Knit sneakers are the newest shoe trend we can definitely get behind. When choosing a pair of knit shoes, you want them to be breathable, comfortable and not to mention, stylish.
Here we discuss our favourite sustainable knitted shoe styles, and where to buy them.
Through 3-D knitting technology, some brands are able to reduce waste by up to 30% compared to conventional cut and sew techniques. In addition, brands are using eco-friendly and recycled materials, to create their stylish knit shoes.
What are knit shoes?
Knit shoes have grown in popularity in the past few years. We’re not talking about your grandmother’s old fashion handmade knit boots – we’re taking new innovative knit sneakers and shoes – But what are knit shoes?
Well, knit shoes are a type of shoe that’s made with knitting technology. The shoes usually feature a tight-knit weave made of wool or a plastic-based fiber. As we’ve said, knit shoes have grown in popularity, and that’s partly thanks to knit shoes being lightweight, comfortable, and breathable.
Why are knit shoes so popular?
As we’ve said, knit shoes have grown in popularity thanks to being lightweight, comfortable, and breathable. It’s even calculated that the global knitted footwear market is forecast to grow to US$3,195 million in 2025, an increase in over $1 million from 2017. Below we’ve included a few reasons that make knitted footwear so popular.
- Breathable – Knit shoes have micro pockets of air that allow air to escape the shoes which makes them breathable. Breathability in shoes is essential to prevent your feet from getting sweaty and overheating. No one wants to stand all day with sweaty feet. It’s uncomfortable and can be bad for foot health.
- Lightweight & Comfortable – Innovative technology in knitted shoes means they’re now some of the most lightweight shoes on the market, overtaking heavy shoes like leather and PU-based plastics. Lightweight shoes are great for all-day wear as they won’t cause leg aches like a heavy pair of boots sometimes can.
Now we know what knit shoes are and why they’re so popular, let’s jump in.
Our Top Picks For Sustainable Knit Shoes & Knit Sneakers
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Sustainability: Responsible and recycled materials, 100% recyclable packaging.
Materials: 7 recycled plastic bottles make every pair of Greats knitted sneakers.
Price: from $119
Greats is a sustainable shoe brand based in Brooklyn, New York. They create on-trend eco-friendly sneakers from responsible leather and recycled plastic.
This cool sustainable shoe brand has launched its bestselling Royale model in a sustainable knit version, and we love it. Every pair recycles seven plastic bottles, otherwise destined for our oceans, and turns them into these chic, washable, eco-friendly knit sneakers.
Sustainability: Certified B Corp, creating sustainable knit sneakers from low-impact, natural materials.
Materials: Natural and renewable materials, including eucalyptus tree fibers from responsibly sourced from FSC® Certified forests and carbon-negative green EVA foam soles.
Price: Tree Runners from $98
Allbirds is a popular sustainable sneaker brand, creating stylish knit sneakers from renewable and eco-friendly materials.
They have a range of knit sneakers available, from the Allbirds Tree Piper to the Tree Dasher; we’ve personally tested both sneakers here at Ecothes and love them – the Tree Dashers are still almost brand new after wearing every day for a year!
Allbirds knit sneakers are high quality and durable; they’re built to last, so you won’t need to replace your shoes every few months. As a certified B Corp, you know you’re purchasing ethical sneakers that meet high environmental and ethical production standards.
Ecothes Tip: I personally love Allbirds because they have a super soft merino wool lining which means you don’t need to wear socks! The drawback is however, because the brand uses wool – they’re not vegan.
Materials: Completely vegan and animal-free materials.
Price: Everday Knit Sneaker from $135
Vessi is the new vegan sneaker brand on the block, creating animal-free, waterproof knit sneakers and shoes.
They create practical sneakers which look good but keep your feet dry and comfortable.
Vessi sneakers are still great if you’re looking for vegan knit sneakers that are also completely waterproof.
If you can’t decide between Vessi vs Allbirds, we’ve compared the two knit sneaker brand here.
Sustainability: Washable knit shoes made from recycled materials. Knit technology means up to 30% less waste is produced.
