8 Best Vegan Friendly Running & Workout Shoe Brands + 19 Shoes Reviewed 2019

4.8 (96%) 20 votes

Are you catching a lot of static looking for a pair of the best vegan workout shoes for you?

I get it!

Many Non-Vegans think being Vegan is only about what you eat.

But being means vegan so much more than simply not eating meat and animal products!

Being vegan is a lifestyle choice that means not using or consuming any animal-based foods or products so as not to exploit, use, abuse or cause cruelty to animals in any form or manner.

Veganism extends far beyond food to the products we use every day-including running shoes.

Finding vegan alternatives can be daunting.

Most products on the market simply aren’t designed with a vegan philosophy.

But you want to feel healthier and stronger, and you want to achieve your goals without compromising on the things that are important to you.

Good news! – Here are 19 vegan approved workout and running shoes you can wear with a clean conscience.

fitness woman standing near tree looking below

19 Best Vegan-Friendly Workout & Running Shoes 2019

Since vegan options are hard to come by, you’ll be jazzed to know that there are a few vendors who adhere to the vegan philosophy in their running shoes.

The following shoes provide quality workout shoes made from ethically sourced vegan materials.

Asics Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Shoes

Review: This stylish vegan-friendly athletic shoe is prized by parkour athletes and fanatics everywhere.

They are light, only 10.5 oz, flexible, have a good grip, using a singular grip pattern that runs across the shoe bottom and up over the toe edge.

The shoes have flat canvas laces that STAY TIED! The shoes have a lot of styles and are great for working out or worn casually.

Pros

  • These athletic vegan friendly sneakers are light, and comfortable.
  • Have a great grip.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • Not good on slick or wet surfaces.
  • Better for concrete and similar surfaces.

Takeaway

Excellent vegan friendly outdoor urban workout shoe. This shoe is solid on all features needed for a workout in a metropolitan park setting.

ASICS Women's GEL-Kayano 22 Lite Show Running Shoe

Review: This vegan running shoe is designed for overpronators. The shoe is durable and comfortable thanks to the shock absorbing shell and angled gel pad for comfort.

The flight foam sole adds stability to the shoe, AND is made from eco-friendly organic fibers. The heel contours to your ankle and allows you to get a nice ‘spring’ off the toe as you run.

Pros

  • This model & color is great for night runs because of integrated reflective.
  • Sock liner keeps your feet dry.
  • Gel comfort underfoot – well cushioned.
  • This athletic shoe is good for those who overpronate.

Cons

  • Some find the shoe too narrow, keep in mind the shoe back is designed to grip your heel.

Takeaway

This is the ideal shoe for ladies who run long distances and who overpronate. Great for nighttime runs too!

Merrell Women's Pace Glove 3 Trail Running Shoe

Review: This vegan minimalist running shoe has a 0 drop, and a glove-like feel. This model is less glove-like than its predecessors and has a bit more structure, making it a little less minimalist, which contribute to the shoe durability.

The Pace Glove 3 has cushioning at the bottom, but not so much that you experience heel striking. The cushioning is much less than an average padded athletic shoe.

This model also has somewhat of an arch, although the arch is very low.

Pros

  • Minimalist shoe with a glove-like feel, allows you to feel the ground, barefoot feel.
  • Some structure and arch support while still being a minimalist style.
  • Long-wearing – durable soles.

Cons

Takeaway

A great minimalist barefoot athletic shoe with just a touch of structure and support.

Merrell Men's Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe

Review: The Vapor Glove is a vegan-friendly men’s trail running shoe with a minimalist, barefoot feel.

There is scant cushioning, just around and under the heel. The shoe has 0 drop and the shoes have just the slightest structure while remaining extremely flexible.

The outer is made from fabric covered rubber, the shoe has flat laces that stay tied, the heel is low profile and the outer is a sticky rubber for effective traction.

Pros

  • A very light running shoe.
  • This shoe allows for a barefoot feel, has a natural fit, minimal support features and a flat arch.
  • Vegan friendly.

Cons

  • The shoe has somewhat limited breathability.

Takeaway

Great trail running shoes for men who like a barefoot feel.

Bonus: great for driving too, especially a stick shift because you can feel the pedals.

Merrell Women's Grassbow Air Trail Running Shoe

Review: The shoe upper is made from mesh and vegan-friendly synthetic leather.

They have good ventilation. These shoes have an air cushion sole that makes the shoe comfortable and a strong tread pattern that grips even slippery surfaces you may encounter on the trail.

