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How Stella McCartney Is Reinventing The Sneaker

How Stella McCartney Is Reinventing The Sneaker

If you’ve never heard of Stella McCartney, you should Google her. Odds are her Rockstar father will pop up first, Sir Paul McCartney, a member of a little band known as The Beatles. But if you scroll just a little farther, you’ll find that she’s more than a musician’s daughter.  She’s a fashion designer, activist, and creator of the first vegan sneaker.

The Vegan Sneaker

Another partnership with Adidas has brought McCartney’s reputation as a vegetarian fashion designer to another level. In light of the rising awareness of climate change, burning rainforests and depleting wildlife, the fashion industry has started a change in its approach to creating new designs. Consumer preferences have changed therefore, companies are having to adapt to a more conscious buyer. And McCartney is one step ahead of her competition.

With the encouragement of Adidas and her husband, McCartney has created a sneaker made from vegan leather; a first in the history of sneakerdom. Let it be known that you do not have to be vegan to wear these shoes! Vegan Stan Smith Adidas. You may not know who Stan Smith is, but I guarantee you’ve seen his designer sneaker. In the early 1970s, Stan Smith, a world-renowned tennis player and coach, was the inspiration behind Adidas’ first leather tennis shoe. The classic shoe has a “leather upper, rubber cupsole,” punched out circles for its strips, and a green portrait of the legend himself. It has been 50 years since Adidas Stan Smith’s release. Its popularity has stood the test of time and McCartney wants in.


Stella’s signature shoe design was actually inspired by a birthday gift. Her husband chatted with Adidas about converting her favorite sneaker to vegetarian. One pair of shoes later, McCartney made history. Details of the Vegan Stan Smith’s are simple. In McCartney’s Instagram post, she summarizes, “They are colourful, they’re iconic and they are 100% vegan”.


For Specifics: they are made from non-leather and use animal-free alternatives for “glue”; creating a more sustainable, eco-friendly design. In place of the traditional stripes, there are three rows of “Stella Stars” on either side of the sneaker. Rainbow laces are a part of Stella’s version.  These are to promote inclusivity even with the unisex design. But they can be swapped for the classic white laces.  As if the shoes weren’t unique enough, Stella places a black and white portrait of Stan Smith (on the right tongue) and herself (on the left). A small, yet huge way to pay homage to the 70’s classic.


McCartney’s push to make the shoe vegan came from her commitment to creating cruelty-free fashion. 

“Our leather alternatives do not just look good, they are also better to the environment. Using recycled polyester instead of Brazilian calf leather, for example, creates 24 times less of an environmental impact, as calculated through the Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L).” – A quote from, Mission Statement.

Her self-titled fashion line is completely vegetarian. So, she wanted her own sneakers to advocate against animal cruelty. Ergo, her fashion both appeals to a younger, more are generation and fights for a worthy cause.

As a lifelong vegetarian, McCartney has merged her morals with fashion. Her fashion line is known for “stretching the boundaries of beauty by creating truly sustainable clothes without compromising beauty luxury”. Its inclusivity, offering men and women’s clothes, and versatility reaching into the world of eye-wear, lingerie, fragrance accessories and children’s fashion, are also worth mentioning. The company never uses leather, feathers, skin or fur in any of its products. Instead, Stella focuses on finding new ways to make leather alternatives and recycling polyester. This practice helps to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry.


On her website, Stella lays it all on the line. Every goal and accomplishment of her company, in terms of its vegetarian lifestyle, are available for all to see. The main goal, “to create a business that is restorative and regenerative by design”. Reduce, reuse and reuse even more. Many of the materials used for Stella’s one-of-a-kind designs are from ‘waste’ materials. A “restorative system”, she calls it.

Over the past year, McCartney has made the switch from using virgin nylon to “regenerated nylon” or ECONYL. This involves taking plastics and used fabrics and reusing them as nylon yarn. Much of McCartney’s outdoor apparel is made using this technique. Including her other Adidas collaboration, a biodegradable garment, the Infinite Hoodie.

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The Infinite Hoodie

The Infinite Hoodie is made from 100% recycled materials. Fabrics used to make this recyclable sweatshirt are reused cotton, regenerated nylon and a blend of polyester made from recycled water bottles. There were about 50 released prototypes in early 2019, just a start for biodegradable clothing. The design adheres to McCartney’s goal of reducing a growing dependency on virgin materials and to a push towards using textile materials that were previously made. After all, only 1% of all clothing gets recycled. There is no harm is trying to raise that number.

“ECONYL® takes recycled materials to a whole exciting new level by turning waste into resource. To make ECONYL®, waste such as industrial plastic, waste fabric and fishing nets from oceans is recycled and regenerated into a new nylon yarn that is exactly the same quality as virgin nylon.” – A quote from, Mission Statement.

The multi-nationalism of Adidas and Stella McCartney’s, a German company and a British native, partnership is sure to create a global trend of recyclable clothing. The two are empowering a very influential industry to enlighten its followers of sustainable practices that can make the dream of a cleaner world a reality.


The Vegan Stan Smith sneakers are waiting to be released and hopefully, more of the Infinite Hoodie will be available as well. But until then, we will wait and we will recycle. Let us know what you think about McCartney’s designs in the comments below!