8 Best Vegan Friendly Running & Workout Shoe Brands + 19 Shoes Reviewed 2021

Jeff Baldelli
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Are you a vegan who is a gym rat?

I went through a phase a few years back where I was a vegan and I worked really hard to make my diet as clean as possible. I went deep into the vegan culture and got deep into the gym.

It is tough to be both a vegan and a gym rat because a lot of the things that vegetarians and vegans are against involve the food or the products that many of us buy.

Take whey protein for example. It is derived from cow's milk and to get it you have to kill the cow.

It is the same thing for leather workout clothing. Leather is a product of animal hide.

Thankfully, there are now many shoe brands that cater to vegans. These vegan training shoe brands are great if you are looking for a day to day shoe or a workout shoe but you also cant have any leather in it.

To help you choose here is my list of 8 great vegan shoe brands plus 19 of the best vegan workout sneakers reviewed.

NameCategoryProduct
Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Ultimate 81 Shoes 1183A012Best OverallOnitsuka Tiger Unisex Ultimate 81 Shoes 1183A012
Saucony Originals Men's Jazz Low Pro Vegan SneakerBudget PickSaucony Originals Men's Jazz Low Pro Vegan Sneaker
Newton Men's Motion IV Running ShoesUpgrade PickNewton Men's Motion IV Running Shoes

1. Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Ultimate 81 Shoes 1183A012

Our rating: 9 / 10

Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Ultimate 81 Shoes 1183A012

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Pros:

  • Great price.
  • Reliable comfort & durability.
  • Super light, flexible & comfortable.
  • Quality stitching.
  • High quality.
  • Quality materials.
  • Great design.
  • Diverse colors.
  • Flawless look.
  • Quality construction.

Cons:

  • Not odor resistant.
  • Not made in USA.
  • Not made in Japan.
  • Not environmentally friendly.
  • Made in Vietnam.

Universal is a brand new product brand constructed by Prime LLC located in the heart of the Nike, adidas, and Puma owned Portland, Oregon. Their mission is to help athletes of all levels find what they have been missing: a combination of fashion and performance. Prime brings a unique style that has already made a huge impact in the fit of the top brands with a never-seen-before style.

2. Saucony Originals Men's Jazz Low Pro Vegan Sneaker

Our rating: 8 / 10

Saucony Originals Men's Jazz Low Pro Vegan Sneaker

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Pros:

  • Alternative grown suede upper
  • Outsole uses EcoTread material
  • Antimicrobial and antibacterial
  • Mesh anti-odor sock
  • Synthetic/mesh upper

The Saucony Originals Men’s Jazz Low Pro is a great running shoe with a Vegan friendly upper. It is suitable for a variety of activity and is very comfortable to wear.

The midsole material is responsive and flexible, which is excellent for individuals who may experience joint pain. The lace-up system is both simple and stylish.

Saucony Originals Men’s Jazz Low Pro is one of the best vegan friendly running shoe options available on the market. It is a stylish shoe that is made from a range of materials, such as synthetic or mesh, and rubber.

3. Merrell Men's Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

Merrell Men's Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Lightweight, flexible mesh upper with synthetic overlays.
  • Excellent cushioning throughout the shoe.
  • Minimalist-style lugged outsole performs incredibly well on a variety of trails.
  • Firm shock-absorbing footbed with excellent arch support.
  • Breathable, moisture-wicking mesh interior and antimicrobial footbed cover.
  • 360-degree reflectivity for night running.
  • Nylon webbing with hook and loop closure and quickfit lace system
  • EVA foam midsole
  • Merrell air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability

The Merrell Men’s Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe provides the grip, protection, cushioning, and traction you need for your daily runs.

It is designed with a Vibram outsole for excellent grip, shock absorption, and stability. It features a lightweight style with a protective rubber toe cap.

The trail-tested design has a waterproof mesh and synthetic upper with stretchy overlays for excellent fit and comfort. It also has a quickfit lace system for excellent adjustability.

