10 Best Vegan Running Shoes Reviewed and Tested

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Saucony Guide 10
Test Winner: Saucony Guide 10
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In a perfect world, humans would live without disrupting the animal kingdom. In fact, some companies have made a "Don't Tread on Me" statement by designing the best vegan running shoes.

As one of the many species sharing this planet, there is so much we can do to preserve the well-being of other living creatures. Runnerclick.com cares and we have compiled a list of the top-rated vegan running shoes so you can invest some efforts into making a smaller footprint while investing in your workout routine inside or outdoors completely guilt-free!

Just like any item on a Top 10 list, this one is full of Vegan shoes that are loaded with features and benefits—so you don’t have to worry about sacrificing anything when running for what you believe in.

Standout Picks

The #1 spot on our list goes to Brooks' Beast 18. This time the Beast tops the stack as the best-rated vegan running shoe model. They certainly "unleash the fury of the beast" with this one but in a more environmental and animal-friendly way. With benefits such as breathable upper construction, Secure fit, stability, and exceptional cushioning, Its top status seems to be well deserved. Check out below for our full review of the Beast 14 by Brooks.
Amazon Link
Many recognize this one by the unique lugs under the forefoot, which are designed to aid in forwarding propulsion and an effective gait. These also offer a great percentage of good cushioning in a seemingly lower profile build. The innovative 5 lug design, breathable upper, supportive and responsive sole all work together to provide a unique runner that help to enhance the efficiency of the wearer, all while using materials that are friendly to the animal kingdom.
Amazon Link
Aside from Wave technology, the Mizuno Wave Rider 21 is a vegan running shoe that has quite a few features to offer runners who like to put some distance under their feet. With some pretty positive ratings from users, let's take a closer look at what these are all about.
Amazon Link
These vegan Merrell shoes are a great minimalist pair of shoes perfect for those of you who enjoy hitting the trails or more technical terrain. If you want a pair of trail runners that will last you the long haul and still provide you with that barefoot feel that you love then you will love this pair of running shoes.
As the name suggests, Inov-8 produces some innovative designs with features specific to the intended use of their particular models. The Trailroc 245. is a minimalistic running shoe that boasts some decent features to keep you going while staying true to the 100% Vegan style.
Offering more cushion and always comfortable, New Balance completed the full package with the Fresh Foam Cruz. Moreover, they made it 100% Vegan. This shoe also comes in an array of colors to satisfy any style need. It has a responsive light design that works with the most neutral of runners. The Cruz has been called near perfect and has a very versatile look.
Amazon Link
We should probably mention that Brooks is a company that produces, if not all, most of their products with vegan materials. And with features such as an adjustable saddle design that allows the shoe a better, more secure fit, and the full-length Super DNA midsole, these features are sure to give provision of benefit of a secure and comfortable run. Open the review below for more.
Amazon Link
Among the vegan shoes this one comes in our list as well, Asics brand is well known in sport gears which makes this a phenomenal choice for runners. Also, have in mind when shopping for vegan shoes that this brand also deals with non-vegan shoes and they are labeled L to mean leather is used while making them.
Amazon Link
Saucony is one of our best shoe brand as they always have the buyers’ interest at heart. This is another company that makes both vegan and non-vegan shoes, so if you shop off this list make sure you ask the right questions so your shoe choice is fully vegan.
Amazon Link
Merrell’s Bare Access 4 takes a more traditional approach to this design, veering away from the newer bootie style shoes. It is a minimalist zero drop style shoe with a very modern feel.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

There are plenty of factors that contribute to the comfort you'll find in a running shoe, but with these vegan running shoes we focused on stability and fit.

If you are used to a more supportive running shoe, then you should select a vegan option that best reminds you of what you’re 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, annoying blisters, and even unnecessary injuries.

Stability is one of the qualities a shoe can have that will really make a difference when it comes to your personal comfort. 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 give allowance for 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 grip and traction as non-vegan materials.