The traction is effective in winter or cold climates because of the uniquely designed M-select grip material plus these shoes feature an anti-odor lining so they can be worn without socks if you like.

Pros

  • The shoe has a medium range structure, good support.
  • Effective cold weather traction.
  • Good arch support.

Cons

  • The shoe can be somewhat stiff when you first begin wearing them so they require an extended break in period.

Takeaway

Excellent for trail running, hiking, or for those who are on their feet all day.

Mizuno Men's Wave Prophecy 2 Running Shoe

Review: This vegan-friendly shoe has a mesh upper overlay, angled eyelets, AP plus foam midsole and Mizuno’s double infinity wave sole that absorbs shock.

The Infinity Wave sole also adds spring and moves you forward as you run. The shoe is stiff and stable with a high arch that is placed more toward the heel.

The outsole is lined with XTM carbon rubber for durability.

Pros

  • This shoe has lots of support.
  • Good for high arches.
  • Durable and long wearing.

Cons

  • The shoe is pricy.
  • The shoelaces won’t stay tied.

Takeaway

This is the shoe for those who require support and shock absorption while exercising.

Mizuno Men's Wave Elixir 8 Running Shoe

Review: This is a stability vegan running shoe by Mizuno. Mizuno redesigned this shoe by placing the overlay under the mesh, so it is now an underlay and can be felt when trying the shoe on.

The underlay is there to add durability to the upper.

The shoe is very flexible in the forefoot area thanks to Mizuno’s flex controllers installed in the sole to redirect energy.

Pros

  • This shoe is a good fit for an over pronator.
  • Light and well cushioned and has a large toe box.
  • Flexible and durable sole.

Cons

  • These shoes are very brightly colored, some find them too showy.

Takeaway

These shoes have a good amount of support without being too stiff and clunky.

Mizuno Men's Wave Rider 16 Running Shoe

Review: This vegan-friendly shoe is very light while still being supportive. The sole is firmer in the forefoot than the heel area, so it’s not a shoe for mid-foot runners.

The shoe is well ventilated with a large toe box area. The shoe has a medium drop and this shoe works for heel runners.

Pros

  • This shoe is very light weight.
  • It has a medium drop and mid-level support.
  • It has great shock absorption.

Cons

  • These shoes tend to run narrow.

Takeaway

Great shoes for high impact exercise and running.

Newton Running Men's Motion IV Shoes

Review: This is the 4th iteration of the Newton Motion vegan-friendly shoe. This model has a thinner tongue, flat laces, and is super light.

The shoe features the 5 ridged precision designed POP 1 lugs on the sole that Newton’s are known for.

The POP 1 Technology allows the shoe to decrease energy loss and return energy back to your stride, making for a very efficient run.

This model is good for runners with metatarsus pain and they help the runner avert heel striking.

Pros

  • Offers good stability.
  • Features the POP 1 Technology which returns energy to your stride.
  • Good for long or short runs.

Cons

  • They run a bit small so consider ordering a size up.

Takeaway

The runners shoe for everyday training.

Newton Running Men's Kismet Shoes

Review: Very light, at just 9.7 oz, the kismet also has the POP 1 energy return technology.

The 5 lugs on the sole of the shoe are part of the energy return system of the shoe and the wear that develops on the lug can give you a good indication of your pronation so you can properly diagnose your run style.

This shoe is a stability shoe with a modest 4.5mm forward motion drop.

Pros

  • Good structure stability shoe.
  • A very durable shoe.
  • Extremely light for a training shoe.

Cons

  • Some feel the shoe is too structured and not flexible enough.

Takeaway

A good vegan training shoe for runners who like a little structure and decent stability with a slight drop.

Newton Terra Momentum Trail Running Shoes

Review: This is Newton’s vegan trail running shoe; they offer medium range support and are a good fit for neutral runners or overpronators.

This trail runner also has Newton’s POP 1 Lugs on the shoe sole, allowing the runner to gauge wear and contributing to the energy return system of the shoe.

This shoe is a little heavier than other Newton’s but is still very light compared to other brands.

Pros

  • The shoe is comfortable and has medium level support.
  • This is a durable and hardy shoe, very well built and can withstand trail abuse.
  • Lightweight.

Cons

  • Some users believe the platform of the shoe is too high, making the shoe unstable.

Takeaway

Good all terrain shoes, great for loose gravel, muddy trails, even snow.

Brooks Men's Adrenaline GTS 14 Running Shoe

Review: Brooks best vegan shoe for men. This shoe has a ‘caterpillar crash pad’ tread pattern on the sole.