4. Newton Men's Motion IV Running Shoes

Our rating: 8 / 10

Newton Men's Motion IV Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Very breathable.
  • Gives a springy feeling while running.
  • Liked for its quality, fitting comfort and support.
  • Durable.
  • Low price.
  • Available in a variety of colors including blue, red, yellow and black
  • Wear resistance.
  • Comes with great arch and heel support to help absorb shock while you run and jump.

Cons:

  • Quality issues.
  • Not suitable for someone with wide feet.
  • Not recommended for long distance runners.
  • Not very durable.
  • Not suitable for people weighing over 200 pounds.

This popular running shoe is a best seller on Amazon and is very light in weight. It is highly durable and it’s one of the most durable and best supportive running shoe.

5. Merrell Men's Trail Glove 4 Runner

Our rating: 8 / 10

Merrell Men's Trail Glove 4 Runner

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Pros:

  • Really good grip
  • Comfortable fit
  • Lightweight shoes
  • Split sole for extra grip

Everybody has to start running somewhere. If you're just starting your first training sessions for a 5K or a longer distance race, this is a really good shoe.

The main thing that makes the Merrell Trail Glove 4 great for novice runners is its zero drop design. This means that from the heel to the toe, there is zero difference in the height between the two, giving you the feeling of running barefoot.

It also has some nice traction on the bottoms. It has a wide profile and an ample cushioning and support that helps with stability, but the shoe has a fairly thin design so you can still feel the ground underneath you. This is a good feature for some runners.

6. Xero Shoes Prio

Our rating: 7 / 10

Xero Shoes Prio

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Pros:

  • Lightweight and Flexible
  • Zero drop, minimal design
  • Wide toe box
  • Affordable price
  • Great for trail or road running
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Flats and non-marking outsoles

Cons:

  • Not good for long distance use
  • Some users have found the toe box to be too narrow
  • Grip might be too casual for some users

Where used: Running

Why we like it: The Prio is ideal for anyone who wants to try out minimalist running shoes. Xero Shoes prides itself in creating shoes that look great, are eco-friendly, and allow for great stride transition.

This particular shoe was designed for use on any terrain, mountain trail or road. It features an impressive lightweight design and the best about this shoe is the footbed.

7. Merrell Women's Grassbow Air Trail Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

Merrell Women's Grassbow Air Trail Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Breathable mesh upper.
  • Wider toebox than average for a running shoe.
  • Abrasion-resistant toe rand.
  • Lightweight midsole.
  • Maximum cushioning.
  • Spacious toe box.
  • Stylish and lightweight.
  • Waterproof and Quick-drying.
  • Deep and hollowed-out well-cushioned footbeds.
  • Foot-shaped innersoles.

Cons:

  • Narrow at the toe box.
  • Runs wide and long for some.
  • Not as good grip on wet ground.

8. Mizuno Men's Wave Prophecy 2 Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

Mizuno Men's Wave Prophecy 2 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Vastly improved fit and stability compared to the original Prophecy.
  • Very well ventilated.

Cons:

  • Some reviewers complained about the durability of the shoe.

This wave shoe is perfect for those runners who have high arches and larger feet. It features Mizuno’s latest wave technology. It is perfect for those runners who run or workout for runs close to 20k or even longer distances.

Chain Reaction Cycles says, “The main feature of this shoe is the Wave technology. It’s a whopping 25 percent more efficient to transfer your running force through the midsole, resulting in higher energy efficiency and less fatigue when you run. It’s also been shown to reduce over-pronation up to 23 percent for less injuries and more comfort.

This is the culmination of Mizuno’s 22 years of experience with wave technology, and it’s designed to meet the needs of those who are serious runners. It’s also built for comfort, with a superb cushioning system that will keep your feet happy all day and also make a great fit. The fit is also tailored for medium to large-sized male feet.

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

Our rating: 7 / 10

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

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Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Cushioned
  • Great for medium to high arches
  • Very durable
  • Science-of-Weave seamless construction

This women’s training and cross-training shoe is an excellent buy. Designed to support medium to high arches in the foot, its seamless construction is meant to be as lightweight and breathable as possible.

