Best Vegan Running Shoes Reviewed
Searching for the best vegan running shoes? Take a look at the top choices for 2017, Pros & Cons and what to be aware of before buying a pair in a store!
As runners, we certainly enjoy our time outside and even want to preserve our environment and surroundings. This includes animals. If we can have a great running shoe with unbelievable feature and benefits without interfering with the animal kingdom, isn’t that better. Many of you probably agree. One way we do that is by choosing footwear that is manufactured with vegan materials
Our Top 3 Picks
In fact, there are some companies that only produce vegan products such as Mizuno, Brooks and Newton. There are also many others that fit vegan shoes into their product lines like Asics, Merrell, Saucony, Inov-8 and many others. We have put together this guide to, not only present you with the best vegan running shoes, but to also offer some guidance in your search.
Let’s go ahead and get right into it, starting with our compiled list of the top rated options available.
The Top Rated Choices
Brooks Beast 14
The cushioning in this model is actually surprisingly comfortable. There seems to be a nearly perfect balance between comfort and responsiveness, which makes these very popular for many different specific reasons. These are even an excellent choice for those who need a bit more motion control. The breathability offered by the mesh upper material is really quite good. Additionally, these have features such as Brooks' BioMoGo midsole with full length DNA cushioning for even more support.
Quality / Durability
The upper is well made. The mesh material is reinforced with both stitched and non-stitched overlays for added support as well as increased durability. Other than a few reviews which suggest some issues with the midsole after repeated heavy use, there really aren't any major reports of quality concerns. These are intended for road use, so taking them on a rougher trail or similar type of terrain probably isn't a great way to make them last as long as they could.
Although not the most expensive running shoe in the world, the aren't exactly the cheapest either. Depending on where you look, there are usually some good deals on sites like Amazon. It does seem that, though they are a bit pricey, they are probably worth the cost when you weigh in the benefits.
- Good upper breathability
- Interior saddle design locks feet in place
- Adaptable support provided by Brooks' DNA cushioning
- An ideal choice for heavier runners
- A bit expensive
Brooks Glycerin 14
The lightweight materials, secure fit, premium cushioning and energy returning properties make this model ideal for long distance or even competition runs. The full-length Super DNA and blown rubber sole work in unison to provide outstanding comfort and stability to the user.
Quality / Durability
The upper is reinforced with Brooks' 3D Fit Print overlays, which add additional support, but also help with the overall durability and form retention of the Glycerin 14. The only critical review that we have found regarding durability is one that suggests that the customer had an issue with the outsole. we don't know the conditions that the shoes were used under or for how long, so we really aren't too concerned when we only find one mention. In all the ratings from users are really good, putting this version of the Glycerin in the number two spot on our list.
- Full-length Super DNA cushioning provides responsive comfort
- More than adequate airflow through the upper
- Energy returning properties
- Somewhat higher price
Newton Running Gravity IV
These incorporate Newton's Action/Reaction Technology. This basically offers a trampoline-like effect to help reduce energy loss during a run. The P.O.P 1 Technology provides more rigid and isolated lug for even more improved efficiency. As far as stability goes, these are equipped with a Biomechanical Metatarsal Sensor Plate. This give specific key areas in the foot necessary added support. Additionally, you'll find good energy return from the High-rebound EVA foam sole.
Quality / Durability
For added durability they have incorporated s.h.a.r.c in the build of the outsole. This is a super high abrasion rubber compound that is intended to protect against quick wear from the road. Although some are hesitant to try new things like a shoe with lugs protruding from the bottom, those who have tried them say things like " I'll never buy a different brand". We haven't been able to find much critical feedback on the Gravity IV. Really the previous versions haven't suffered much criticism either.
- 5 lug design under forefoot promotes a more efficient stride
- Forefoot Flex Zone offers a more custom fit for the toes
- Breathable upper materials
- Vegan materials used in the shoe's construction
- The innovative lugs aren't for everyone
Mizuno Wave Rider 18
Want breathability? The Mizuno Intercool technology offers exceptional ventilation throughout the length of the shoe. Additionally, the Dynamotion Fit of the shoe's upper provides a secure, but stress relieving natural fit. Of course we couldn't fail to mention Mizuno's Wave technology which provides extra cushioning, as well as energy returning, shock absorbent bounce back.
Quality / Durability
There is a more durable high abrasion compound covering the high wear areas of the outsole. Really, there aren't many critical of the quality or durability of this model. They seem to hold up well to quite a few miles .
- Wave technology under the heel provides energy returning impact resistance
- Extremely breathable
- Flexible and lightweight
- The sizing runs a bit narrow
Merrell Bare Access Ultra
Although these are more of a minimalistic design, they do have some decent cushioning from the MBOUND+ midsole, which also offers efficient energy return. The Zero-drop and 0mm differential from heel-to-toe allow the wearer excellent ground contact and confident running stability. These are really meant to be used on the trails, but work well on the road as well. However, the impact response may be different on harder road surfaces.
