10 Best Sustainable Running Shoes in 2022

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
10 Best Sustainable Running Shoes in 2022

Many studies show that sneakers leave behind a huge environmental footprint. An average running show contains many parts that are mostly non-biodegradable. In fact, a recent scientific study found that a single pair of running shoes produce 30 pounds of carbon dioxide on average.

If you are looking for a new pair of running shoes that would help lessen an impact on the environment, purchasing a sustainable, eco-friendly shoe is a great solution. To help you find the right match for your needs, we rather a fantastic list of sustainable running shoes for your consideration.

We’ve tested 20+ eco-friendly running shoes to see how good they are for the environment, as well as their performance, comfort, and overall value.

How we test running shoes

There are not that many eco-friendly running shoes on the market. Daniel McLoughlin, the in-house sneaker expert at RunRepeat said that “only 1 in every 29 pairs of sneakers on the market qualifies as an eco-sneaker.” We’ve handpicked 20+ of them and put them to the test in our lab and on the road.

This is how we approach it to get the list of our best picks in different categories:

  • We buy every pair of eco-friendly sneakers out there with our own money. This is to avoid brand loyalty or bias.
  • We have testers run 30-50 miles on average in each pair and give us in-depth feedback on its on- or off-road performance, comfort, fit, and other important factors.
  • We bring the shoes to our lab for more rigorous testing. We do this by cutting them open and reducing each model to its specific parts. We then measure 30+ shoe parameters that make the shoe environmentally friendly or not.
  • We gather more comparable data from expert reviews and regular users.

As a final verdict, each pair is assigned a score from 0 to 100 using our proprietary CoreScore system. The best-rated sustainable running shoes are featured on this list.

Best sustainable running shoes overall

Brooks Ghost 14
Brooks Ghost 14
Top pick

Corescore

93
Superb!
4.7 / 5 from 34,349 users
91 / 100 from 15 experts

Pros

  • All about comfort!
  • True to size
  • Lots of padding
  • Smooth ride
  • Really stable, even on light trails
  • Breathable
  • Great out of the box
  • Built for longevity (500 miles, easily)
  • Great grip 

Cons

  • Lacks breathability for hot summer days
  • Not the best for long distances

Verdict

The Ghost 14 from Brooks really fits the bill as the shoe for all runners. It's a workhorse that's comfy enough for easy days, responsive for tempo sessions, and is heavy-duty to handle light trails. Overall, a no-fuss daily trainer that will work for all your runs!
See our full review and facts
Saucony Guide 15
Saucony Guide 15
Also great

Corescore

88
Great!
4.2 / 5 from 63 users
95 / 100 from 7 experts

Pros

  • Stability that's not bothersome
  • Protective cushion
  • Rolls smoothly
  • Also for neutral runners
  • Lighter than other Saucony Guides
  • Snug and secure foot wrap
  • Roomy toe box
  • No lace bites
  • Breezy for summer
  • Upper made of recycled contents

Cons

  • Lacks bounce
  • Too much rubber outsole in the heel 

Verdict

The Guide 15 from Saucony is a lightweight stability shoe that's perfect for easy training runs on the road. With the support it provides, it delivers a predictable ride on any road surface. Even more, it lets go of the stability conventions of the past. Lightness aside, it also doesn't tax the foot. It's firm, but just enough to keep the foot steady and supported.
See our full review and facts

Best road sustainable running shoes

Nike Free Run 5.0
Nike Free Run 5.0
Top pick

Corescore

83
Good!
4.3 / 5 from 12,358 users
86 / 100 from 1 experts

Pros

  • Insane lightness
  • Glove-like fit
  • Heel loop
  • Easy lacing system
  • Super breathable 
  • True to size
  • Comfotable as an everyday slipper
  • Extremely flexible

Cons

  • Short runs only
  • Lack of proper outsole
  • Insole not removable

Verdict

Ah, the Nike Free Run… Calling this a running shoe is a stretch, but there’s still a vestige of folks out there in the minimalist fan group that likes the slipper-like feel of Nike’s long-running “Free” lineup. The 2021 update steers back toward a less bizarre-looking shoe than we saw in 2020 but continues with the ultralight and ultra-flexible design.
See our full review and facts
Hoka One One Arahi 6
Hoka One One Arahi 6
Also great

