Leather-free shoes

For some people, giving up cheese keeps them from going vegan. For others a plant-based diet is a no-brainer, but shoes? You love shoes, right? You might be thinking, “I can’t give up animal products if it means switching to hemp Birkenstocks.” Well you don’t have to! There are tons of stylish vegan shoes out there if you know where to look.

vegan shoes

Proof that cute vegan shoes exist!

Accidentally vegan shoes

This first category of footwear is comprised of shoes that just so happen to be vegan. I doubt the manufacturers had anything other than looks and costs in mind. Often cheaper shoes are vegan. Stores like Payless sell a lot of faux leather and faux suede shoes. Summer shoes in canvas, raffia, and other materials qualify too. They’re not always high quality though. Some are. I’ve had “manmade” boots for several seasons that are stylish, comfortable, and don’t make my feet sweat.

Have a look at zappos.comamazon.com, or DSW. You’ll find vegan shoes from lots of brands like Wanted, MIA, Volatile, and Madden Girl. Aerosoles has a mix of materials. If you look at the product description (or tag, if you’re in the store) you’ll find non-leather options. Here are a few of my “accidentally vegan” shoes and boots.

Velvet and sparkles

Poetic License velvet and sparkle booties (from amazon.com)

Satin leopard platforms

Satin leopard platforms by Two Lips (from DSW)

faux nubuck

Fioni faux nubuck peep-toe pumps (from Payless)

Kimchi Blue

Kimchi Blue velvet desert boots (thrifted)

Starlet by Payless

Satin and sequined kitten-heel mules (from Payless)

Guess boots

Guess faux leather boots (from T.J. Maxx)

faux suede booties

Faux suede stack-heel booties (from Old Navy)

silver boots

Dirty Laundry faux leather engineer boots (from amazon.com)

satin and stones

Satin and rhinestone pumps (from JC Penney)

Intentionally vegan shoes

This category is made up of vegan companies who have worker conditions, environmental impact, animal rights, and of course style, in mind. The shoes will cost as much as leather versions but the quality is high, the materials are stellar, and you’re supporting a vegan business. I’ve only just started to splurge on quality vegan shoes so I can show you only a few. After the images, have a look at the list of vegan shoe companies. There’s no shortage!

novacas

Faux suede booties by Novacas

Cri De Coeur

Faux suede OTK boots by Cri De Coeur

Some of the vegan shoe companies out there:

Additionally, stores like Moo Shoes, Vegan Chic, Compassionate Couture and Alternative Outfitters carry all-vegan men’s and women’s shoes and boots from a bunch of companies. I’ll keep my resources page updated with the latest, growing list.

Second-hand leather

Some people buy used leather shoes. The thinking (at least what I used to think) is that I wasn’t adding to the demand of new leather shoes and I wasn’t supporting the leather industry financially. In fact, buying second hand meant I kept things out of the landfill!

However, I’ve grown uncomfortable with leather. First, it creeps me out. When I saw footage of a slaughtered cow being de-skinned, it really hit home. Second, other people don’t realize I bought my leather shoes at a thrift shop so I’m not sending a good vegan message. If they like my used shoes, they might buy a new pair. I don’t want to be that kind of trend setter! Finally, I like proving that I can live a vegan lifestyle. If I make an exception with my shoes, I’m saying it’s good to be cruelty-free…but it’s impossible to live without animal products. And that’s not true.

So now that you have more info on vegan shoes and leather alternatives, vote with your dollars, and be stylish and cruelty-free!

Do you have a favorite brand of vegan shoes?

ballet flats

Ballet flats come in lots of different materials

sandals

Sandals are often vegan

vegan boots

Boots can be vegan too

25 thoughts on “Leather-free shoes

  1. I guess I haven’t looked hard enough yet, because I haven’t had much luck finding stylish non-leather shoes. Of course I’ve only been vegan for less than a year and have only gone shoe shopping twice in that time. You really have found some super cute non-leather shoes, and this gives me hope! I’ll probably start by looking at the vegan shoe companies because I like the idea of promoting them. Thanks so much for this post! By the way, you and your mom seem like such wonderful people!

    • I’m glad this post gives you hope! It was fun to write and although to a non-shoe lover, it may seem like I’ve gone overboard with shoe pix, you probably get it 😉

      There are a lot of options out there but there’s tons of leather too–and it can be frustrating to walk into a store and see nothing you can buy. But if you find the right places, you’ll see non-leather shoes too. It can actually be a fun challenge! Plus, it’s nice to have some “filter” so I can narrow down the list of things I want! Let me know what you find (maybe you can do a guest post about your vegan shoes!).

      I’m going to continue to support the vegan shoe companies too. Thanks so much for writing. Glad you found my mom’s blog too. She is such a compassionate person!