Quality / Durability
The grippy Vibram outsole is designed to be used over off-road terrain, so they seem to hold up well to their intended use. There are, however, a few critical reviews from customers that claim the outsole didn't last as long on the road as it did over trails.
- Good ground contact
- Lightweight, minimalistic design
- Vibram sole provides good grip on multiple surfaces
- Takes some time to get used to the reduced cushion and support of a minimalistic trail runner
Inov-8 Trailroc 245
The shoe's Natural Fit anatomical design gives the user a secure but natural and flexible fit, allowing better foot motion and control. Although a minimalist shoe, there is some cushioning and impact resistance provided by the Shoc-Zone midsole, which also offers a decent amount of bounceback.
You can have some added stability from the grip provided by the durable high traction outsole, which is ideal for the trail, but works okay on the road as well.
Quality / Durability
The durability of the Trailroc is enhanced by features such as upper overlays and abrasion resistant sections applied around midfoot and even more liberally over the toe, in the form of a protective cap. Although these are extremely lightweight with very mass, when it comes to material, they do hold up pretty well. There are some customer reviews that are critical of the shoe's longevity, but there really aren't any that give specific examples of conditions of use. So we will go with the majority of the reviews which are positive.
- Very lightweight
- Exceptional breathability
- Decent traction over various types of terrain
- They run a bit narrow
Saucony Triumph ISO 2
Starting from the top, the upper is made up of a breathable, lightweight mesh material which is reinforced with synthetic non-stitched overlays for additional support. Inside there is a soft ISOFIT inner sleeve liner, allowing a secure, comfortable fit. moving down, the EVERUN topsole combined with the shoe's PWRGRID+ midsole,there is plenty of supportive and responsive cushioning. For increased shock absorption, the Triumph sports Saucony's SRC Landing Zone, which helps to manage impact response. Finally, the TRIFLEX outsole and fairly aggressive tread provide great traction, suitable for multiple surfaces and conditions
Quality / Durability
Saucony usually puts out products of good quality, made with durable materials. Besides added support, the upper overlays also help to aid in the shoe's overall durability. We have gone through a ton of reviews and customer feedback, coming up with no major durability concerns. There are some critical of sizing issues and firmness, but that's about it.
- Excellent breathability
- Decent impact resistance with the SRC landing zone
- Exceptional traction provided by Saucony's TRI-FLEX outsole
- Some experienced issues with sizing
Need A Bit More Guidance?
The Criteria Used When Selecting The Best Vegan Running Shoes:
No Animal Products Or By-Products.
We know that when the environment is important to you, what your shoes are made from matters. We preformed our due diligence and researched beyond manufacturer’s information when ensuring that the running shoes we selected were free of any animal products of any kind; careful to also look for animal by-products that can be found in the glues used in the manufacturing process. We are happy to report that all footwear is 100% vegan.
Form and Function.
The great news is that today’s environmentally conscious runners don’t have to choose between an animal friendly shoe and style or performance. Major running shoe companies have stepped up, and made the choice to care about Mother Nature without sacrificing looks or features. We listened to what everyday runners had to say about performance over long term periods or wear.
And since everyone likes to make a personal selection when it comes to choosing what they put on their feet, we made sure to include picks that also come in a wide variety of styles and colors to fit every runner’s personal sense of style. Research shows that if you are happy with how your footwear looks, you are more likely to exercise and put it to work.
Traction And Grip.
Runners never know what they will come across when they head out of the door, so it was important to take traction into consideration when developing a “best of” list. Running shoes with aggressive patterns on the outsole will ensure that you can step with confidence and allow you to follow through with your stride. Seasoned runners also look for well spaced lugs that can make quick work out of small rocks and pebbles. Research demonstrates that vegan materials provide just as much traction and grip as non-vegan materials.
The general consensus is that a low weight helps with endurance and agility. While you may associate lightweight materials with synthetic, man-made fabrics, the fact is that vegan, organic materials provide excellent cushion while remaining lightweight and comfortable. We also made sure that no features were sacrificed in the name of weight to ensure that runners will feel satisfied with the performance levels of our selections.
We also focused on taking a very close look at the total amount of protection offered by the footwear. Most runners will agree that it’s extremely important to be able to trust your footwear when you need it most. This is why we chose to look at what seasoned runners had to say after using their running shoes on high paced and intense runs. We chose the safest of shoes that provide whole-foot protection and tough and rugged uppers for maximum safety.
There is a misconception amongst athletes that natural materials are somehow less durable than their industrially made counterparts. Nothing can be further from truth. When we took a look at the outsoles, midsoles, and uppers of these vegan running shoes and compared them to other shoes that we have reviewed, we found no difference whatsoever. Mother Nature is able to provide us with sustainable materials that stand up to the test of time and can take whatever you can throw at it. User feedback on vegan shoes demonstrated high marks in the durability department with just the same amount of mileage as a standard running shoe.