This pattern snakes around the outside edge of the sole allowing you to get a good heel to toe transition no matter if you are a forefoot runner, midsole runner or heel runner.

This shoe is very flexible because the accents are printed on the shoe as opposed to stitched. The toe box is mesh covered and well ventilated.

The heel is well supported. The shoe is vegan-friendly and the midsole is biodegradable.

Pros

  • Great support, cushioning and stability.
  • Good for folks with larger or wider feet.
  • Moderate arch support, but not excessive.

Cons

  • Some say they are not as durable as previous models.

Takeaway

Brooks number one shoe for a reason, a good all terrain type shoe that works as well in a CrossFit gym as it does on the pavement.

Brooks Women's Addiction Running Shoe

Review: This Brooks Addiction women’s running shoe has Brooks ‘Caterpillar crash pad’ DNA tread that guides the foot from heel to toe orchestrating a more biomechanically proper stride.

Mesh top toe box for good ventilation and copious midsole cushioning.

Pros

  • These shoes have ample cushion, structure and stability.
  • Supportive vegan running shoe.
  • Great shoe for overpronators.

Cons

  • These shoes tend to run a half size too small, so consider ordering a half size up.

Takeaway

This athletic shoe is a secure and supportive shoe for female runners.

Brooks Women’s Transcend 2 Running Shoes

Review: The Transcend 2 is a vegan friendly athletic shoe for women. This shoe has lots of support and cushion for overpronators.

This shoe has a ‘guide rail’ built into the side that allows your foot to land naturally, while at the same time, gently guiding it as needed. Good ventilation mesh toe box.

This shoe has a soft lining and feels luxurious. There is a heel counter installed to the outside heel of the shoe to give heel support, while the inside heel remains soft and comfortable.

Pros

  • These shoes have plenty of cushion and ample support.
  • Soft, luxury feel.
  • Good for overpronators.

Cons

  • This shoe tends to run small, has a higher arch and can be narrow.

Takeaway

The most cushioned shoe Brooks makes, great for ladies who need more luxury, support and structure.

Onitsuka Tiger Machu Racer Running Shoe

Review: The Onitsuka Tiger brand has a rich Nippon history dating back to 1949 when the founder started making shoes for youth to rebuild Japan after the war.

In 1966 they partnered with Blue ribbon sports, which eventually became Nike. This particular model, the Machu, has a synthetic mesh upper with faux vegan-friendly suede details.

The shoe is low cut and super flexible, meant for running on a track, but can also be worn as a low profile casual fashion sneaker.

Pros

  • Very light.
  • Lightly padded collar.
  • Heritage style.

Cons

  • These shoes run small.

Takeaway

A superb vegan track shoe with style to the core.

Saucony Originals Jazz Low Pro Vegan Sneaker

Review: These classically styled Saucony shoes are 100 percent vegan. They are made from hemp and canvas, which are sustainable materials, so they are good for the environment too.

They run a tad wide, which some runners love, and they make a good running, walking or even an everyday casual shoe, thanks to the retro design.

Pros

  • Retro 80’s throwback style.
  • Vegan material – hemp, cotton canvas, and rubber.
  • Good for wide feet.

Cons

  • Wear a little faster than other running shoes.

Takeaway

Best vegan friendly workout shoes with a classic style.

Merrell Trail Glove 4 Runner

Review: No animals were harmed in the making of the Merrell Trail Glove 4, and that’s what I love about them most.

I also love their minimalist “feel the ground beneath your feet” composition, long-wearing yet relatively thin sole, ultra-lightweight – and all that while being protective too. They are a win all around.

Pros

  • Long wearing, durable sole, and Cordura upper.
  • Anti-microbial and breathable – can be worn sockless.
  • 0 drop.
  • Best vegan trail running shoes.

Cons

  • Not weather proof – if you run in the rain or cold, your feet will be exposed to it.

Takeaway

This minimalist style vegan running shoe is the best vegan running shoes for 2019.

Xero Shoes Prio Women's Barefoot Running Shoe

Review: Xero Prio Shoes are good vegan-friendly running shoes. The most unique feature of this shoe, and one I really like, is the strap that is threaded around the heel and through the sole.

This strap keeps the ankle in place and allows you to relax the foot instead of flexing to keep the shoe secure. Any runner who has problems with heel slipping will be able to relate.

Pros

  • Innovative sandal “huarache” style strap keeps the foot secure.
  • Super comfy-wide toe box and flexible sole.
  • Barefoot style running shoe – lots of ground feedback.

Cons

  • Runs small – order up!

