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