It also includes GORE-TEX Technology to keep your feet dry and comfortable even on the hottest of days. The midsole of the shoe features cushioning, which helps keep it comfortable.

Plus, it includes a midfoot support plate. In fact, this shoe has more stability and support than you’d expect in a lightweight training shoe.

10. Mizuno Men's Wave Elixir 8 Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

Mizuno Men's Wave Elixir 8 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Superb cushioning and comfort
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • The laces are smooth and easy to tie.
  • Midsole is well-designed to provide a dual-density feel.
  • Superior traction.
  • One of the best-selling running shoes

Cons:

  • Not suitable for long distances
  • Pricey
  • Not recommended for casual workouts

The Mizuno Wave Elixir offers a cushioned ride with excellent traction.

This top-rated running shoe is one of the best-selling running shoes around. It is best-suited for anyone who’s looking for a comfortable running shoe with a little less support than the Wave Rider.

It's a great shoe for beginners who aren't sure if they'll like running and don't want to spend tons of money on something that might not work out.

11. Merrell Women's J03914,

Our rating: 6 / 10

Merrell Women's J03914,

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Pros:

  • Keeps you cool while walking
  • Waterproof and will protect your feet from water splashes
  • Has padded soles, so you can walk comfortably
  • Ideal for daily workouts
  • Breathable mesh materials for comfort
  • Has 3 versatile grey and pearly lustre colors

Cons:

  • Not ideal for extreme running.
  • It takes some time getting to the right size, as there are many sizes “ keep the untied the shoes and look for the best fit for the toe.
  • The suede material will get dirty visibly faster than leather counterparts.

This is the best water shoes for your active lifestyle. They are not too bulky and not too heavy, but the grip is good. They come at an affordable price and sizes go from 5.5 to size 10. They are made with a rubber sole and mesh sleeve for comfort and ventilation. They will keep your feet dry and cool while you workout.

Bottom Line: Vibram provides you the best athletic gear and shoes available in the market these days. The women’s Five Fingers KMD–Lite for women is one of the top shoes that are available at reasonable prices on the market available now. The shoe is comfortable and does not smother the toes.

12. TOPO Men's Ultrafly Running Shoes

Our rating: 6 / 10

TOPO Men's Ultrafly Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Lighter than many other shoes on the market
  • Zero drop
  • The softest and most breathable upper on the market
  • A wide toe box
  • A solid set of support features

Cons:

  • No actual arch support
  • A small discount for some buyers
  • Upper is a bit fragile; can damage easily

The Upper: This upper is probably the softest upper that I have ever felt. It is not the barefoot feeling that you get with a pure minimalist shoe. Instead, it is padded but it feels so soft. Like most minimalist shoes, it has the zero drop platform that flattens the arches during running. This helps with damage control, but not pain control.

The Insole: This is not the only thing that has a soft feel. The insole is nice and soft as well. It is not the most comfortable insole, however. It has a small amount of arch support but hardly nothing for your feet. If you want the zero drop feel, you will need to layer with some supportive insoles.

13. Mizuno Men's Wave Rider 16 Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

Mizuno Men's Wave Rider 16 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Cushioning
  • Quick, responsive midsole
  • Wide toe box for comfortable fit

Cons:

  • No protection for the heel
  • Some shoes can feel too wide for some runners

This modern looking shoe from Mizuno is very comfortable and lightweight. It comes in well over a dozen unique designs that cater to both men and women.

The Wave Rider 16 is a very smooth running shoe with a lightweight and breathable design. It comes with a full-length Ride Engine midsole foam, which is a highly responsive design that provides a smooth and comfortable ride.

The shoe itself is very light and responsive, and the Ride Engine foam gives you a smooth and soft ride. It gives you sustained stability, but its sole is still flexible. This is a great choice for a neutral runner who doesn’t need extra shock absorption, but wants extra performance cushioning and performance technologies.

14. Newton Running Men's Kismet

Our rating: 6 / 10

Newton Running Men's Kismet

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Pros:

  • Great fit
  • Fast, but not too much arch support
  • Double-density adiprene
  • Great shoe if you have wide feet
  • Very good price point
  • Feels very natural, comfortable shoe for running.

