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Why are the royals so obsessed with vegan trainer brands?

From the Spanish to the British monarchy, it seems that the footwear of choice is cruelty-free

Becky Donaldson
Feature Director
June 18, 2024
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Vegan and sustainable fashion is not just a trend; it's now an essential part of the fashion industry. 

And setting an example for conscious consumerism, by (literally) treading lighter on the planet with their vegan trainers, are the royals.

Let’s begin with French brand Veja, perhaps the best-known thanks to British Royalty Catherine, Princess of Wales, Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie of York, who have all endorsed the brand's sustainable and ethical practices. 

Kate the conscious consumber© Getty
Kate the conscious consumber

Veja has been consciously creating trainers since 2005. It uses Brazilian and Peruvian organic cotton for the laces and canvas, Amazonian rubber for the soles and other innovative recycled materials such as plastic bottles and recycled polyester. 

MORE: Best designer vegan handbags to shop this Veganuary

RELATED: Gucci just released this season's new 'it' bag and it's completely vegan

Since Queen Letizia of Spain fractured the phalanx of her right middle toe, we’ve been swooning over her chic yet comfortable footwear choices. 

Vegan-friendly footwear on Meghan© Getty
Meghan wears vegan-friendly footwear

Recently Queen Letizia attended a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Residencia de Estudiantes, a centre of Spanish cultural life in Madrid. Looking stylish she wore an all-white ensemble, including a pair of eco-friendly Royal Green - Project 080 sneakers by the Ohne Project.

Queen Letizia wearing Ohne Project trainers © Getty
Queen Letizia wearing Ohne Project trainers

Ohne Project shoes are made with premium bio-based materials that are 100% plant-based, recyclable and vegan; using materials such as corn, bamboo and organic cotton. 

A step in the right direction...

The leather industry has significant environmental impacts due to several factors involved in the production process, such as deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and pollution from tanning and chemical waste.

While synthetic leathers aren’t necessarily better for the environment than animal-derived materials, innovations in plant-based leathers, such as those made from mushrooms, seaweed, fruit, and recycled materials, offer promising alternatives.

MORE: Vinted has released it’s 2024 luxury trends report: Here's 5 surprising things you need to know

RELATED: 'This old thing?' How the high street is tapping into the pre-loved clothing market

Other vegan trainers to love…

Kate also loves Superga© Getty
Kate also loves Superga

Los Angeles-based footwear brand Clae are crafted from apple skin that has been made from leftover apple fibres from the juice industry. Skatewear-inspired Loci atom has been worn by Mila Kumis and Eva Longoria. Its handmade designs are made with vegan bio-leather from recycled materials and non-food grade corn waste. 

Diana, Princess Of Wales was an early fan of Superga© Getty
Diana, Princess Of Wales was an early fan of Superga

On the high street, both Marks and Spencer and Kurt Geiger are now creating vegan-approved sneakers. Retro brands such as Gola and Superga, which Kate is also a fan of, produce 100 percent animal-free products that are also promised to be ethical and sustainable. Even Adidas have invested in refreshing its classic Stan Smith style with a vegan upper, made from 50% recycled material and the soles are made from recycled rubber. 

Stella McCartney: a life-long veggie© Getty
Stella McCartney: a life-long veggie

And finally, let’s not forget Stella McCartney, who has been making vegan footwear since she launched her eponymous luxury fashion house in 2001. As a lifelong vegetarian, Stella has steadfastly avoided using leather, feathers, skin, or fur in any of her designs from the very beginning. This pioneering stance was groundbreaking at the time.

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