Vegan winter boots

I’m spoiled. I live in Seattle where winter is essentially mild and wet. Any pair of rubber rain boots will do. But I grew up in Canada, where I needed warm, insulated, waterproof boots for the salt, snow, slush, and frigid temperatures. If you’re looking for vegan winter boots to keep you warm, look no further.

Women

If Winters are cold in Canada, then look to Cougar, a Canadian company. They have a few vegan styles–and they know winter!

The Canuck 3 is a tall, waterproof nylon boot that comes in black or white and is cold-rated to -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit).

The Canuck by Cougar

The Cougar Como 2 is a nylon boot lined with polar plush. It’s also cold-rated to  -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) and comes in black, white, or gunmetal.

Cougar Como2 boots

Then there’s the Minty 6, a shimmery polar-lined boot. It comes in black and, my preference, a space-age gunmetal. Cold-rated to  -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit).

Cougar Minty 6

There’s a great vegan shoe store in Vancouver called Nice Shoes. They ship throughout the US and Canada in case you’re not nearby. Nice shoes has an amazing assortment of all types of footwear. They sell the Baltimore by Kamik, a waterproof, nylon bootie that’s cold-rated to -40.

Kamik Baltimore boots from Nice Shoes

If you want a bit of color, check out the red Minx by Columbia. They’re lined in faux fur and are cold-rated to -32 Celsius (-25 Fahrenheit).

Minx boots by Columbia

Men

I won’t forget the fellows. I found a few styles of Men’s vegan winter boots too. Nice shoes carries Bogs, like this pair of Ultra Mid. They’re great on slippery surfaces, and are cold-rated to -40.

Bogs for men at Nice Shoes

There’s also the Utik, if you prefer a synthetic leather lace-up. Cold-rated to  -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) with neat grommet details and red piping.

Utik boots from Nice Shoes

These Kamik Canuck boots are another option. They’re at Zappos.com, a great online shopping site where you can filter for style, size, and material. The Canucks are nylon, with lots of grip and a warm lining. The toggle at the cuff keeps out the snow.

Kamik men's boots on Zappos

The Ice Patrol by Vegetarian Shoes is an amazing boot. Not only are they sturdy and rugged, but they have metal grippers that fold out of the sole and act like mini crampons. Theses come in sizes 36 through 47 so they’ll fit a wide range of people, making them a great unisex boot. Plus, Vegetarian Shoes, as the name implies, is an all-vegan company so you know you’re getting an ethical boot and supporting a vegan company.

ice patrol boot by Vegetarian Shoes

The Snowdon, also by Vegetarian Shoes, is another shoe great for anyone. Like Dr. Marten’s or Converse, these work for men and women. The snowdon has ski-boot laces and is a sturdy, three-season boot for hikes or urban treks.

snowdon boots by Vegetarian Shoes

Youth and Kids

Columbia also makes youth sizes in styles like the Minx. They’re cold-rated to -32 Celsius (-25 Fahrenheit) and are a woven synthetic textile with a faux-fur lining.

Minx youth sizes by Columbia

The Columbia Powderbug nylon boots are cold rated to and come in four cute patterns. The toggle helps keep the snow out.

Columbia youth Powderbug boots

Bogs are a great option for men, women, and especially kids (with their fun patterns and easy pull-on handles). Not all Bogs are vegan, but the kids’ boots seem to be. And who doesn’t love dinosaurs and flowers?

Bogs for kids

I hope the examples above will give you a good starting point for your winter boot shopping. Let me know what your favorite vegan winter boots are!

 

Vegan motorcycle jackets

I’ve already written about motorcycle safety gear for the avid rider, but what about the moto look for fashion? You won’t need to be protected, but if you want to look good and steer clear of leather, you’ve got options!