Materials: Recycled materials from recycled plastic water bottles, natural fibers, including merino wool and hemp.
Price: Lace-Up Knit Sneakers from $165
Rothy’s creates stylish knit shoes from recycled plastic. They do this by diverting plastic bottles from landfills and marine environments and transforming them into Rothy’s signature thread. The recycled plastic yarn is then knit into Rothy’s durable and practical knit shoes.
By using innovative knit technology, Rothys produces up to 30% less waste than conventional cut and sew methods.
Stuck between Allbirds and Rothy’s? Check out our comparison.
Sustainability: Knit sneakers made with recycled marine ocean plastic.
Materials: Recycled plastic from recycled fishing nets.
Price: from $100
The Addidas x Parley collaboration features cool knit sneakers from recycled marine plastics. These stylish, practical sneakers feature at least 50% Parley Ocean Plastic and 50% recycled polyester, meaning no virgin polyester.
Parley for the Oceans is a movement to inspire us to stop marine pollution and save our oceans. Through their talks, collaborations, and clean-up efforts, Parley is driving change for our marine ecosystems. You can read more about the movement here.
Sustainable Knit Shoes Top Picks
Sustainability: Sustainable and washable knit shoes and boots from recycled plastic bottles
Materials: Breathable knitted shoes made with recycled ocean PET plastic spun into yarn.
Price: Knit shoes from $79
If you’re looking for the perfect knit shoe in a range of styles and colors, Vivaia is your go-to brand.
Vivaia is a shoe brand, creating chic knit shoes from recycled ocean plastic and other low-impact materials, including ethical wool and natural rubber.
With a unique blend of herbal and PU material, Vivaia’s insoles are comfortable, soft, and naturally deodorizing, meaning your feet won’t sweat or smell when wearing – a big plus if you spend all day on your feet! Oh, and most styles are completely washable, so you can keep your shoes fresher for longer.
Sustainability: Waterproof knit boots made with recycled materials
Materials: Stretch Knit Upper with 50% Recycled PET Yarn
Price: from $110
Look seriously cool while keeping your feet warm and dry in these waterproof knit boots by Native Shoes.
They’re lightweight, have a bouncy absorbent sole, and are made with 50% recycled material content.
Native Shoes have also launched its Native Shoes Remix™ Project, turning old Native shoes into children’s playgrounds. They have created five playgrounds so far, and we’re a big fan of this mission. You can find out more information about this unique project here.
Sustainability: Certified B Corporation, carbon-neutral company, eco-friendly and natural materials.
Materials: Natural materials including eucalyptus tree fiber and a sugarcane outsole is called SweetFoam®
We’ve already mentioned Allbirds in this list for knit sneakers. However, these Allbirds Tree Breezers are the perfect knit shoe and too good not to include.
These washable shoes are made with eco-friendly materials, including eucalyptus tree fibers and carbon neutral.
The Tree Breezers feature a ribbed collar for a perfect fit, and the shoe flexibly conforms to your foot for effortless movement.
Sustainability: Heritage designs reimagined with recycled materials
Materials: Breathable, stretchy knitted shoes, made from 75% recycled polyester, soles made from 12% recycled rubber.
Price: from $65.97
Think classic Converse, but reimagine them in eco-friendly styles. That’s the concept behind Converse Renew, a new collection of sustainable sneakers made from recycled materials.
These knitted shoes are a playful twist on the classic Chuck Taylor All-Star Converse, except this version features uppers with recycled polyester and soles made with up-cycled rubber from scraps from the footwear manufacturing process.
How to clean knit shoes?
Most knit shoes on this list are machine washable, with brands like Allbirds, Addidas, Rothy’s, Vessi, and Vivaia all offering machine washable shoes. Alternatively, a warm soapy sponge is a good option for cleaning away small marks.
Ensure you always double check a specific brand’s washing guidelines, as some brands say to remove laces before washing.
Wrapping Up: Sustainable Knit Shoes and Sneakers
We hope you’ve enjoyed the article and have found the perfect pair of sustainable shoes.