Living a vegan lifestyle is more than just eating differently. It’s a greater commitment all life, no matter what form it takes. And this means that you need to take stock of the things you wear just as much as you do the things you eat.
Why Buy Vegan Shoes?
Not only is traditional leather unethical from a vegan standpoint, but cow leather production is also incredibly harmful to the environment. And polymer coatings rely on unsustainable fossil fuels. This is what has made plant-based leather such a revolution in the vegan fashion industry.
In recent years, several major companies have developed faux leather that uses a variety of cruelty-free ingredients such as pineapple leaves and coconut waste. These have major advantages over traditional leather and polymer-based solutions. Finally, there are options that are environmentally friendly and ethically sourced as well as fashion-forward.
So, what are the vegan shoe brands available to you? Let’s take a look at a few of the major players.
Vegan Shoes for Men and Women in 2021
1. NO SAINTS
No Saints is a hip, modern sneaker manufacturer that specializes in creating stylish shoes that are completely vegan and animal leather-free. Their commitment to sustainability stems from their ethical concerns about animal cruelty and the dangers of the tanning process. They consider the leather industry to be one of the “most polluting in the world.”
They produce their casual footwear from a range of cruelty-free materials such as Apple leather, pineapple leather, recycled polyester, and others. And every shoe is handcrafted by skilled shoemakers in Portugal (who all receive fair wages and enjoy safe working conditions). If you’d like to see the process they used to create their shoes, there are pictures that detail is available on their website.
If you’re looking for vegan shoe brands and have a style in mind, there are very few options, better than No Saints.
2. BY BLANCH
By BLANCH began in 2015 as a French vegan shoe brand for women. Since then, they focused on creating high-quality footwear that’s beautiful and comfortable. One of the things that makes them unique is their commitment to producing on-demand products in order to reduce waste.
They do this by offering preorders so that they can get a solid understanding of how many shoes they actually need rather than creating thousands of pairs that wind up in landfills. In addition, their pre-ordering system allows them to sell directly to consumers, lowering prices and cutting out the middleman. This is better for everyone involved, from the consumer to the people making the shoes.
And all of their shoes are produced in Spain with eco-certified artificial leather. BY BLANCH offers many different styles, from casual to formal and heels to flats.
Etiko is a decade-old family-owned and operated footwear and sportswear business that’s dedicated to producing high-quality, ethical, vegan products for concerned consumers. They were the first fashion brand in the southern hemisphere to become fair trade certified. And they’ve set the bar for shoe companies around the world to attain higher standards of sustainability and environmental friendliness.
And they’re not just vegan, they have the USDA’s organic certification on all the cotton they use in their shoes. In addition, they have several certifications for their factories in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and India, ensuring everyone who contributes to the production of their products is compensated fairly and has a safe place to work.
Etiko offers a full range of men’s, women’s, and children’s sneakers, as well as thong shoes, T-shirts, and more. And when you purchase from them, you can be confident that every product has been made with its environmental impact in mind.
4. BEYOND SKIN
Concerns about the ethical production of leather as well as the environmental impact (especially where it touches on the scarcity of clean water) have driven Beyond Skin to become one of the leading vegan shoe brands in the industry. Their shoes have won numerous awards and have been worn by A-list celebrities to the Oscars and the Golden globes. They’ve also been featured in magazines such as ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, and more.
They exclusively use more eco-friendly materials like synthetic leather, recycled cardboard, and polyesters. And they’ve been able to create a wide variety of styles, from boots and pumps to bridal shoes.
5. Matt & Nat
Matt & Nat are forever committed to not using leather or any other animal-based materials in our designs.
This brand is inspired by MAT(T)erial and NATure and exploring the synergy between the two.
At MATT & NAT, they live by a simple motto, “Live beautifully”. Living beautifully means appreciating the humanity, creativity and positivity found in all of us. Our values include social responsibility, excellence, inclusiveness, integrity, learning, authenticity and, of course, love. We are inspired by the textures and hues of nature and, to better protect it, we aim to constantly better our ways.
Members of Giving Assistant can earn 10% cash back from their Matt & Nat purchase and donate to a sustainable nonprofit!
Why Cruelty Free Shoes?
The ubiquity of animal byproducts largely goes unnoticed by the general public. We use leather for bags, for jackets, and for our shoes. And most people take it for granted. But when you have a commitment to live in harmony with the world, that’s no longer an option. Instead, you must think ethically about the purchases that you make, whether it’s the jacket you’re going to wear to dinner or what kind of shoes you’re going to put on.
Just 15 years ago, finding shoes that were completely vegan would’ve been a major challenge. But the move toward greater sustainability and environmental friendliness, as well as ethical concerns over the treatment of animals, has made this endeavor much easier today.
And speaking of shoes, they’re one of the most important sectors in the vegan fashion industry. In fact, some research has shown that they account for 73% of vegan fashion purchases.
People with ethical concerns about the use of animal byproducts as well as the impact that the shoe industry has on the environment and finally find products that give them peace of mind. And though we’ve offered a look at four of the major players in the industry, there are dozens of others out there. And more are starting each and every year.
If you’ve committed to eating vegan, it’s time to go the whole way and commit to living the vegan lifestyle 100% – right down to the shoes on your feet and the shoelaces keeping them tight.
Tips for Buying Vegan Shoes
Buying cruelty free can feel good but it also can be confusing! Here are some materials you should look for when purchasing your next vegan shoes. As well as some materials that are not considered cruelty-free. Peta has an in-depth guide for buying vegan shoes especially for those brands who don’t explicitly say that they are vegan or cruelty free.
According to Peta, these are the materials that are vegan:
Down alternative (or synthetic down)
And these are the materials you should stay away from:
Knowing what materials to look for and to stay away from will help empower you to make smarter and ethical buying decisions.