Here’s the classic James Dean style jacket–with a twist: The pleather is quilted. I love this jacket and recently got it on sale at Aeropostale. You can find a lot of faux leather options at this place. And unlike leather, you won’t have to worry about a little rain.

classic jacket

For guys, how about this faux suede moto jacket? It’s a Perry Ellis design from Nordstrom. My husband didn’t mind the faux. He was happy actually, and pointed out that a lot of high-end cars use Alicante (a durable, water-resistant faux suede) in their interiors.

faux suede

If you don’t need to replicate the look of leather but love the moto style, check out a few other options like this brown velvet version and a bright yellow cotton one. The velvet jacket is from Forever 21 and the cotton one I found (new) on eBay.

velvet and cotton

I couple of other takes include a blush pink number from JC Penney and a fabric and pleather one also from Forever 21.

leather alternatives

I recently spotted a slew of great motorcycle jackets in the Macy’s juniors department. These are by American Rag and come in a lot of great shades.

faux leather jackets

So far, most of the jackets I’ve shown are lower end, often juniors, and they’re likely faux because faux is often cheaper (for the younger demographic). But you don’t have to go cheap to go faux. Vaute Couture, the vegan fashion house out of Brooklyn, makes a great classic moto jacket in v-wool for men and women and waxed canvas, also in men’s and women’s sizes.

Vaute jackets (photo c/o Vaute Couture)

You can check out Alternative Outfitters too, a vegan online retailer, to find jackets that are cruelty-free. Other stores like Free People and ModCloth are good sources too and carry cute vegan options. Do a search on their sites for vegan or faux and you’re bound to find something.

No matter what price point or style you’re looking for, you can avoid animal skins easily, thanks to the abundant choices we have these days. Happy shopping!

Farm Sanctuary message gear

I recently met up with my friend Barb, of healthnik.org. We caught up over lunch at Araya’s, a vegan Thai restaurant in Seattle’s university district. Their all-you-can-eat buffet is not to be missed! After lunch, we walked a few doors down to Vegan Haven, Seattle’s only all-vegan grocery store. I got Barb to pose for me out front. It seemed like a good backdrop for a photo shoot featuring vegan wear.

Barb bought her belt at Vegan Haven. It’s made of recycled conveyor belt. She replaced the plain buckle with a unique bird buckle from the co-op in Mount Vernon.

Barb had just come back from New York State and told me about her experience visiting Farm Sanctuary.

Barb in FS gear

T-shirt: Farm Sanctuary
Jeans: Calvin Klein via Goodwill
Belt: Held Belts
Belt buckle: FluffyCo
Bag: Farm Sanctuary

The tour was a very positive experience. She got to meet a lot of rescued animals and learn about each of their unique stories. While she was there, she picked up a few pieces of merch.

Barb is wearing a T-shirt from Farm Sanctuary with a vegan/environmental message: Reduce your carbon hoofprint: Go meat-free! Environmentalism and veganism go hand-in-hand. Factory farming is a bigger source of carbon emissions and pollution than all the transportation industries combined!

Barb also picked up a great shoulder bag. It looks perfect for carrying a couple of books or magazines. It would fit a camera nicely too, and probably is big enough for a tablet or iPad. Plus, the message is clear.

Shoulder bag

Barb was thoughtful and brought me a pin and magnet. The magnet is on my fridge. Look at that cute lamb!

lamb

I think everyone should visit a sanctuary. If you’re not vegan, you’ll see first-hand why ditching meat, milk, and eggs is a great idea. If you’re already vegan, you’ll be uplifted by seeing the ones who made it out–animals who were destined for the dinner table and were saved because of the hard work of the Farm Sanctuary people (and donations from its supporters).

Farm Sanctuary has locations in New York and California, but there are many other sanctuaries. Your area might even have one. If not, planning a trip near a sanctuary is a great reason to visit one.

Vegan fashion at the VVC gala

One of the highlights of Vida Vegan Con was the gala and silent auction many of us attended on the Saturday evening, smack in the middle of the conference. The gala was an even that raised money for Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, a home for chimps saved from the biomedical industry.

One of the highlights of the gala was seeing everyone dressed so stylishly. I snapped a few pictures. It’s just a sampling of the people in attendance. I wish I could have documented them all.

First I stopped this lovely couple on their way into the event. They aren’t bloggers but they’re friends of bloggers and supporters of the chimp sanctuary. I love her strapless dress, sparkly shoes, and the adorable bow on her belt. His shirt and tie combo is fantastic (nice pattern mixing), and so are his slim-cut trousers and low-profile shoes.

cute couple Next I stopped Taylor from Tacoma who writes Hot Piece of Class. She also had sparkly shoes and a skinny gold belt (I see a theme) but her look was completely different. She looked great throughout the conference and I wish I’d gotten more pictures of her.

