Skateboarding as a sporting activity requires a lot of flexibility and rigorous movement. You need a pair of skate shoes that provide balance and support. You also want skate shoes that are lightweight yet durable.
As an ardent vegan going beyond a plant-based diet, finding a pair of shoes completely free of leather and other animal derivatives can sometimes prove tasking. Many brands still add some pieces of real leather to their skate shoes. However, many sustainable shoe brands now offer completely cruelty-free vegan skate shoe options in searching for skate shoes without animal products.
Vegan skate shoes come in high-quality materials like vegan leather and use recycled rubber soles. They are also incredibly lightweight and come with a cushion impact that helps you get the best out of your skate shoes.
Read on as we go through what you need to look out for when shopping for vegan skate shoes and our picks of some of the best brands that offer some of the most durable and vegan-friendly skate shoes.
Now you know what to look out for when shopping for a vegan skate shoe. Let's dive into our top 13 picks for the best vegan skate shoes you can shop for today.
Quick links to the best vegan skate shoes we’ve featured:
Features: responsibly-sourced materials, padded collars, vulcanized construction, color options
Hugely popular in the skate world, you most likely will have heard of Vans. Founded in 1966, Vans has grown to become a brand famous for making high-quality sneakers. Vans has a wide range of 100% vegan shoes, right down to the glue used.
This pair of Vans shoes comes from their Era collection. Created by skateboarders for skateboarders, this line remains a classic. They have padded collars that provide cushions and flexibility and a vulcanized outsole to prevent wear and tear.
You can select them in varying colors of black, navy blue, and white. Vans is also famous for its Old Skool collection; however, not all shoes in the Old Skool collection are vegan.
Vans make all vegan shoes in their collection from cotton canvas, a plant-based material. Their shoes are durable and perfect for skating. To mitigate the environmental impact of cotton, Vans uses Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) cotton, which ensures ethical growth and minimal environmental impact. They also use carbon and rubber outsoles.
Vans is a brand committed to sustainability. The brand does not claim perfection but is actively making sustainability efforts. Vans projects to use 100% renewable energy in their factories by 2025. This is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of some materials. Also, by 2030, the brand plans to source its materials from regenerative and responsibly sourced sources.
Vans is also working to reduce the use of plastic. They have regulated facilities and workplace codes of conduct to ensure their workers are safe and treated fairly.
Features: Breathable mesh upper, STI foam midsoles, elastic heels, rubber pods
Etnies is one of the top brands making a variety of vegan skate shoes with a fine combination of comfort, durability, and breathability. The Scout Sneaker has an upper mesh that comes with multiple advantages. For one, you don't need to worry about sweaty feet on hot days. Also, your shoes won't restrict your movements, thanks to this lightweight upper mesh material.
It has elastic heels for maximum comfort, has rubber pods for traction, and an STI-foam footbed for weightless performance. These sneakers are stylish and perfect for skating as well as casual outings.
The brand uses recycled plastic and other recycled materials for its shoes. The brand also claims that each of its manufacturers complies with laws that eliminate any form of slavery or human trafficking. Etnies also claims to use a third-party source to evaluate and ensure manufacturers adhere to the Workplace code of conduct.
Features: recycled rubber outsole, canvas upper, recycled PU foam
Etnies has a great collection of vegan options, and the Jameson 2 Eco makes it to our list of best vegan skate shoes. Not only are these shoes vegan, but they are also eco-friendly and made from recycled products.
Its canvas upper makes this shoe incredibly lightweight, comfortable, and durable for any skateboard trick. The outsole comes in recycled rubber for proper traction and optimum comfort while keeping the planet safe.
Etnies makes these shoes from recycled PU foam with laces from recycled plastic. The padded tongues help keep you from getting into your feet. Its design is also simple and trendy enough for any casual outfit. These shoes are the perfect combination of durability, stylish, and eco-friendly.
