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.
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.com, amazon.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.
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!
Some of the vegan shoe companies out there:
- Beyond Skin
- Brave Gentleman
- Cri de Coeur
- Good Guys
- No Harm
- Olsen Haus
- Vegetarian Shoes
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.
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?