-porter.com


Loewe x On Cloudventure sneakers, $450, net-a-porter.com


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Veja Rio Branco Recycled Runner Sneakers

Veja Rio Branco runners are made of organic cotton and recycled polyester mesh. The certified B Corp label has been worn by Meghan Markle, Eddie Redmayne, Jennifer Garner and Chloe Grace Moretz. Veja Rio Branco recycled runner sneakers; $160, neimanmarcus.com


Veja Rio Branco recycled runner sneakers; $160, neimanmarcus.com

Neiman Marcus

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Loci Nothing New Seven Sneaker

Loci's Nothing New Seven sneaker features a water-resistant upper made of 20 recycled plastic bottles and a recycled rubber sole. Leonardo DiCaprio is a new investor in the vegan footwear label, and Nikki Reed has collaborated with the brand. Loci Nothing New Seven Sneaker; $205, loci.com


Loci Nothing New Seven Sneaker; $205; loci.com


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Reformation Harlow Leather Sneaker

Reformation's 100 percent recyclable Harlow leather sneakers get a Bridgerton-inspired spin with contrast piping and accents in a blue floral pattern. The brand says 5 pounds of carbon dioxide and 1,297 gallons of water are saved in the making of its shoes. Reformation Harlow leather sneaker; $148, thereformation.com


Reformation Harlow leather sneaker, $148, thereformation.com


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Rothy's The RS01 Sneaker

The RS01 unisex sneaker by Rothy's is made of the equivalent of about 28 single-use plastic bottles. The company's factory is working toward zero waste certification, and its workshop and offices have been certified with Gold and Platinum ratings, respectively, by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Rothy's The RS01 Sneaker; $179, at rothys.com


Rothy's The RS01 Sneaker; $179, at rothys.com


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Chloe Nama Sneakers

Chloe's chunky-soled Nama sneakers are assembled with hand-stitched recycled mesh and suede and finished with exaggerated embroidery. Chloe Nama sneakers; $795, net-a-porter.com


Chloe Nama sneakers; $795, net-a-porter.com


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Vans x Wyland Octopus Seas Classic Slip-On

Made of eco-conscious cotton sourced by the Better Cotton Initiative, Vans' classic slip-ons get an ocean-inspired makeover by marine life artist Wyland. All proceeds from the limited-edition pair benefit the Wyland Foundation's clean-water efforts and environmental programs. Vans x Wyland Octopus Seas classic slip-on; $110, wylandfoundation.org


Vans x Wyland Octopus Seas classic slip-on; $110 at wylandfoundation.org

Wyland Foundation

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Adidas by Stella McCartney Ultraboost Light Shoes

Eco-luxury designer Stella McCartney's version of the Adidas Ultraboost Light sneakers are made of Parley Ocean Plastic and recycled polyester for 10 percent lower carbon emissions. Adidas by Stella McCartney Ultraboost Light shoes; $250, adidas.com


Adidas by Stella McCartney Ultraboost Light shoes; $250, adidas.com


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Allbirds Women's Canvas Pacer Mids Sneaker

Allbirds' unisex Canvas Pacer mid-ankle sneaker features lightweight organic cotton canvas, a midsole of sugarcane-based foam, and a tencel and recycled polyester blend lining. Allbirds Women's Canvas Pacer Mids sneaker; $120, allbirds.com


Allbirds Women's Canvas Pacer Mids sneaker; $120, allbirds.com


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Saucony Jazz Court RFG Sneaker

Made of seven natural and renewable materials, Saucony's plastic-free Jazz Court RFG sneakers are constructed from cotton, jute, wool, rubber, wood, gardenia and beet. Saucony Jazz Court RFG Sneaker; $130, saucony.com


Saucony Jazz Court RFG sneaker; $130, saucony.com


Buy now