Cons:

  • Run hot
  • Bottom wears out quickly – need to replace them sooner than other shoes.

Newton Running specializes in the best shoe for runners to help prevent injury and to be more comfortable in their running shoes through the use of floating technology. One of the best shoes that the company makes for men is the Newton Kismet.

The shoe is ideal for men who run regularly and want something that is flexible, durable, and supportive. This shoe features a high energy return with and features a highly flexible, low-profile design.

While these shoes are designed for men, women also wear them. The shoe is more durable than it looks based on its lightweight and comfortable fit.

15. Brooks Women's Running Shoes

Our rating: 6 / 10

Brooks Women's Running Shoes

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Pros:

  • Plenty of cushion for impact protection
  • Good stability for high impact workouts
  • Perforated leather provides ample ventilation
  • Unique design that still allows plenty of ventilation
  • Pearlescent look

The Brooks Women’s Launch 3 features the combination of ultra-cushioning, full-figure support, and lightweight comfort that you come to expect from Brooks. It offers a new design and the same high quality performance as other Launch Series shoes.

Each shoe in the Launch Series takes on a different color aesthetic. The Brooks Women’s Launch 3 has a bright, pearlescent look that allows your run to catch people’s attention. Despite the striking color, the shoe remains lightweight at just 9.5 ounces. The Launch 3 is meant for women who need a little extra support and cushioning as they pound the pavement, so it has a slightly wider toe box than other Brooks shoes. The Launch 3 also has up to 25 millimeters of cushioning, so it is especially good for running long distances. Its single density midsole provides plenty of heel support and the flexible forefoot flexes with each step to keep your foot properly aligned.

16. Newton Running Terra Momentum

Our rating: 6 / 10

Newton Running Terra Momentum

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Pros:

  • Run more miles than ever before.
  • Zero heel drop design for a natural foot strike.
  • Level cushioning technology.
  • Wide toe-box for a comfortable fit.
  • Motion control features: torsional stability, high abrasion rubber, and high impact arc.
  • Additional support from an anatomic footbed.

Cons:

  • Sizing is a bit off.
  • Not made for heavy lifting.
  • Price might be a turn away for some people.
  • Older model gets poor reviews due to their cost.
  • Older replacement model costs a bit more.

This shoe is a favorite among faster runners. It is made for motion control with their low heel heel running shoes. The difference with these shoes is the lower heel, which is better for runners who want to be able to put extra pressure on their heel.

It is a high quality shoe that offers the proper support to maintain their excellent running abilities. The wide toe box is sufficient for a natural look. These shoes are perfect for mid-foot strikers.

17. Brooks Men's Adrenaline GTS 14 Running Shoe

Our rating: 5 / 10

Brooks Men's Adrenaline GTS 14 Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Very lightweight
  • Superb form-fitting high-tech and engineered mesh upper
  • High-quality arch support
  • Ideal for running
  • Designed for comfort and stability

Cons:

  • Heel construction might not be durable.

Brooks Men’s Adrenaline GTS 14 is one of the best running shoes for men. It is designed to deliver ultra-lightweight comfort that provides stability when you’re running long distances. Its lightweight synthetic and mesh upper material makes it very breathable and comfortable.

This shoe is well suited for neutral runners who are looking for a balance of cushioning and stability for a comfortable training run. The Bungee lacing technology reduces pressure and provides a customized fit. The Ever Run and DNA cushioning works together to reduce impact forces for a smooth ride.

Bottom line: This running and workout shoe is lightweight, supportive and breathable, which makes it one of the best shoes for running.

