It may be surprising to find out that footwear is not always vegan. Avoiding leather is not the only factor to take into consideration when vegan shoes shopping. Understanding leather products, suede, symbols, wool, fur, and glue is essential to shopping cruelty-free. This article will help you make vegan-friendly choices in the shoe department.
Leather is expensive, so many companies may mix leather with other non-leather materials to add “value” to their footwear. For example, a pair of boots may have a leather upper while the rest of the shoe is made from synthetic materials. This tactic is not always obvious because the leather doesn’t necessarily pop out at first glance.
It is important to check the tags on potential vegan shoes before purchasing them. There should be a tag inside the shoes with various symbols identifying the materials. It would be beneficial to research what the symbols look like and what they stand for. Unfortunately, shoe companies do not always put the necessary information on their products.
This is not meant to discourage you, but rather encourage you to be thorough. There are plenty of vegan-friendly shoe options in the market, it just takes a bit more time and effort to find them!
Suede can be tricky because it is a leather product, but it doesn’t look like typical leather. It has a soft and velvety feel. Suede, much like leather, can be made from animal skin or it can be synthetic. A lot of the time, you will find that suede is fake. Keep your eyes peeled and don’t give up on finding a vegan-friendly alternative!
Glue may be the trickiest to navigate. Glue can be made from animal by-products or it can be made vegan. This information is never listed on footwear packaging. It is common for glue in footwear to be made vegan, but it’s just as possible that it won’t be a vegan shoe.
For this information, shoppers must contact the company in question, or do a quick google search and see if anybody else has contacted the company and posted the information online.
Wool, Fur, and Sheepskin
Wool and fur are not typically found in average shoe stores. However, it’s still something to look out for. Wool can be mixed with other synthetic fibres to create a blended fabric. This fabric mixture is essentially the same idea as partial leather. If a pair of potential shoes seem to have woolly-soft fabric, double-check the materials before purchasing. The fur is sometimes used to line the insides of fall and winter footwear.
Similarly, sheepskin can be used in creating cold-weather footwear. The popular brand UGG uses sheepskin and wool to create their line of winter boots, slippers, moccasins, and so on. There are plenty of fashionable and comfortable vegan alternatives, it just takes a bit more time and effort to find the right ones for you.
Finding vegan footwear may seem like a daunting task, but it is very rewarding! Some companies post a list of their vegan options for their costumer’s convenience. A couple of examples are Sanuk, Toms, MEC and Doc Martens. Of course, there is always the option to buy footwear from an all-vegan shoe company. This may be the quickest and easiest option if you want to avoid all the hassle. Below is a list of companies and online stores that sell 100% vegan footwear.
We hope this article helped you in your search for vegan footwear. If you have any additional suggestions or recommendations please let us know in the comments!