Takeaway

If you love wearing sandals but need to wear “real shoes” for running give these a shot!

Topo Athletic Ultrafly Running Shoe

Review: Topo is one of the best vegan running shoes brands. They do not use any animal products or latex in all their shoes except one model that uses ethically sourced wool (not this model).

These Ultrafly running shoes offer a little cushion and support, which is hard to find in a world of barefoot minimalist support shoes out there.

Since the Ultrafly vegan running shoes have good midsole support and guidance, I recommend them for overpronators.

Pros

  • The modest 5mm drop keeps you moving forward.
  • Cushioned supportive midsole guides your gait – great for overpronation.
  • The wide toe box, yet snug at the heel.

Cons

  • Runs small-size up.

Takeaway

Best vegan running shoes for overpronators.

The Importance of the Right Workout Footwear

woman tying shoelaces before running

Working out in shoes that don’t fit right can be dangerous for a variety of reason.

Slide on or slip on shoes, like sandals or flip flops, are extremely unsafe to wear while running.

Using them on a treadmill makes them even more unsafe. Since these shoes don’t properly cradle your feet, they can fly right off.

You’re more prone to tripping in these unstable shoes because they leave your foot largely unprotected.

Casual sneakers aren’t much better.

These shoes are made for light walking, rather than working out. Casual everyday kicks lack the proper tread you need to get a good grip and are often too flat to have any support at all.

Whether you’re walking on a treadmill or hiking in the woods, you need that grip to help your feet solidly connect with the ground.

Slippery treads make for a slippery workout.

Running Shoes Last Longer than Casual Sneakers for Exercising

Common casual sneakers won’t last very long if you use them for athletic activities like running or jumping.

Since these shoes are only designed for minimal impact, they won’t be able to handle the inevitable damage they’ll endure when you’re using them to exercise.

The seams will come apart, the soles will wear through very quickly and you will develop holes in the upper if you use them for sports and running.

Sneakers may be half the price of good workout shoes, but they only last half as long and do not protect your feet half as well.

The best vegan running shoes will provide you with a dependable level of durability, allowing you to push yourself to your limits without your shoes giving up on you.

The tread on the soles makes it easier to climb steep hills or run fast on the ground. Many workout shoes come in different varieties, with the soles being designed with certain activities in mind.

Buying the right shoes for the right purpose can improve the efficiency of your workout.

The Right Shoes Protect Your Joints and Knees

Most good workout footwear also provides the proper arch support, which helps keep your spine aligned while you’re exercising.

Flat shoes with no arch support that can’t properly cradle your foot will affect your body from the feet up by allowing the shock of your steps to slowly damage your body.

Investing in the right workout shoes is a no-brainer.

What to Look for if You’re Searching for Best Vegan Running or Workout Shoes

Athletes foot close-up with heel support running shoes

If you’re on the market for vegan footwear, you’ll have to make yourself a small checklist to be sure the shoes you’re buying are actually vegan.

Sometimes, it’s easy to be deceived into believing that a shoe is vegan just because it was constructed without leather.

Leather is the least of your worries when it comes to purchasing running shoes, as many of the practices that go into producing them involve animal testing and animal byproducts.

Glues

Thankfully, animal-based glues are no longer a staple in shoemaking. In most circumstances, companies prefer to use synthetic glues that don’t contain animal derived ingredients.

Animal-based glues used to be very popular, but companies are ceasing to use them in favor of higher performing synthetic alternatives.

Synthetic glue holds better, lasts longer, and is cheaper to produce.

It’s rare you’ll find a shoe company that is still using animal-based glues in their products, though there are a few left out there.

But don’t get excited just yet – just because the glue isn’t animal derived, that doesn’t automatically make it vegan.

Certain synthetic adhesives may be tested on animals, and the only way to know for sure whether or not the glue in your shoes falls under that umbrella is to inquire with the manufacturer about where they source their adhesives from.

Non-Synthetic Materials

What materials your shoes should be constructed out of largely depends on your moral compass.

Obviously, animal-derived materials are out.

A lot of the times, companies will often label shoes made with animal skin as “natural materials” and while they are technically natural, they certainly are not vegan.

Vegan running shoes can be made from natural materials, but it’s best not to assume that the natural materials are vegan unless the company specifies they are in fact vegan.

The majority of the time, vegan shoes are made from manmade or synthetic materials.

This is great if no animals were harmed in the process, but if you’re concerned with the environment, you might instead choose vegan athletic shoes that are made with recycled content or natural materials like cotton or hemp-based cloth like the Saucony Jazz.

