Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

Stuff I Love: Vegan Onitsuka Tiger Sneakers


I haven’t done a “Stuff I Love” post in a while, which is silly since I love so many things. Today I want to recommend my latest find: vegan-friendly sneakers from Onitsuka Tiger.

I have high standards when it comes to shoes, partly from having a bad back and partly because of my goal to “buy fewer things, buy higher quality (when possible).” Finding high-quality shoes with no leather or animal glues has been tough. Some of the more popular brands, like Jambu, don’t fit my feet at all. Others, like some Merrell styles, fit fine but don’t do it for me style-wise.

Enter the Ultimate 81 by Onitsuka Tiger.

It’s a more minimal sneaker than I’m used to, so I didn’t think I’d find it comfortable. I can’t wear Converse at all, for example. But I was wrong. After one day of breaking in, these have become my most comfortable pair of sneakers ever. (Note: I have very narrow feet with high arches, so your mileage may vary.) Here are the pluses of these shoes:

  • Vegan-friendly, huzzah!
  • Comfortable
  • Minimal
  • Light-weight, easy to shove in even a small carryon bag
  • Come in a large number of colors for both men and women
  • Apparently they make great parkour shoes
  • You can find good sales online

Onitsuka Tiger logoOn the downside, Onitsuka Tiger (begun in 1949 and one of the oldest shoe lines in Japan, re-introduced in 2001 by Asics) isn’t great about telling people which of its sneakers are vegan-friendly. There are some sneakers in other lines that are vegan-friendly, but only in certain color combinations. The Ultimate-81s haven’t always been vegan-friendly in previous years, either, and it’s hard to tell sometimes if the shoe merely lacks leather, or if all parts of the production process are vegan-friendly.

Still, it’s a (very comfortable) step in the right direction.

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Jenn Reese

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By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

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