Written by: Liis Hainla
When looking for quality vegan shoes, it is easy to fall victim to the good old greenwashing.
While wanting the best for the environment and animals, you can still end up with substandard shoes that were lucky to have a good copywriter.
So what are the things to look for in vegan shoes? Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you find the best quality pair out there.
Though vegan leather is more sustainable than real leather, not all vegan materials are created equal. When possible, prefer vegan shoes made from plant-based materials or eco-friendly synthetics.
Once popular PVC leather is now considered quite toxic, and modern designers know better to avoid it. To minimize your footprint (pun intended), go with eco-friendly PU leather or recycled polyester instead.
As for natural materials, organic cotton, hemp, and cork are great sustainable options. Some vegan shoe brands even take a step further to source their cotton only from areas that do not endanger the local animal habitat.
Shoe producers are required to mark the entire material composition of the shoes. The producers are not, however, required to specify what kind of shoe glue and dye they are using. Some glues are still made from connective tissues from pigs and other animals.
To make sure your shoes are 100% vegan, look for brands that have a certified PETA vegan label. The label ensures that no sneaky animal ingredient can be found in your shoes and that no animal was harmed in the shoemaking process.
Animal exploitation sucks but so does modern slavery. Fast fashion has contributed enormously to the social injustices of this world by using the cheapest labor possible. Even some vegan companies are guilty of supporting the same toxic system.
Luckily, a great number of vegan shoe brands are sacrificing their profits to offer fair pay and safe conditions to their employees. Supporting local craftsmanship and artisanal shoemaking is also becoming more popular. In turn, everyone is happier and your shoes are of a better quality.
Factory workers holding the “I made your shoes“ signs can be quite corny. But be worried if the company is silent about their working conditions altogether.
The supply chain tells you everything you need to know about the company. Carbon neutral production and circular management are not just buzz words anymore. They are the future of footwear.
Brands like Will’s Vegan Store are doing a bang-up job in minimizing their carbon footprint at every step of the way. Their supply chain and production methods are laid out on their website for everyone to see.
So we recommend you to value transparency and do your research. The more information you can find about the brand, the more ethical they usually are.
To be a conscious shopper, you need to forget about what’s hot right now. Shop for vegan shoes in the most timeless design that you can wear with everything. Prefer neutral colors like black and nude, and combine them with clean, classic silhouettes.
In a world of capsule wardrobes, trendiness is so yesterday. Aim for quality vegan shoes you can enjoy for years to come.
About the author
Liis Hainla is the founder of vegan shoe blog Top Vegan Shoes. Having gone through the process of building her own shoe brand, she now enjoys giving the spotlight to other ethical vegan footwear companies out there.