A lot of eco-friendly companies use vegan post-consumer content, such as recycled plastic bottles or recycled rubber, to create a shoe that is more than just vegan – it’s also better for the planet.

tired woman taking a rest after running

Materials Tested on Animals

Some components of a shoe, such as the previously mentioned synthetic adhesive, may have been tested on animals.

The same goes for the dyes that are used to color shoe material.

Sometimes, dyes are not only tested on animals – they’re actually made from animal byproducts.

Synthetic material blends can be tested on animals to measure their levels of toxicity. It may be nearly impossible to completely avoid all animal testing, but some brands are a lot more committed to phasing it out than others are.

Not only the shoes in the above list appropriate for vegans, they’re also good for the planet.

If you want a great shoe that won’t jeopardize your moral values, you won’t have to look too hard.

Even if companies aren’t solely vegan, most major brands do provide alternatives that are appropriate for vegans to use.

You won’t have to compromise on quality or your position when it comes to ethical practices.

Some of the best vegan workout shoes on the market are right here in this list.

All you need to know is what to look for, and which brands to trust. Think of this as your ultimate shopping guide.

Best Vegan Running Shoe Brands 2019

workout shoes close-up

Topo

Topo is a newcomer to the Vegan shoe market, but they do not lack experience. The shoes are designed by a runner with over 35 years of running experience and a passion for the perfect running shoe.

Topo strives to create running shoes that follow the natural motion of the foot and promise to only use materials or add features that are absolutely necessary.

Topo does not use any latex or animal products as materials or adhesives for their running shoes except the Rekovr model which uses ethically sourced wool.

Xero

Xero makes many vegan running shoes, in fact, all but one model, the Coalton boots, are vegan.

While the founders of Xero are not vegan themselves, they are happy to offer running shoes that vegans can feel good about wearing.

Saucony

While Saucony is not an all vegan shoe company, it does offer some good vegan running and casual shoes.

In Addition to the Saucony jazz running shoes, they also have the stylish Azura line, made from synthetic microfiber that contains no animal products.

ASICS

It’s easy to find ASICS shoes anywhere.

They’re a major brand, and they’re carried by most athletic shoe suppliers. While it’s good to know you can rely on the brand and they’re easy to find, don’t assume that every pair of shoes they make is vegan.

While the majority of the line is suitable for vegans, some of their shoes do contain leather components.

These products are easy to distinguish from their vegan counterparts by looking at their product code.

If the product code has a letter “L” at the end, this denotes the use of leather.

Just check the code before you try them on.

Merrell

Merrell has an impressive collection of shoes in their vegan-friendly line. The company offers shoes for both men and women, all for different athletic purposes.

Running shoes, hiking shoes, and general sports shoes are just the tip of the iceberg. They also offer unique high-top heavy-duty sporting shoes as well as a variety of lighter athletic slip-ons.

Some of their shoes do contain leather, but Merrell carefully labels which of their designs are not vegan-friendly to help you avoid any mishaps.

For the most part, the athletic shoes are completely free and clear of animal-sourced ingredients, and it is almost exclusively the all-purpose shoes that have any sort of leather.

Mizuno

Mizuno was one of the brands that previously used animal derived glues in their products.

But not to worry!

Mizuno has changed their ways!

A few years ago, they switched to a safer synthetic glue alternative for use in all of their shoes. The best part of the Mizuno line of running shoes is that every pair is completely vegan-friendly.

You don’t have to decipher product codes or look for special notations. Since 2014, every running shoe released by the company has been 100% vegan. It’s easy to shop for their selection.

Newton

Newton was one of the first companies to provide running shoes to vegans who had a difficult time finding suitable footwear for athletic purposes.

Newton makes some of the most unique vegan running shoes available, priding themselves on what they call their “P.O.P”, or “point of power” energy return technology.

Newton strives to innovate and provide some of the most revolutionary workout shoes available in the current market. Newton aims to make their technology available to everyone by eliminating the use of animal-derived materials or ingredients in their products.

Brooks

Every single shoe model Brooks produces, with the exception of the “Addiction Walker” model, are vegan.

Brooks is a brand that happily caters to the requests of athletic vegans, providing them with quality, durable vegan footwear.

The brand takes things one step farther with their investigative initiatives to use more sustainable materials too.

There are many reasons I love Brooks shoes, and their vegan-friendly offerings and sustainability philosophy are two of the best reasons to choose Brooks.

Love Running?

We do too!

If you want to keep up on the latest shoe reviews and running news, be sure to enter your email address and hit the subscribe button to receive the Garage Gym Power newsletter.