Features: Rubber outsoles, molded EVA insole, energy foam, spandex tongue
Etnies secures another spot on our list of vegan skate shoes. The brand is famous for making shoes that are super durable and even more reliable than organic leather. There is so much you would love about this shoe.
Here they glue the rubber soles of these sneakers to ensure no degradation or layers are falling off each other. It has a breathable upper that allows proper ventilation keeping your feet cool, especially during summer. Its insoles are cruelty-free and provide adequate cushioning and support.
Thanks to the energy foam, these shoes also add potential and velocity to your skating. The added rubber pods ensure proper friction, enabling you to perform tricks without falling off your skateboard.
Features: Vulcanized rubber outsole, EVA insole, lightweight, durable and comfortable
Adidas is a reliable shoe brand with a wide range of high-quality shoes for both men and women. These Adidas skate shoes are 100% vegan and synthetic. They have a unique vintage style that immediately stands out. They are also very comfortable, coming with a breathable upper made of canvas. They are soft and don’t need a break-in period.
The vulcanized rubber outsole gives you better control and traction as you twist and turn during skating. They also come in different colors and sizes suitable for both men and women. Not all Adiease models from Adidas are vegan, so you want to ensure that the shoes you are getting don’t come in leather or suede.
Adidas is a global brand committed to managing its environmental impacts at its sites and across its supply chain. The brand works with its suppliers to ensure energy efficiency and reduction of carbon emissions. They are also committed to using more sustainable materials for their production. By 2024, Adidas plans to use only recycled polyester for every product.
Their first 100% recyclable performance shoe is made from TPU, free of any glue or solvent.
The brand has a Green Company program which started in 2008. The program strives to ensure water efficiency at Adidas sites worldwide.
Features: Canvas upper, rubber soles, toe caps, machine washable
Converse is a popular brand noted for making the most durable sneakers. The brand is famous for its Chuck Taylors, a signature white rubber toe cap. They offer a wide range of skate shoes; however, not all of them are vegan.
This 1970 vintage design combines durability, comfort, and proper fit. Its insole cushioning and winged tongue stitching give you stability and extra comfort. The signature ankle patch and egret midsole give your feet that vintage look. They are incredibly comfortable and also perfect for a casual day out. You can get them in various colors and sizes.
Features: a canvas upper, EVA midsole, STI energy foam
If you are looking for something futuristic, this might just be the right skate shoe for you. Popular for making the most durable skate shoes, this brand is owned and managed by skateboarders.
They are subsidiaries of Sole Technology, having the same parent company as Etnies.
This skate shoe has a heavy-knit feel which is unique and different from the streamlined look of most vegan skate shoes. They make them with a canvas upper reinforced with synthetic suede. Its EVA midsole provides extra cushioning and keeps your feet comfortable while you skate. The insoles made of STI energy foam make it easy for you to bounce off your board and give you protection as you land.
These vegan skate shoes have a triple stitched toe cap and rubber soles for durability and protection. You don't have to worry about your laces breaking, as these skate shoes come with a protective lace loop. These durable vegan skate shoes come in different colors and sizes.
eS has a workplace code of conduct and follows California law that ensures transparency in supply chains and no forced labor in their production process.
Features: Canvas upper, vegan-friendly construction, Ortholite insole, recycled materials, rubber sole
DC, founded in 1994, is yet another famous brand in skateboarding. They have a wide range of vegan skates and other shoes, including lifestyle shoes and snowboarding boots for men, women, and kids.
DC designed these low-top sneakers specifically designed for skating. They come in canvas upper made from cotton textile. They line them with textiles from recycled materials. It comes free of toe caps but has a vulcanized construction for flexibility, while its rubber sole in a pill pattern and herringbone delivers proper grip and excellent traction. It doesn’t have a padded collar or padded tongue.
However, these shoes will make a perfect pair of skate shoes if you don’t have wide feet. This vegan skate shoe comes in various sizes for both men and women.