Choosing the right shoe size of the feet is one of the few things that are overlooked frequently by most people, especially by runners who are beginners. Typically, feet will swell throughout the day and after strenuous workouts. It’s a wise idea to get a size that is well fitting and sizing your foot whenever you are choosing your running shoe 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.

Durability

There is a misconception among athletes that natural materials are somehow less durable than their industrially made counterparts. Nothing can be further from the 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. It is very important to keep in mind that while typical road running shoes are replaceable after every two hundred and fifty to six hundred and twenty miles, vegan running shoes are no different.

Most runners agree you should never go based on how much life the footwear “looks like” it has left. Furthermore, if you have a plan of running for back to back days, you need to have at least two pairs. Not only will this allow your running shoes to get dried out from any moisture or sweat that has collected in them, but it will also let the midsole recover from the tougher impact that is common when running.

If your shoes begin to loosen, rub, or feel uncomfortable due to wear and tear, then it is time to look at buying a replacement pair as soon as you are able to do so.

Materials

Since this page is specifically focused on the best vegan running shoes, the most important thing to look at is the material each of the shoes we chose was made of. All of the shoes on our list are first and foremost, made of vegan materials. That being said, we also took other factors into consideration when we evaluated the quality of materials of each of the shoes we featured on our list.

Does the material allow for breathability?

Many of the running shoes on our list also feature a mesh upper--which is common in the most breathable running shoes. This mesh material is incredibly breathable and allows for optimal ventilation, so you don't have to worry about sacrificing breathability when you decide to get a pair fo the best vegan running shoes.

What additional features do they offer?

You may have noticed that some of the shoes featured on our list of the best vegan running shoes are also fast drying and/or moisture-wicking. This is important, especially if you like to hit the trails because you want to be sure you don't get stuck with a pair of running shoes made of material that will absorb your sweat or any water you may step in.

Terrain

Protection is an essential component in a good running shoe--make sure your pick will offer the protection you need.

We also focused on having keen research and look at the overall amount of protection the footwear is offering. Most runners and athletes have it in their fingerprints that it’s extremely important to be able to trust your footwear when you need it most. This gave us, the researchers, more inspiration to find out what the seasonal athletes or runners had in mind.

We chose the safest types of running shoes that provide whole-foot protection and tough and the upper of the shoe that is rugged for the most safety as possible for the athlete. When you look at the right protection for yourself make sure to consider your needs here. If you know you will be hitting technical trails, then you will need a more durable and protective pair of shoes.

Read also about high running shoes.

However, if you find yourself typically running on the treadmill at your favorite gym or in your home, then you won't have to look for additional features like lugs or extra durable materials.

Value

It's up to you to decide whether the cost of the shoe is worth all of the value you'll be getting out of it.

Although cost isn't synonymous with quality, it is important to take into account how the price of a shoe affects its value. You can evaluate whether a shoe is worth the cost depending on your needs and your budget and comparing that to its cost. Most of the shoes on our list are in about the same price range, although there are a few that are more affordable than others.

Keep in mind that a lot of the more well-known athletic brands on our lists tend to be more expensive than other lesser known brands. If you are set on one of these brands, then you may have to settle on spending a little more. Also, keep in mind that sometimes shoes are more expensive because they offer additional features that offer beneficial benefits for some runners.

Remember, however, that not everyone needs all of these extra features, and if you know that you don't then you will find no value in paying for additional features you won't need yourself.

Top 10 Vegan Athletic Shoes for Runners

1. Brooks Beast 18

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Brooks Beast 18
Amazon Link

The #1 spot on our list goes to Brooks' Beast 18. This time the Beast tops the stack as the best-rated vegan running shoe model. They certainly "unleash the fury of the beast" with this one but in a more environmental and animal-friendly way. With benefits such as breathable upper construction, Secure fit, stability, and exceptional cushioning, Its top status seems to be well deserved. Check out below for our full review of the Beast 14 by Brooks.

Read more

Comfort

The cushioning in this model is 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 impressive. Additionally, these have features such as Brooks' BioMoGo midsole with full-length DNA cushioning for even more support.

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.