Other Important Things to Consider When Selecting Your Vegan Running Shoes
Now that we have provided you with a wide selection of the best vegan running shoes on the market, it’s time to narrow down that selection for a pair that works best for you.
While we have researched through a wide range of feedback and data when compiling our selections, to help you choose a running shoe that’s right for you, we’ve put together a brief list of factors to consider before you get out there and start enjoying you runs. It’s important that you make a selection that makes sense for your purposes and what you plan to do with them. Below you will find some personal factors to take into consideration when making your choice.
Keep The Terrain In Mind.
It is important to consider what type of terrain you will be coming across on your run. If you are a recreational trail runner for example, you might typically come across slightly rocky paths and dirt trails. If this is the case for you, you might want to consider sticking to a selection with a strong outsole pattern. Stay away from the minimalist models with less grip. If most of your running will be on a treadmill or road, then consider lower profile running shoe what can give you the benefit of lightweight steps.
Select An Option That Closely Matches What Has Worked For You.
We would never recommend selecting your running shoes based on trends or looks. This is why we have provided a wide selection of styles and looks, to match every runner’s particular style and needs. Beyond looks, if you are used to a more supportive running shoe, then you should select a vegan option that best reminds you of what your used to. Some runners make the mistake of going from a padded running shoe to a minimal barefoot runner to quickly and experience increased muscle fatigue, blisters, and even unnecessary injuries.
Selecting The Right Size.
This is something that is frequently overlooked, especially by novice runners. Spend some time when selecting the right size of running shoe for you. Typically, feet will swell throughout the day and after strenuous workouts. It’s a wise idea to size your foot at the end of the day to get an accurate idea of your real size. Remember that these are running shoes that will see a lot of miles, and selecting the right size is crucial for comfort and support. Don’t assume that you’re the same size as your dress shoes.
Know When It’s Time To Replace.
Keep in mind that while typical road running shoes can be replaced every 300 to 500 miles, vegan running shoes are no different. Most runners agree that you should never go based on how much life the footwear “looks like” it has left. Furthermore, if you plan on running for back to back days, you might want to consider two pairs. Not only will this allow your shoes to dry out from any moisture or sweet that has collected in them, but it will also let the midsole recover from the tougher impact that is common when running.
We’re confident that by taking some of these factors into consideration when making your choice, you’ll find a vegan runner that is perfect for you. Before you get out and start running, we’ve also compiled some frequently asked questions that commonly arise when searching for a new vegan running shoe.
Q: How do I know if a pair of shoes is made with vegan materials?
A: There are actually companies who produce only vegan footwear. Some of the companies that are vegan only are Newton, Brooks and Mizuno to name just a few. Keep in mind that it’s also important to make sure that they don’t test products on animals or use animal by-products on dyes or glue.
Q: Will vegan shoes hold up the same as those made with non-vegan materials?
A: Sure they will. Most running shoes these days are mostly made up of durable and lightweight synthetic materials. The big difference is that some are made from vegan methods of material production. Vegan materials are just as resilient as their non-vegan counterparts and runners reported high marks on durability.
Q: How can I find other types of vegan footwear, other than running shoes?
A: There are quite a few websites and organizations that will do the work for you, and advertise many of the brands for you. For example, PETA is a pretty good resource for finding what your looking, as far as vegan products go. There are a variety of other apparel as well. Including pants, tops, and socks.
Q: Do any companies claim to produce vegan products, but really aren’t truly vegan?
A: We haven’t found any cases of that. However, there are some manufactures that produce both vegan and non-vegan products. So, just because one pair of runners from a company is vegan, a different model may not be. When shopping, you’ll need to look for the product to state whether it is or isn’t. There are plenty of resources online, but you can even email a manufacturer inquiring the matter. It’s important to make sure if there is any doubt. Our list contains verified 100% vegan options that use no animal products or by-products.
Q: Are vegan running shoes more expensive than non-vegan models?
A: We haven’t really seen any evidence of that. Typically the brands that offer the option are the ones who tend to produce the higher quality footwear. So, the prices seem to be right in line with there other similar products. One of the best things about vegan footwear and apparel is that is doesn’t cost a penny more and you can really make a big difference in a defenseless animal’s life. Peta recommends that vegans vote with their wallets.
This was our approach when selecting the right pair of vegan running shoes. It’s refreshing to know that runners can select an animal friendly running shoe while not sacrificing any of the benefits of hi tech design and style. We hope this guide provided you with all the information you need when making your choice between form and function. Thanks for following along with us. Now make the perfect selection for you and keep running!
Here are some of the sources used during our research
It’s important to use a wide variety of sources to ensure quality information. We like to utilize trusted outdoor enthusiasts and manufactures when providing our readers with the most up-to-date statistics found in all our buying guides. We are also very interested in taking what everyday users have to say about specific products, and we perform our due diligence to make sure that quality research goes into every guide. Here are some sources which helped us with this guide: