Making the most of the clothes you already own – and sustainable sneakers

— by Alyson Walsh

Photos: Claire Pepper

These are not Back to School shoes. And I have not already broken my Second-Hand September pledge, that would be pathetic. Earlier this summer, after a bit of Style Stalking I found these Good News sneakers at half-price in a small, independent store in Peckham (Form SE15). They are super comfy and the pastel and white panels with a black trim look neat with a pair of relaxed chinos and a cotton shirt. Fresh canvas plimsolls pair equally well with summer dresses, rolled-up chinos and wide-leg trouser suits. And there are some great sustainable options too (see below). London sneaker specialist Good News, fuses sustainability with a social conscience by donating residual stock and samples to the homeless and people in need. Its chunky, retro-chic tennis shoes feature rubber soles made from recycled tyres and organic cotton canvas.

Thanks for all the great comments about Second-Hand September. I thought this might be a good time to highlight a selection of sustainable brands, too. As it’s not just about one month of the year. it’s about choosing to shop in a considerate, planet-friendly way. For-ev-er. Several readers asked for styling inspiration, finding  new ways to put old clothes together and I will do my best to oblige. Often in outfit posts I am wearing clothes that I already own, so I may have a rummage through my back catalogue. The chinos in the photo are old MHL by Margaret Howell, bought at the sample sale approximately eight years ago. The cotton shirt was a gift last year from Arket, which to be honest, I haven’t worn very much (apart from once or twice under my khaki jumpsuit) as I’ve been figuring out how to wear pink in a chic, Gentlewomanly way.

Here are five more sustainable sneaker brands to look out for:

Veja works directly with producers and small cooperatives in Brazil and France. Its designs are produced from eco-friendly wild rubber, organic cotton and leather. I’ve had my V-10 sustainable leather trainers for over a year now, often wear them to cycle in and they are still going strong.

All Birds sneakers come in super-fine merino wool (one of the co-founders is a New Zealander) or eucalyptus tree fibre uppers, have insoles made from castor bean oil and laces from recycled plastic bottles. Mr That’s Not My Age loves his All Birds slippers. Available online and at various stores around the world.

American brand Everlane is ‘on a mission to create the world’s lowest impact sneakers‘. Tread by Everlane is a zero-carbon sports shoe (carbon emissions are offset) made of leather, recycled plastic bottles and recycled rubber.

Ethically and sustainably sourced shoes – including a limited edition Fashion Revolution plimsoll – designed to be kind to the environment, the people who make them and your feet can be found at Po-Zu.

For every pair of Yatay trainers sold, a tree is planted in a deforested region ( sounds like a good idea right now). Born in 2018, the Italian brand’s vegan sneakers are Peta-approved.


Second-Hand Septemberists look away now (or save these sustainable suggestions for when you need a new pair of sneakers)….

Please note: Affiliate links in this post may generate commission.

More information on why we need sustainable sneakers HERE and more ethical brands to look out for HERE and HERE.

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Say hello to Second-Hand September

These are not Back to School shoes. And I have not already broken my Second-Hand September pledge, that would be pathetic.