10 Best Vegan Running Shoes Reviewed and Tested
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 best 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.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Good upper breathability
Interior saddle design locks feet in place
Adaptable support provided by Brooks' DNA cushioning
An ideal choice for heavier runners
- Brooks Beast 18
- Newton Running Gravity VII
- Mizuno Wave Rider 21
- On Cloud X
- NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM CRUZ
- Inov-8 Trailroc 245
- ASICS GEL-Kayano 24
- Saucony Guide 10
- Brooks Glycerin 16
- Merrell Bare Access ARC 4
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Favorite Vegan Running Shoes
1. Brooks Beast 18
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
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.Read more
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.
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, 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.
2. Newton Running Gravity VII
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
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
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.
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 the Gravity IV. Really the previous versions haven't suffered much criticism either.
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.
3. Mizuno Wave Rider 21
Wave technology under the heel provides energy returning impact resistance
Flexible and lightweight
The sizing runs a bit narrow
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
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.
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.
You're bound to find a great deal on these if you shop Amazon. They have a range of prices for these and colors. Guaranteed to fulfill your vegan running and lifestyle.
4. On Cloud X
Not the best option for long-distance runners
The On Cloud X running shoes are a well-cushioned pair of vegan running shoes. They have a sleek and modern design--and are also available in several color options. Its lightweight, breathable, and perfect for almost all runners and athletes alike.Read more
These running shoes are incredibly lightweight even though they are also well-cushioned. If you have a need for speed, then these are an excellent option for you as well. Their breathable mesh upper makes them flexible and breathable while their pod design and midsole cushioning guarantees you get optimal comfort. They use zero gravity foam to ensure they remain lightweight and their padded heel color prevents unwanted chafing and blisters.
These shoes are pretty durable, although they aren't the most durable pair of shoes. Their thicker outsole makes them more water resistant and they can handle most types of workouts--although they aren't designed to be used in all terrains (no shoe is).
These shoes are really expensive, especially when compared to more competitive athletic brands, However, if you want a versatile pair of shoes that will look sleek, stylish, and that comes in lots of color options then you will find they are a great investment.
5. NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM CRUZ
Top in Comfort
Mesh upper is less Durable
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
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.
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.
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.
6. Inov-8 Trailroc 245
Decent traction over various types of terrain
They run a bit narrow
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 trail running shoe that boasts some decent features to keep you going while staying true to the 100% Vegan style.Read more
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.
A protective cap was put on the toe of the shoe enhancing the duraility. Further more, 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.
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
7. ASICS GEL-Kayano 24
This shoes are quite stable making the user comfortable in everything they do
Best for people with over pronation and high arches
The sock liner has ortholite 40 that helps athletes with the overpronation and high arches
The toe box can be tight
Among the vegan shoes this one comes in our list as well, Asics brand are well known in sport gears which makes this a phenomenal choice for runners. The stability of this shoes is unquestioned as it works best for people who have overpronation and are long distance runners. Also have in mind when shopping for vegan shoes that this brand also deals with non-vegan shoes and they are labelled L to mean leather is used while making them.Read more
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. It is great for athletes with over pronation and high aches.
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.
The price is fair considering what you get in the long run. At $50 to $180, the features are worth the price.
8. Saucony Guide 10
Well ventilated uppers
Good cost to value ratio
Lightweight with good stability
Good arch support system
Upper mesh may wear fast if used on rough trails
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. These are great for people who have average to mild pronation. The extra cushioning and thick heel sole makes them stand out as one of the best support enhanced vegan shoes in the market.Read more
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.
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.
Saucony has great features and they have affordable prices.
9. Brooks Glycerin 16
Full-length Super DNA cushioning provides responsive comfort
More than adequate airflow through the upper
Energy returning properties
Possible higher price
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
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 as a combined effort to archive outstanding comfort and stability to the user.
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.
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!
10. Merrell Bare Access ARC 4
Comfortable Soft midsole .
Good Rock protection
Good for Fast Transitions
True Zero drop feel
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. 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.Read more
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. The mid-sole has the Compression EVA foam, which adds that super comfort to every run; it just molds to your feet.
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.
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.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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, 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.
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 that 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 strictly, you might need to have at least two pairs. Not only will this give allowance for your running shoes to get dried 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. 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.
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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
While you may associate lightweight materials with synthetic, man-made fabrics, the fact is that vegan, organic materials provide an excellent cushion while remaining lightweight and comfortable. If you need more support and stability features, however, you will find that your shoes might weigh a bit more. But, keep in mind that they are still lighter weight shoes to choose from even if you need a lightweight pair of shoes.
Other Factors to Consider
It is important to consider what type of terrain you will be coming across on your run. If this is your case, then you might be more wishing to consider to stick 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. As mentioned above, your terrain will affect what you need from your shoe so make sure you consider whether you are running on the flat or rugged ground most of the time.
It is important to note that if you know that you run on different types of terrain anyway then you do have shoes that will work for both. However, these shoes will not necessarily work for both terrains exceptionally well. They are just designed to be versatile for people who need it. If your budget allows, however, we recommend you purchase road running shoes and trail running shoes--that way you get the most out of each pair of shoes and can push yourself to the limit no matter what terrain you decide to run on any given day.
We also focused on having a 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 after the usage of their running shoes on high paced and intense runs. We chose the safest type 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. 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.
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 the opinions and suggestions of everyday runners about performance over long-term periods or wear.
We are aware that everyone likes to choose themselves the type of footwear they will wear– one that will be in line with their personal style– so we made sure to present products from a wide range of colors and styles. Research shows that if you are happy with how your footwear looks, you are more likely to exercise and put it to work. Form and function both are incredibly important and are key to determining which pair of running shoes are right for your unique lifestyle. It is also important to think about where you are running as sidewalks and roads will have different needs for support and durability than trail running will.
We know that when the environment is important to you, what your shoes are made from matters. We performed 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 our selected footwear is 100% vegan.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do I know if a pair of shoes is made with vegan materials?
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. There are many aspects of shoe construction, manufacturing, and testing that can impact our animal friends so we must be mindful of them all as we check.
q: Will vegan shoes hold up the same as those made with non-vegan materials?
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. They also are often easier to replace for many runners because there is no guilt associated with buying another pair of shoes that were made from the abuse or death of an innocent animal.
q: Do any companies claim to produce vegan products, but really aren’t truly vegan?
We haven’t found any cases of that. However, there are some manufacturers 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 about 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?
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 and the idea of getting what you pay for and investing in higher quality now to save money down the road still applies to vegan running shoes. 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 because it is thanks to the demand from vegan options that shoes like these are now available to us!