Taylor Rebecca, the next woman I stopped, was just as stylish. Her neutral outfit set off with wine colored tights and a blue cardigan. You can tell by people’s outfits that spring evenings in Portland are cool. Luckily the people are cooler!

Taylor's friend I was so enamored with those gray booties that I snapped a close-up of them, along with a yellow pair of heels someone had on. Both are wedges but they’re nothing alike. Proof that there’s a huge variety of wedges out there. They both look comfortable, stable, and stylish.

wedges

The person wearing those cute yellow wedges was looking stylish from the ankles up too. She had on a great faux-leather jacket and skinnies. After I took her picture she pointed out that her collar isn’t part of a shirt, but rather a collar necklace. What a great way to change up an outfit!

faux leather jacket

Meet Joe and Sadie, the stars of The Intrepid Herbivores, a vegan TV show about travel and food. Their show is fun and funny and is a great way to learn about how to travel vegan-style. Check out their site, “like” them on Facebook, and look for them on TV in the near future. I just saw a screening of their pilot and I can’t wait for more.

Oh, and don’t they look great? Sadie managed to match her scarf to her hair (possibly a coincidence). If I had a utility belt purse like hers it would have saved me from juggling my clutch, camera and glass of wine. Joe made his look unique with a utilikilt and combat boots.

Intrepid Herbivores

I approached Staci and Justin as they basked in the warm glow of a heat lamp. They’re another example of two people who look fabulous on their own but together really turn heads. I love the statement necklace Staci chose and her bold combination of gray and orange. Justin has a monochromatic look with a great tie. He let his style shine through with the checkered Vans.

Justin and StaciStaci was nice enough to get in touch with me after the gala. She sent me a couple of other pictures that really show off her look. She’s not a blogger, but she could be. She knows how bloggers like to list brands so she sent me a list. Her dress is H&M, her shoes are Madden Girl, and the necklace is from Nordstrom. Justin is wearing a Van Heusen shirt and tie, Dockers, and Vans. Both of them prove that you can look like a million without spending it.

Staci and Justin

I stopped one last group at the gala. They all had such great style! The woman on the left in the elegant halter dress is Kendra Peterson of Biting the Hand that Feeds You (Thanks Sarah, for providing that info!). Next to her, in the slinky, one-shouldered dress, is Sarah of Bentoriffic. Sharon, in the tomato-red and black ensemble is half of Big City Vegan, a site she runs with her sister. Finally, with the amazing purple flower in her hair and black lace overlay dress, is the one and only Super Diva (AKA Dawn). They all have great stories to share and I encourage you to check out their blogs.

Fab four

They also were nice enough to remind me that no one had taken my picture. Dawn offered. Thank you Dawn! I’ve had this dress for a few years but it hasn’t made it to my blog until now. I got it at Fashion Crimes in Toronto. My Shoes are by Hot Lips and my empty cage necklace (perfect for the occasion) is from The Sapphire Bee.

three bloggers

After that last photo, I hit the bar, the vegan sundae line, and the dance floor. Even bloggers need to clock out sometimes and just have some fun.

Vegan fashion at Vida Vegan Con

I had a lot of fun at Vida Vegan Con, the vegan blogger conference I attended last week. Most bloggers had food blogs, some had lifestyle blogs, and a few had style blogs. Everywhere I turned I saw fashionable bloggers! It was hard to get photos though–we were all so busy. I managed to get a few shots at least.

I stopped Ky Lee Fournier because I loved her casual style. I’m a huge fan of fedoras and skinny jeans and I like how she threw a denim jacket into the mix. The faux leather booties add a bit of toughness and the cotton floral bag is a great soft spring piece. Ky Lee is a vegan sports nutritionist from British Columbia and she’s as fit as she is stylish!

Ky Lee Fournier

When Londoner Kip told her friends she’s had her photo taken for a style blog, they laughed. Kip runs The Messy Vegetarian Cook blog and is known for her recipes, not her outfits. But who’s laughing now? From the red tights and adorable polka-dots to the cute cardi, this is a great look. I think I need a pair of 8-hole vegan Dr. Martens now too!