They do not provide specific information on how they source their materials. However, they have a supply chain notice which provides information on how they make transactions with suppliers. Their parent company’s Quicksilver Ethical Standards of Trade (QUEST) ensures no exploitations throughout their supply chain. In addition, the brand conducts regular audits to ensure standards are met.
Features: 100% synthetic & vegan materials, rubber sole, canvas upper, padded tongue, and padded collar
This vegan skate shoe makes the list of some of the best vegan skate shoes thanks to its durable canvas material, which can withstand heavy pressure. They come in 100% synthetics free of animal products. Its padded tongue and padded collar give you comfort and good traction while you skate. They are super comfortable and excellent for all-day wear. These classic sneakers come in various colors and sizes and fit well for men and women.
Saucony demonstrates its dedication to sustainability by minimizing the use of virgin plastic. The brand uses more recycled, natural, or eco-friendly materials. They follow high-performance and durability standards to ensure you use your pairs of shoes for a long time. They also use low-impact, eco-friendly packaging to reduce waste.
Features: Canvas upper, vulcanized outsole, EVA footbed
The Wino Standard from Emerica is a versatile pair of shoes. Made from high-quality materials, including canvas, these shoes are incredibly comfortable and lightweight. They provide enough flexibility for any skating trick. It has a rubber outsole with vulcanized construction. This makes it easy to perform even the most challenging tricks without feeling uncomfortable. They also ensure you have enough grip, making it easy to twist, turn and land safely.
You are sure to find something for you, as this shoe comes in various colors and sizes. The Wino Standard comes with an EVA footbed, a super comfortable material that makes your feet feel like walking on clouds. They are also super trendy and great for everyday use.
Features: 100% synthetic, rubber outsoles, padded tongue, waterproof
These vegan shoes are perfect for skating and excellent for casual wear. They come in synthetic materials that are equally durable. These shoes are low-tops, giving your ankles the freedom to move and breathe while guarding against any injuries.
The rubber outsoles are well-tested under different temperatures and have good wear resistance. The padded tongues also provide adjustments and prevent your feet from slipping out. Our favorite thing about this skate shoe is that it is waterproof. You can get this perfect pair of shoes in various sizes and neutral colors.
Osiris is one of the biggest brands in the skating world. Their shoes are designed and tested by a team of professional skateboarders, meeting high function and quality standards.
Features: 100% canvas upper, vulcanized rubber outsole, cushioned insole, breathable lining, slip-on
These slip-on sneakers are super breathable and comfortable to wear, made of a canvas upper. Its durable rubber outsoles provide good traction and soft landing as you twist and turn during skating. Its cushioned insoles provide comfort for your feet. Its breathable lining and padded collars offer extra comfort and durability.
Features: Canvas/synthetic leather, trigger herringbone outsole, Shockbed insole, vegan
These vegan shoes deliver all-day comfort, whether skating or simply taking a walk. Made with Canvas, these shoes are breathable, comfortable to wear, and very durable. It features Globe’s Shocked insole to control impact as you get off your skateboard. It also has a trigger herringbone outsole for proper grip and balance.
These skate shoes have brass lace eyelets and synthetic leather on their heels, giving them some style. The Super V vulcanized pattern ensures a tighter grip and more durability. You can get these skate shoes in colors brown and grey and in various sizes.
Globe makes several pairs of shoes, clothing, socks, and other accessories. The company prioritizes making environmentally friendly clothing for modern adventurers. They use sustainable fabrics and materials with low velocity and low impact on the environment. These fabrics include organic cotton, recycled polyester, PVC, phthalate-free inks, etc.
They claim that 97% of their collection comes in paper bags that are FSC certified and recyclable.
Globe partners with the National Forest Foundation (NFF) and donates a portion of its yearly proceeds towards its tree-planting program.
Whether you're an ardent skater or you're just learning to skate, you need to look out for a few things when shopping for a classic pair of vegan skate shoes:
The very first thing you need to consider when shopping for a vegan skate shoe is durability.