Corescore

90
Superb!
4.4 / 5 from 536 users
95 / 100 from 6 experts

Pros

  
  • Fits true to size
  • Balanced cushioning
  • Lightweight for stability shoes
  • Good lockdown
  • Stable platform
  • Fun to run in
  • Very comfortable
  • Improved lacing

Cons

  • Grip is not reliable
  • Durability problems

Verdict

Hoka One One’s lightweight stability shoe is almost identical to its predecessor, the Arahi 5, with a nice, even amount of cushioning and consistent yet subtle stability. This shoe’s ready to take you through long miles and help you with recovery runs. What’s more, it’s lightweight, especially compared to its chunky aesthetic.
See our full review and facts

Best trail sustainable running shoes

New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6
Top pick

Corescore

91
Superb!
4.6 / 5 from 2,426 users
91 / 100 from 8 experts

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Super plush
  • Protective underfoot
  • Amazing lockdown
  • Easy to put on (heel loop!)
  • True to size
  • Heel rudder
  • Looks amazing
  • Value at $135

Cons

  • Heavy 
  • Runs warm
  • Could be grippier

Verdict

A heavy-duty trail beast, the Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v6 has proved to us it's more than capable of taking a beating from harsh elements! It crushes everything underfoot and will last plenty of miles. After putting it to the test, we found that it works best as a road-to-trail transition shoe and a light to moderate dedicated trail shoe.
See our full review and facts
La Sportiva Akasha II
La Sportiva Akasha II
Also great

Corescore

87
Great!
5.0 / 5 from 5 users
91 / 100 from 1 experts

Pros

  • Grippy on wet, dry, and loose trails
  • Lighter than the Akasha I
  • No slips on uneven terrains
  • Lively ride
  • Mutes out impact
  • Excellent heel hold
  • Tongue stays in place
  • Roomy toe box
  • Protective toe bumper
  • Sustainable upper
  • Also for hiking

Cons

  • Not for fast runs 
  • Lacks breathability

Verdict

The Akasha II is a trail running shoe from La Sportiva that lives and breathes ultras. Taking protection up a notch, it can tackle just about any mountain terrain that is demanding and unpredictable. Even better, it's a much-improved ride from the first version, delivering a livelier, more responsive performance that's plenty enjoyable.
See our full review and facts

Best value sustainable running shoes

Adidas Supernova
Adidas Supernova
Top pick

Corescore

90
Superb!
4.5 / 5 from 15,465 users
91 / 100 from 7 experts

Pros

  • True to size
  • Soft landing for heel strikers
  • Durable
  • Grippy outsole
  • Reflective elements
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Narrow toebox
  • Heavy
  • Adaptation needed (10-20 miles)

Verdict

The Adidas Supernova is a neutral daily running shoe that's perfect for runners who are on a budget. It's not made for the long haul, but if you're looking for a shoe that's suited for jogging, sprinting, and interval work, it's a shoe we'd recommend. And for its price, it's surprisingly durable!
See our full review and facts
Adidas Cloudfoam Pure 2.0
Adidas Cloudfoam Pure 2.0
Also great

Corescore

79
Good!
4.4 / 5 from 33,529 users
N/A

Pros

  • All-day comfort
  • Supportive
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Lacks breathability
  • Not for wide feet
  • Poor durability

Verdict

Is the Adidas Cloudfoam Pure 2.0 an excellent running shoe? Meh. At best, it's a comfortable budget trainer that's great for long walks, athleisure, and casual wear. If you're looking for the same affordable training flat which is more performance-oriented, you can consider the Adidas SL20.2.
See our full review and facts

What are the cheapest sustainable running shoes in 2022?

  1. Adidas EQ21 - from $25
  2. Adidas Supernova - from $38
  3. Adidas Questar - from $42
  4. Adidas Duramo 10 - from $46
  5. Nike Free Run 5.0 - from $77
  6. Adidas Terrex Two Ultra Parley - from $78
  7. Nike Flex Run 2021 - from $80
  8. Adidas Adizero Boston 10 - from $82
  9. Adidas Adistar - from $85
  10. Asics Fuji Lite 2 - from $86
  11. Adidas Solarglide 5 - from $94
  12. Saucony Guide 15 - from $100
  13. Brooks Launch 9 - from $110
  14. Brooks Launch GTS 9 - from $110
  15. Reebok Floatride Energy 4 - from $110

See all sustainable running shoes sorted by lowest price

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.