Kip

I was thrilled to meet Jesse Anne O in person. I’ve been reading her blog for a couple of years and was thrilled when I found out she was going to VVC. She runs a smashing style blog with a focus on ethical attire. I love following her New York adventures and seeing what she’s thrifted. She’s also got her pulse on vegan designers and local shops.

Jesse Anne O

As proof that we met, here I am with Jesse.

Jean and Jesse

I saw a few people donning stripes over the three-day conference. Case in point: Anika of Vegan Score and Dawn of Vegan Moxie. I know these two lovelies from Seattle and it was great to reconnect with them in Portland.

I love Anika’s black, white and red look. She shows how to “dress down” with a denim jacket. And you’d never know it, but those cute ballet flats are Crocs! Waterproof shoes for temperamental spring days–genius! Dawns tights and cardi are a great way to wear a summery dress when it’s a bit cool out. I love how she chose green tights and caramel faux-leather flats. Adorable!

Anika and dawn

Helen and Molly are also from Seattle. They are the voices behind Vegtastic and Vegan Princess in an Omni Kingdom, respectively. I paired them up for my impromptu shoot because they both had on dots. Helen’s top has a subtle Swiss dot and Molly’s dress is a whimsical circle print. I like how they show how to layer with cardigans and how to rock flats. I think Helen might be wearing Cri de Coeur (and Jesse, above, might have on the same style. Great minds…).

Dawn and Molly

Speaking of great minds, meet Megan and Megan. Megan on the left, runs The Opinioness of the World, an awesome blog filled with info about film, food, and feminism (among other things). I almost bought the very scarf she’s wearing but I left it at Herbivore Clothing. Moments later, unbeknownst to me, Megan popped in and got it. Good call! It looks great and it’s super soft.

Both Megans got their shirts at Herbivore, which is why I thought they looked so good together in this post. It’s a black and fuchsia theme! The shirts read “Love life: no matter whose.” A terrific message! I like how these women took the same shirt and created completely different outfits. Megan on the right is on twitter and YouTube and has tons of adorable cat stories and photos because she fosters kittens. Awesome!

Two Molly's

Finally, it’s me again. But only because I bumped into Lulu. We’d been carrying around the same bag all weekend and had a couple of photo ops together. Lulu looked fantastic all weekend long. I wish I’d gotten pictures of her every day. Her wardrobe is all about color and texture and she makes it seem effortless. She doesn’t have a blog–yet. Here’s hoping to that happening soon. No pressure, Lulu!

Jean and Lulu

There you have it. I snapped a bunch of photos at the vegan gala too, so look for that post next!

Vegan motorcycle gear

This post is about safety gear for riders. For fashion, check out my post on vegan motorcycle jackets.

In a previous life (well, circa 2006), I was very much a sportbike rider. For five years, a motorcycle was my main form of transportation. I commuted (in the HOV lane) on my bike, did weekend trips with hubby and friends, and took my bike to the racetrack. What a fun hobby–and an efficient way to travel!

vegbiker

Jacket: Fieldsheer (I think)
Pants: Dainese
Boots: Sidi
Gloves: Tourmaster (I think)
Back protector (not shown): Dainese
Helmet (not shown): HJC

It wasn’t until I adopted Frankie, my dog, that I started to use a car more and spent time at the dog park instead of on the twisties (that’s motospeak for curvy roads for you non-riders out there).

My handle (name) on motorcycle forums was vegbiker so I’d like to think I know a thing or two about vegan motorcycle gear. I outfitted myself with head to toe non-leather gear. Safety is paramount so I wore it all, rain or shine, summer or winter. I’ve racked up over 40,000 miles on sportbikes and I’ve been in two accidents (caused by someone else).

I believe non-leather gear is best for a few reasons. Mainly because I don’t want to wear an entire cow. But also because leather is cold in the winter and hot in the summer. It absorbs sweat and other smells. If it gets wet it stinks, and more importantly, it loses its strength after being wet. With cordura, lorica, and kevlar as options, I wouldn’t choose leather. The Cadillac of motorcycle suits, the Aerostitch Roadcrafter is cordura, a non-leather material.