Materials

The materials used to make these running shoes are completely vegan and cruelty-free, so you don't have to worry about any hidden materials.

Terrain

These running shoes are a great pair of road running shoes for neutral runners who want to invest in a high-quality pair of vegan running shoes.

Value

Although not the most expensive running shoe in the world, they 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.

Amazon Link

2. Newton Running Gravity VII

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Newton Running Gravity VII
Amazon Link

Many recognize this one by the unique lugs under the forefoot, which are designed to aid in forwarding propulsion and an effective gait. These also offer a great percentage of good cushioning in a seemingly lower profile build. The innovative 5 lug design, breathable upper, supportive and responsive sole all work together to provide a unique runner that help to enhance the efficiency of the wearer, all while using materials that are friendly to the animal kingdom.

Read more

Comfort

Incorporating Newton's Action/Reaction Technology adds a trampoline-like effect reducing fatigue during a run. This Technology provides a 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 gives specific key areas in the foot necessary added support. Additionally, you'll find good energy return from the High-rebound EVA foam sole.

Durability

For added durability, they have incorporated S.H.A.R.C into the build of the outer sole. This is a super high abrasion rubber compound that is intended to protect against quick wear from the road. Although some people 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 Gravity IV. Really the previous versions haven't suffered much criticism either.

Materials

As it should be, this pair of running shoes is made of high-quality vegan materials that ensure the shoes will hold up to the test of time mile after mile.

Terrain

If you want a great pair of neutral race shoes, you will love these! They come highly rated and reviewed by racers all over the world!

Value

These are in the higher price range bracket but in most cases, you get what you pay for. And, this is one of those cases. The Newton Running Gravity VII offers loads of high-end shoe technology and don't forget, they are 100% Vegan-friendly.

Amazon Link

3. Mizuno Wave Rider 21

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Mizuno Wave Rider 21
Amazon Link

Aside from Wave technology, the Mizuno Wave Rider 21 is a vegan running shoe that has quite a few features to offer runners who like to put some distance under their feet. With some pretty positive ratings from users, let's take a closer look at what these are all about.

Read more

Comfort

Want breathability? The Mizuno Intercool technology offers exceptional ventilation throughout the length of the shoe. Additionally, the designed 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, equal to energy returning, shock absorbent bounce back.

Durability

There is a more durable high abrasion compound covering the high wear areas of the outsole. Really, there aren't many critical reviews of the quality or durability of this model. They seem to hold up well to quite a few miles.

Materials

These Mizuno running shoes are made of mesh material and the upper and durable rubber in the sole--all of which are completely vegan and cruelty-free.

Terrain

Perfect for road running and long distances, you will love to push yourself to the limit with these shoes!

Value

You're bound to find a great deal on these if you shop online. They have a range of prices for these and colors. Guaranteed to fulfill your vegan running and lifestyle.

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4. Merrell Vapor Glove 3

Where to buy
Merrell Vapor Glove 3
Amazon Link

These vegan Merrell shoes are a great minimalist pair of shoes perfect for those of you who enjoy hitting the trails or more technical terrain. If you want a pair of trail runners that will last you the long haul and still provide you with that barefoot feel that you love then you will love this pair of running shoes.

Read more

Comfort

If you love the barefoot, minimalistic feel, then you will absolutely love these trail runners. Although they are not a good fit for those of you who have pronation issues, you will find that they are perfect for neutral runners. They are really lightweight and will let you feel every step of the way.

Durability

It is important to note that these are shoes for trail running, thus they are designed to be more durable than the standard road shoe. However, while they are made for technical terrain and provide a great deal of protection they are still minimalistic and not designed to handle any serious obstacles.

Materials

These trail running shoes are really breathable thanks to their mesh upper, which also dries quickly if you get your shoes wet. They also offer addition traction and their construction ensures that the shoes are flexible and allow for a full range of motion.

Terrain

As I mentioned earlier, these shoes are built to handle your favorite trails—although you should definitely keep it to easier trails with less technical terrain. The outsole of these shoes allow for excellent traction and ensure you don’t roll over when you hit uneven terrain. They also won’t get debris stuck in the lugs, as many other trail shoes may do. Lastly, these trail runners are fast drying, so you don’t have to stay soaked if you step in water.