  2. Fabulous inventory of your shoe collection! Great photography, a work of art to display them like a shoe store and to take individual pics of all your stylish shoes!!

    You inspire me to arrange and organize my shoes. But more importantly, you challenge me to buy cruelty-free shoes. I am always saddened when I see people in fur coats or leather coats, yet leather shoes are no different. Thankfully, I took a look and I have many shoes in the ‘accidentally vegan’ category. Sad to say, I have none in the intentionally vegan category. Like you and Celeste, I want to support vegan shoe companies, it may mean paying more, but it’s worth it.

    I’m keeping my leather shoes for now, but knowing the cruelty animals go through, makes it difficult wear them.

  3. Thanks for your comments! I like displaying my shoes so I can see them. That way I remember to wear them! I still have one shelf of non-vegan shoes. Most were second-hand. I just sold a couple on eBay last week (so I have more money for vegan shoes!) and I’m trying to figure out what to do with the others.

    It’s interesting how fur makes us cringe but “hairless fur” (aka leather) doesn’t. I’ve met cows and they’re pretty hairy 🙂 I’ll do a separate post about leather and I’ll do a post about vegan bags and purses, so stay tuned!

  4. First off, I’d like to say that you have a fabulous shoe collection! I recently became a vegan and I thought it would be so difficult getting rid of some of my favorite non-vegan shoes, but after looking at some of the sites you’ve posted, I don’t think it will be as hard as I initially thought. It looks like there are many stylish vegan options out there. Thank you for this post, it lifted my shoe-loving spirits!

    • Thanks for commenting and congrats on becoming vegan! I do have a lot of shoes. Seeing them on the screen made me slightly embarrassed–just call me Imelda :O But at least it’s an example of the choices we have. There are tons of options so don’t fret! Shopping can still be fun! Let me know what vegan shoes you end up buying. As a fellow shoe-lover, I’m always interested in that sort of thing.

  5. Hi!
    There is a company in Melbourne, Australia called Vegan Wares, that has been making vegan shoes (and purses, wallets, belts) for years. I bought 2 pairs of boots from them 13 years ago. I still wear one pair every Winter- thee are a doc Martin style boot.
    I recently found some Ecco brand shoes that are ‘accidentally vegan’. So I bought 2 pairs! I have to ‘stock up’ when I can.
    🙂

    • Ooh! Thanks for that info! I’ll check them out. It’s great to know their vegan shoes are cruelty-free AND last! I like durability. It keeps things out of the landfill so it’s ethical in more ways than one! I’ve been interested in a Doc Marten-style boot too! I recently found “accidentally vegan” sandals on Amazon.com 🙂

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  8. I love those faux suede booties pictured. DO you know if they are still available? ALso when you order items from the U.K. how do I know the cost is USD? Seems like the best vegan shoes are available in the U.K.
    thanks!

    • Hello, thanks for your comment. I showed a few faux suede booties. The ones from Payless and Old Navy were about $30 each. The Novacas were closer to $100. I’m not sure any of these are still available but I bought them all in the US and I’m sure you can find similar ones today.

      I don’t order from overseas companies very often but I’ve noticed some companies have currency converters on their sites. If not, I do a web search to find the exchange rate. Good luck and let me know what you find 🙂

  9. Thanks so much for this info. I first became a vegan in the early 80s when the non-leather options were often atrocious or ecologically noxious in terms of materials and manufacturing processes. For me, finding nice-looking alternatives to leather was more difficult than avoiding gluten on my vegan diet. I kept my old leather shoes until they wore out and sometimes just couldn’t find a non-leather shoe that worked for a particular situation. It makes me so happy to see such improvement in both intentional and unintentional selections. Arcopedico now has a vegan shoe line made with “Lytech.” I have one of their Lytech boots and it’s the most comfortable shoe I own. I have some Aerosole boots, too, which are great. Moo has a new store in LA! I mean, as someone who came of age in an era where these choices weren’t available, it feels like a plant-based paradise nowadays, by comparison. 🙂

    • So true. We had it good now. I’ve lost track of how many great vegan brands there are. Much more eco-friendly than the PVC cheapies I was used to. I have Aerosoles too. I like that some of their shoes are leather-free. I’m not familiar with Arcopedico, so I’ll check that out now. Thanks for your comment!

  10. Thanks for sharing such nice vegan shoes, the products that you display in your blog are really amazing. I found numerous variety of shoes like as wedges, sandals, loafers etc that give amazing look and that shows your classic lifestyle. The vegan products are Eco-friendly and sustainable as they can be recycled so it is better for our environment too.

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  13. Hi Jean, I was reading Carmen’s post about the white shirt, and she linked to this. I had to come over and see what “accidentally vegan” shoes were!
    Love the first pair of crushed velvet, then the thigh hi boots!!

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