Jackets – Fieldsheer, Joe Rocket, Dainese, Tourmaster, Icon, and similar brands all offer jackets made of cordura, a tough, tear-resistant fabric that helps keep out the rain and wind. The jackets often have zippered flaps to let air through if it gets warm outside, and they usually have removable linings, making them great all-season jackets. There are even mesh summer jackets available that are still strong in a crash. When you buy a jacket, get one with armored elbows and shoulders–and make sure the sleeves are long enough when you reach forward.

Pants – The same companies that make jackets make pants. Again, get a pair with armor. If you buy cordura pants from the same manufacturer as your jacket, you can zip them together at the waist for a snug fit. I always wore riding pants over my jeans because denim will last about five feet on the cement before it rips to shreds. The goal is not to crash, but if you do find yourself sliding across asphalt at 50 miles an hour (as I once did), you’re going to want more between your skin and the road than cotton. Trust me!

Gloves – A lot of gloves are made of leather–but some aren’t. I wore armored gloves with Clarino and Kevlar with carbon fiber knuckles to protect my hands. Even a bug bouncing off your finger will hurt when you’re at highway speeds. You can find warm winter gloves as well as airy summer ones from companies like Spidi, Alpinestars, Aerostitch and Scorpion.

Boots – This might be the toughest category to shop vegan but it’s not impossible. I wore lorica boots by Sidi that kept out the rain and protected my foot. The main things to look for is a boot that is sturdy, covers the ankle, and has a slim toe profile (so you can get your foot under the shifter. Try to get a pair without laces. If yours are lace-up, always tuck the laces into your boots so they don’t get caught on anything. Don’t wear steel-toe boots. They’re usually too bulky to shift smoothly and I’ve heard bad things about how the steel can cut if your boot is bent back (as could happen in a collision).

Helmets, unless the chin strap is leather, are vegan, as was the back protector I always wore under my jacket. Like I said, safety first!

I wore my vegan gear to track days, which is a track environment for race enthusiasts but isn’t an actual race. I’m not sure what the official rules are for races. Tracks might require leather. You could always scour Craigslist and eBay for used gear if you need leather as a track requirement. There are a lot of Rossi-wannabes who quit riding and sell their almost-new gear.

For the 98% of riders who don’t race, the vegan route is completely possible–even for fun on the track. Check out online stores like Motorcycle Superstore and Motosport.com to get started. Your local bike shops probably carry popular brands as well (or can order them).

I always wore all my gear–even on a quick run to the grocery store. The saying, “better sweat than bleed” is true. Motorcycle gear isn’t cheap, but walking away from a crash is priceless.

Vegan purses by Crystalyn Kae

Sometimes when people become vegan, they’re at a loss about their fashion choices. So many shoes and bags are made of leather. I recently wrote about leather shoe alternatives and leather-free purses. But I have to call out one amazing company: Crystalyn Kae.

I met the woman behind the name when I was at Urban Craft Uprising, an alternative craft bazaar, a couple of years ago. I loved that the bags are handmade of sustainable materials. Crystalyn even has an all-vegan collection on her website. These bags are made of wool-free tweed, glazed fabric, and non-leather microsuede. Some of the other bags are made with reclaimed leather and vintage wools. That’s why the entire brand isn’t vegan; none of the leather is sourced new though.

Crystalyn Kae purses

I’m most impressed with the glazed fabric. It’s a leather-look material created by painting rubberized glaze onto fabric. I’ve had my bags for a while now and they show no signs of wear. The glaze doesn’t crack or fade. The black Matinee shoulder bag is my daily purse, and after two years of throwing it around, it’s still photo-worthy! The green Troubadour tote is strong enough for me to lug around my heavy, ancient laptop, and roomy enough for my gym clothes. The clutches are great for evening but are practical too. They easily hold my cell phone, lipstick, keys and wallet. And the wrist strap makes it easy to hold–even when I’m dancing!

Remember that all the bags are designed by Crystalyn and handmade by her in Seattle and New York (Crystalyn recently relocated to NYC). You can buy them on her website or from over 40 boutiques across the country, including one of my favorite vegan stores, Moo Shoes.