Value

When it comes to how much you will spend, these shoes are a great option for those of you on budget and looking for a pair of cost-effective, vegan trail runners.

5. Inov-8 Trailroc 245

Where to buy
Inov-8  Trailroc 245
Amazon Link

As the name suggests, Inov-8 produces some innovative designs with features specific to the intended use of their particular models. The Trailroc 245. is a minimalistic running shoe that boasts some decent features to keep you going while staying true to the 100% Vegan style.

Read more

Comfort

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 on the road as well.

Durability

A protective cap was put on the toe of the shoe enhancing the durability. Furthermore, features such as upper overlays and abrasion resistance applied around sections of the midfoot aids in protecting the life of the shoe. Although these are extremely lightweight with very mass, when it comes to material, they do hold up pretty well.

Materials

These Inov-8 running shoes are made of completely vegan materials and still just as effective as shoes who don't use vegan options.

Terrain

Designed for the trails, these running shoes are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who want to hit the trails and feel every step of the way.

Value

The price tag on these is average for your typical high-quality running shoe. According to the number of positive reviews, they are well worth the cost. And of course, don't forget the great deals you can find on the Amazon.com

6. New Balance Fresh Foam Vazi Cruz

Where to buy
Amazon Link
New Balance Fresh Foam Vazi Cruz
New Balance Fresh Foam Vazi Cruz
New Balance Fresh Foam Vazi Cruz
New Balance Fresh Foam Vazi Cruz
New Balance Fresh Foam Vazi Cruz
Amazon Link

Offering more cushion and always comfortable, New Balance completed the full package with the Fresh Foam Cruz. Moreover, they made it 100% Vegan. This shoe also comes in an array of colors to satisfy any style need. It has a responsive light design that works with the most neutral of runners. The Cruz has been called near perfect and has a very versatile look.

Read more

Comfort

FF Cruz is completely lined with the Fresh Foam mid-sole technology, giving it a natural responsive feel from heel to toe. It is felt more in the heel, giving the shoe a more solid impact absorption. The Fresh Foam Cruz’s upper is made of a light and breathable mesh that has a bootie-like fit and a very natural airflow, keeping the feet nice and fresh throughout your run.

The mid-foot also has a synthetic saddle built in that adds tons more support. This is enhanced by tightening the lace opening. There is no tongue in this shoe, it just slips right on.

Durability

Lined with a Blown Rubber, the outer sole material is designed to protect against normal use. It has a lot more noticeable traction for a road shoe and the rubber is soft, adding a little extra cushion to your stride.

Materials

Made of durable, vegan materials, these shoes are designed to be sturdy and built to last.

Terrain

If you are a neutral runner, you will appreciate these running shoes. They are great for road running and provide just the right amount of support for runners who have no pronation issues they need to address.

Value

NB Fresh Foam Cruz has a price tag than the competition with a package that outdoes most running shoes. The Synthetic 100% vegan material is soft, breathable and what some call the perfect package in a Vegan Running shoe. These offer style with a comfortable design for most neutral style runners.

Amazon Link

7. Brooks Glycerin 16

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Brooks Glycerin 16
Amazon Link

We should probably mention that Brooks is a company that produces, if not all, most of their products with vegan materials. And with features such as an adjustable saddle design that allows the shoe a better, more secure fit, and the full-length Super DNA midsole, these features are sure to give provision of benefit of a secure and comfortable run. Open the review below for more.

Read more

Comfort

The full-length Super DNA and blown rubber sole work as a combined effort to archive outstanding comfort and stability to the user.

Durability

The upper is reinforced with overlays, which add additional support, but also help with the overall durability and form retention of the Glycerin 16. 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.

Materials

The lightweight materials, secure fit, premium cushioning and energy returning properties make this model ideal for long distance or even competition runs.

Terrain

Made strictly for road running, you will want to make sure to keep these shoes off of trails and technical terrain.