18. Onitsuka Tiger Women's Machu Racer Classic Running Sneaker

Our rating: 5 / 10

Onitsuka Tiger Women's Machu Racer Classic Running Sneaker

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Pros:

  • Available in a wide variety of styles and colors
  • Low profile and lightweight
  • Fit very well for a wide variety of foot types
  • Very comfortable shoe
  • Well supported shoe design
  • No break-in period with these shoes
  • Removable insole for custom comfort
  • Breathable mesh and synthetic material
  • Great TPU sole material for absorbing shock
  • Ventilated upper for flexibility

Cons:

  • These shoes don’t work well for heavier runners (over 200 pounds)
  • Not ideal for wet conditions due to their lightweight quality
  • The shoes do not provide enough arch support
  • They don’t hold up well over time

The Tiger women’s Machu Racer shoes are amazing. They are simple, flexible, lightweight, and comfortable. You really can’t be happier with your running shoes if you select these.

They are a low profile sneaker, which means they are easy to run in, but are not meant to be worn off the trail. As such, they are a fantastic choice for trail running.

They are super comfortable and have a great feel and they are ideal for a wide variety of foot types and walking.

19. Brooks Transcend 2 Caribbean/Poppy/White 6 B

Our rating: 1 / 10

Brooks Transcend 2 Caribbean/Poppy/White 6 B

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Pros:

  • Great cushioning
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable upper material
  • Super comfortable
  • Minimal design
  • Zero friction

Cons:

  • Sizing runs small in this model
  • Limited Stride Sensor technology
  • Less soft, cushioned feel from the 10s
  • Unreliable sole durability in 10s

Brooks makes a lot of different running shoes, but the Brooks Transcend is one that you’ve probably seen in Target or a local running store.

The Transcend 2 is a women’s running shoe that was refreshed after the original Transcend was introduced in 2009. With the changes to the style and shape of this shoe, it is a great option for new runners looking for a daily training shoe to run a 5k to 10k with, and for runners who want to start a fitness routine.

The Transcend 2 has a great midsole that cushions slightly and offers a bit of a bouncy feel, so it is a great shoe for training without putting too much of a strain on the legs. With a stack height of 18mm, it is a great option for road and trail running.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which type of shoes are best for jogging?

When jogging, it's best to invest in trainers that are made for running. These trainers are going to feature an exterior that is built to handle the kind of pounding that jogging puts on the road. Your running shoes should also focus on working as a whole, which means that every piece of the shoe should work with every other piece of the shoe. This is important in order to reduce the impact of running on your ankles, knees, and feet.

How do I know if my shoes are vegan?

Major manufacturer shoes companies such as Nike, Asics, Brooks, Adidas, Columbia, New Balance and Saucony all use vegetable-tanned leather in their shoes and are not considered vegan friendly.

Vegan friendly shoe brands that may not have all vegan shoes include, Chaco, Patagonia and Merrell. If you are looking to purchase eco friendly sport shoes from these companies there are some vegan options available.

What brand of running shoes last longest?

Are running shoes OK for everyday wear?

Different shoes call for different activities, and if you're just using them to walk around all day they may not be best. For instance, they might not be breathable enough for you if you'll be doing something like that. But running shoes are designed to give you feet the best support and motion for their specific use.

If you will be wearing the shoes every day, you might want more arch support than you get from running shoes. But if you're just using them for their specified purpose, they should last you a while. With regular care they should also last you longer than regular shoes, but you may want to consider replacing them at the 300-500 mile mark. Some people replace them more often than that, while others claim they sometimes get more mileage out of these.

They are also useful as an athletic shoe. Whether you go running or not, these shoes can serve well for everyday wear.

Conclusion

You might be wondering, why are we recommending vegan shoes and brands? Because, these vegan shoes are better for you and the planet in ways that other running shoes might not be.

So, if you want to go the vegan way, check out our list of the best vegan-friendly running shoes and brands.

First, you need to know that not all vegan shoes are healthy and safe to use for running. Some brands use materials that are not BPA-free.

Furthermore, did you know that people are becoming allergic to the dyes that are being used in many synthetic shoes?

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Ultimate 81 Shoes 1183A012Best OverallOnitsuka Tiger Unisex Ultimate 81 Shoes 1183A012
Saucony Originals Men's Jazz Low Pro Vegan SneakerBudget PickSaucony Originals Men's Jazz Low Pro Vegan Sneaker
Newton Men's Motion IV Running ShoesUpgrade PickNewton Men's Motion IV Running Shoes