The classic sneakers for skateboarding are suede shoes. Shoe experts consider suede one of the most durable materials. However, suede is far from vegan.
Canvas shoes, especially very thin ones, may not provide so much support. However, while canvas is not entirely immune to wear and tears (no material is), they are super breathable, lightweight, and flexible. You are sure to be more comfortable as you twist and turn on your skateboard.
Skateboarding involves lots of movement, and just like any physical activity, it can put some stress on your body. When you skate, you pressure your ankles, toes, and feet. You can also get injured, especially if you're a newbie.
So when you're shopping for your next pair of vegan skate shoes, look out for shoes that have proper padding intended for different skateboarding intensities. Look out for padded sidewalls, padded tongues, collars, and heels for all-around comfort and additional protection.
Some skate shoes come with a rubber toe cap for toe protection. Toe caps help your sneakers last longer and do not restrict your movement while you skate.
When we talk about skate shoes, traction is one of the most critical factors you need to consider. You don’t want to fall off your skateboard or look out for your shoes each time you perform tricks.
Your best bet will be soles made of rubber. Rubber is naturally gripping/sticky, giving you good enough traction as you skate. Some shoes come with features like vulcanized rubber to provide more traction.
Comfort is paramount when it comes to skateboarding. You want to ensure your vegan sneakers are just the right fit. Some sneakers come with wider fitting to accommodate wide feet, while others are thinner. Check out the comments of other shoppers to ensure you are picking the correct size.
Once you find the right size, try them on as often as possible. If your feet can't extend comfortably, your sneakers may be too tight for you.
You may also want to consider what type of sneakers you are most comfortable in. You can choose between low-top, medium, or high-top sneakers. Low-top sneakers sit below the ankle. They offer good mobility but less foot protection. High-tops are well-fitted, providing protection. However, they may hinder mobility. Most skaters go for mid-top sneakers, as they offer a good degree of both mobility and protection.
Of course, you will likely change your shoes often due to the wear and tear from skateboarding. However, you want to pick out sneakers with low impact. When you buy a new pair of vegan sneakers, consider the environmental impact of each pair of shoes. Was it made sustainably? What impact did it have on workers making the shoes? Was it made sustainably?
Ensure your new pair of vegan skate shoes are vegan-friendly and sustainable - i.e., made from materials with minimal impact on the environment that we can renew. Typically this involves shunning synthetics made from oil-based materials and going for organic plant-based sustainable fabrics. Note that some of the shoes below continue to use synthetic materials to qualify as vegan, which we’ve called out where appropriate.
Now you’ve bought a pair of skate shoes, and you're excited to try them on; however, they might feel tight at first. You need to break into them and get your feet used to them. It might even hurt for several days in a row.
Here are a few simple ways to break into your brand new pair of shoes:
There are different styles of skate shoes that you don't need to break in. Shoes that come with vulcanized soles, dual heel cushions, flexible EVA foam, and other materials may not require you to break into them.
There's a debate surrounding which type of shoe is genuinely more durable and comfortable to wear. Typically non-vegan shoes come in a synthetic material called Canvas. There are also other canvas options, including cotton canvas and synthetic leather. However, canvas shoes aren't the most durable in skating, considering they are lightweight and less sturdy.
On the other hand, other non-vegan options like leather skate shoes and suede shoes are the most popular options for non-vegan. They are also more durable. However, this comes at a costly price for animals. Researchers estimate that the leather industry slaughters more than a billion animals every year.
Not only is preventing animal cruelty the order of the day but turning these animal skins into leather involves using harmful chemicals like coal tar derivatives and mineral salts, which are toxic to human beings and our environment. Thankfully, brands are standing against animal cruelty by making vegan shoes that perform as well as real leather and even better.
Skating is fun yet an intensive activity that requires a lot from you and your shoes. Getting the perfect pair of skate shoes can redefine your experience, protect you from injury and improve your performance. To find the ideal shoes, look out for shoes that provide comfort, durability, a good fit, proper protection, and good traction.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.