Value

These could be a very inexpensive shoe or a rather pricey shoe depending on where you buy them. Your best chance for a great deal is on Amazon - just follow the link above!

Amazon Link

8. ASICS GEL-Kayano 24

Where to buy
Amazon Link
ASICS GEL-Kayano 24
Amazon Link

Among the vegan shoes this one comes in our list as well, Asics brand is well known in sport gears which makes this a phenomenal choice for runners. Also, have in mind when shopping for vegan shoes that this brand also deals with non-vegan shoes and they are labeled L to mean leather is used while making them.

Read more

Comfort

When designing these shoes, they put comfort in consideration, with its FluidFit upper. The midsoles have inserts made of silicone gel to enhance cushioning, plus other features like the sock liner with ortholite X40. These running shoes are great for athletes with high aches and over-pronation.

Durability

The durability of this shoe is outstanding whether you have them on for casual outfit or daily runs. The lining makes the upper strong to improve the durability of the shoe. The outsole rubber is also hard to make it long lasting and stable.

Materials

Made of high quality vegan materials and constructed with long-distance runners in mind.

Terrain

The stability of these shoes is unquestioned as it works best for people who have overpronation and are long-distance runners.

Value

The price is fair considering what you get in the long run. At $50 to $180, the features are worth the price.

Amazon Link

9. Saucony Guide 10

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Saucony Guide 10
Amazon Link

Saucony is one of our best shoe brand as they always have the buyers’ interest at heart. This is another company that makes both vegan and non-vegan shoes, so if you shop off this list make sure you ask the right questions so your shoe choice is fully vegan.

Read more

Comfort

When we put the comfort of this shoe to test it delivered quite an impressive result. Its EVA enabled midsole gave quite an impression of comfort and shock absorption when placed on the feet even after a long walk and run. This also means less injuries, with its light weight, good arch support, and increased breathability of the upper mesh.

Durability

The durability of the shoe is commendable especially if well taken care of. Of the 900+ reviews we researched, only a mere few complained of durability issues. These shoes were perhaps built for road or treadmill, instead of the rough terrain of trails. They may last longer on smoother surfaces.

Materials

You can trust that these running shoes are fully vegan and made of high quality, durable material.

Terrain

these are great for people who have average to mild pronation. The extra cushioning and thick heel sole make them stand out as one of the best support enhanced vegan shoes in the market.

Value

Saucony has great features and they have affordable prices.

Amazon Link

10. Merrell Bare Access ARC 4

Where to buy
Merrell Bare Access ARC 4
Merrell Bare Access ARC 4
Merrell Bare Access ARC 4
Merrell Bare Access ARC 4
Merrell Bare Access ARC 4
Amazon Link

Merrell’s Bare Access 4 takes a more traditional approach to this design, veering away from the newer bootie style shoes. It is a minimalist zero drop style shoe with a very modern feel.

Read more

Comfort

The mid-sole has the Compression EVA foam, which adds that super comfort to every run; it just molds to your feet.

Durability

Merrell’s Vibram technology is known for its durability. This design protects well from sharp rocks and rougher terrain. It allows you to get the most out of your shoes with a most comfortable ride. You won't have to worry about the shoe falling apart on you.

Materials

Not only are these 100% Vegan shoes great for running, but they are also idea for polymetrics and advanced movement. However, we wouldn't suggest taking them to Crossfit.

Terrain

The Bare Access 4 is a 100% vegan shoe. Its all synthetic material is breathable and lightweight making it a great shoe for a warmer day. The minimalist design with Vibram outsole offers more secure ground contact and helps protect from rocks and debris.

Value

Although these were made for the run, people are blown away by the versatility they offer. They are great for trails as well as gymnastics among other gym routines. All this makes them top rated for those with a very active lifestyle. The Merrell Bare Access 4 are a priced just right for all they offer and this is why they are on our top 10 vegan running shoe list.

Sources

  1. Matt Frazier, No Meat Athlete , Vegan Blog
  2. Nikki D'Amico, Brooks Blog, Brooks Blog

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Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.