Best Sustainable Running Shoes 2023
Buyers Guide | Fleet Feet
As runners, there are plenty of ways we can each do our part to leave our world a little better than we found it. In addition to knowing how to make your running shoes last longer and reducing your running footprint with these sustainability efforts, choosing more environmentally friendly running gear from ethical companies will help limit the waste left behind.
Today’s best running brands are developing new ways to use recycled materials and carbon-neutral manufacturing methods to create more eco-friendly running shoes and sustainable running clothes.
So when it’s time for you to get a new pair of trainers, whether you’re trail running or jogging around the block, recycle your old running shoes and buy a pair of earth-friendly running shoes.
Light on your feet and light on the planet, check out our guide to the best sustainable running shoes:
- ASICS Gel-Cumulus 25
- Brooks Ghost 15
- Adidas Ultraboost Light
- New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12
- On Cloudsurfer
- Saucony Peregrine 13
- HOKA Transport
- Mizuno Wave NEO Ultra
[This article is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2023. Find all the best running shoes from the top brands for all situations. Pair your sustainable running shoes with some of the best sustainable running clothes.]
ASICS GEL-Cumulus 25
The name ASICS stands for a sound mind in a sound body, and the brand believe a sound earth helps get us there. The GEL-Cumulus 25 stays true to ASICS’ sustainability initiatives with an eco-friendly design that includes 90 percent recycled materials in the upper to reduce carbon emissions and waste.
Named after those fluffy white cumulus clouds, this eco-friendly running shoe uses ASICS’ FF Blast foam and new Pure-GEL technology to make it cushioned and comfortable for daily training, long runs and even uptempo paces.
Read more: ASICS GEL-Cumulus 25 Review
Brooks Ghost 15
Not only is the Brooks Ghost 15 one of the best running shoes year after year, but it is also a carbon-neutral product.
To create this sustainable running shoe, Brooks uses a combination of reduced manufacturing emissions, 57 percent recycled materials in the upper and carbon offsets. The recycled material alone means that the Ghost 15 diverts 6.58 plastic bottles from landfills.
But it’s not just better for the planet: The Ghost 15’s generous fit and smooth ride make it a go-to running shoe for everything from long walks to long runs.
Read more: Brooks Ghost 15 review
Adidas Ultraboost Light
A high-cushioned running shoe you can feel good about wearing, adidas says 50% of the yarn in the Ultraboost Light’s upper is made from Parley Ocean Plastic, which is spun from plastic waste collected from coastal areas to prevent it from polluting our oceans. The other 50% of the yarn is made from recycled polyester.
This shoe also produces 10% less carbon emissions than its previous version. From raw material extraction, processing and packaging, all the way to the end of the product's life, adidas calculates and communicates its carbon footprint, conforming to an internationally recognized standard. Known for its bouncy Boost foam that gives you energy return with each stride, the Ultraboost Light is not only sustainably made but also one of the best adidas running shoes.
Read more: adidas Ultraboost Light review
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12
Meeting New Balance’s green leaf standard, the 1080v12 gives you ultra-plush cushioning and eco-friendly sourcing. This lightweight shoe uses a soft Fresh Foam X midsole made with 3% bio-based content from renewable resources to help reduce waste. Plus, the engineered Hypoknit upper feels like a second skin and is made from at least 50% recycled materials to support your feet—and the environment.
High-cushioned, lightweight and versatile enough to run long or run fast, it’s no wonder this sustainably-made running shoe is one of the best running shoes of 2023.
Read more: New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 Review
With the On Cloudsurfer you get both comfort and sustainability rolled into one. This shoe has no plastic overlays and is made from 30 percent recycled materials. The biggest reason this shoe makes our list is that it uses dope dye technology instead of conventional dying for its yarn. This saves approximately 90 percent of the water used during conventional dying, or 2.61 liters per pair.
On continuously works to reduce its environmental footprint by using alternative materials, creating a circular system and driving sustainable products.
The On Cloudsurfer is a great, lightweight running shoe that looks stylish enough to wear around town.
Read more in our On Cloudsurfer review.
Saucony Peregrine 13
Leave a lighter footprint on the trails ahead in the Saucony Peregrine 13. Saucony’s dedication to sustainability is shown in their use of recycled content in the upper of this eco-friendly trail runner.
The Peregrine 13 is one of the best trail running shoes for everything from flying over singletrack to hiking your local trails. It’s lighter and plusher than ever before and built with a nice blend of cushion, protection and traction.
The commuter-friendly and eco-friendly HOKA Transport can be used for light hikes, walks and strolling around town. Not only is this shoe stylish and comfortable, but it also has many sustainability features—the midsole consists of a 30 percent sugarcane EVA foam, and sports a Vibram® EcoStep Natural outsole that uses 50 percent oil-free components and still gives you great traction. The upper is made with Cordura® RE/CORE™ with 100 percent rPET, a recycled high-tenacity polyester yarn created from discarded bottles and packaging.
HOKA makes sustainability one of its core elements. They use 98.13 percent preferred paper packaging materials and strive to remove virgin, non-certified paper from their packaging. These efforts have saved more than 802,000 trees since 2016.
Mizuno Wave NEO Ultra
The Mizuno Wave NEO Ultra allows you to float away on the run. This cushioned shoe features all three of Mizuno’s proprietary midsole materials, including the sustainable castor bean oil-based ENERZY LITE and the bio-based ENERZY foam.
Mizuno says 51 percent of shoe parts are made from Mizuno Crew 21 materials, which are part of the brand’s program to be carbon neutral by 2050. This shoe also features 98 percent dying water reduction, saving water throughout the process.
Read more in our Mizuno Wave NEO Ultra review.
How We Chose the Best Sustainably Made Running Shoes
With more than 45 years of experience, Fleet Feet is the expert in running. What makes the ideal piece of equipment for a runner comes down to the personal experience, goals, running surface, preferences and style of that runner. At Fleet Feet, we have been helping runners pick out the right gear for decades and want to pass that knowledge on to you.
We use a combination of real-life use, quality of materials, seasonal trends and our own top-seller lists to pick out the best sustainable running shoes. With all that in mind, we picked gear that lived up to our personal (and professional) expectations and we think they will live up to yours as well.
Standing Behind Our Picks
We picked the best eco-friendly running shoes based on what we think will work for the most people in the most situations. If you buy a pair of running shoes from us and you don’t like the way they look, fit or perform, bring them back within 60 days for a full refund.
Plus, we offer free shipping on all orders over $99 on fleetfeet.com, and we’ll match a lower price from a qualifying retailer. That’s our Happy Fit Guarantee.
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