18 Vegan Shoe Brands That Are Eco-Friendly and Ethical, to Boot

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25 Responses to “18 Vegan Shoe Brands That Are Eco-Friendly and Ethical, to Boot”

  1. fyodorena says:

    #12, Vegetarian Shoes – the Microfibre materials they use as a substitute for leather are all made from plastic fibers..which come from crude oil (I don’t see any indication that they’re made from recycled bottles either). So, I’m not sure how well they fit into a list of eco-friendly products.. I do love their styles though & the relatively cruelty-free aspect.

  2. fyodorena says:

    Hm well seems the uppers are biodegradable so that’s a big plus..but still not sure about relying on oil for any materials!

  3. Jasmin Malik Chua says:

    @fyodorena There is an argument that quality, long-lasting synthetics are the lesser evil, not only because conventional leather is tanned with toxic heavy metals but also because livestock farming is one of the leading causes of global warming. We’re still a ways from a perfect solution, to be sure, but we’re making strides (pun intended) with environmentally preferable alternatives.

  4. fyodorena says:

    That’s true, tanning is awful..but synthetic fibers made from raw, not recycled, plastic requires such carbon intensity and pollution from oil extraction to refining to international transport and uncertain disposal. Those impacts along with the finiteness of the resource and the support of a very politically tyrannical and socially irresponsible industry make it hard for me to see these shoes as anywhere near eco-friendly. Apologies, I’ve just been doing life cycle analyses on running shoes and it just blows my mind that my shoes are entirely made of oil.
    Well, I guess I’ll wait til we have bioplastic fibers to buy new boots, haha.

  5. Jasmin Malik Chua says:

    A relevant comment from sal over at “14 Eco-Friendly Women’s Boots to Kick Fall Into Gear”, sic (not my own opinion):

    Anything that is made out of plastic, as opposed to animal leather, is not eco-friendly. Plastic is one of the most terrible materials currently existing on our planet. It uses petroleum products throughout its manufacturing process, both for the materials and the energy to produce them, and does not biodegrade when thrown “away.” I think we should start taking this into consideration when talking about enivronmentally-friendly materials. Nearly all “man-made” synthetic materials are petroleum-based. Not eoc-friendly at all, in my opinion.

  6. john-c says:

    Well obviously you are missing a point here, the weakest point of eco-carnivorous-friendly people is… tada!!!!!!

  7. dkd says:

    It’s a good idea to read through the entire article before making conclusions based on what you think you know, rather than what the article actually says. The article says the microfiber in the shoes from Beyond Skin are made from “100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.” In addition, many polyurethane faux leathers (not PVC) now meet strict, certifiable green standards such as the Oeko-Tex Standard 100. You can tan leather with all the vegetables you want, but it is still the skin of a dead animal and livestock farming has been proven to be a major factor in global warming.

  8. fyodorena says:

    Yeah, I totally dig the recycled PET microfibers, but the only company that I was really interested in from this list, Vegetarian Shoes, didn’t indicate that their materials were recycled, so I’m reluctant to include anything possibly made from raw oil on an “eco-friendly” list, even in comparison to tanned leather. I’ll look into the polyurethane leather, thanks!

  9. Bryanna Clark Grogan says:

    Unfortunately, many of us cannot wear high heels or even flats because of foot problems. It’s hard to find vegan “comfort shoes” that are stylish, and we don’t want to live in sandals and sneakers with expensive inserts. I have discovered that Dansko makes a line of Vegan Pro clogs (with backs, and non-slip)– some in beautiful fabrics– and another line called Volley of lighter clogs with canvas or coated canvas uppers (also rain boots). Sanita, which used to make clogs for Dansko, now has their own brand and makes some vegan ones. Arcopedico also makes some vegan shoes, including some nice-looking boots and flats. Both of these brands have supportive footbeds, rocker toes and/or flexible uppers. I’m sure there are more out there.

  10. alealani says:

    another great vegan shoe company run by my cousin:

  11. laughingwithgeek says:

    I feel you on the people with some foot problems cannot wear most of the womens shoes out there an here on this vegan site either. It sucks I am not a granny an do want nice shoes. But because I have injured my feet so many times I now have gasp arthritis in my right foot which makes all my shoes fit wrong on that foot; An hurt it.An big heels are out of the question.

  12. Veganchomps says:

    Ofcourse plastic is recyclable, its just that considering the low price, we ‘d rather dump it somewhere and buy bottoms from oil producers as it is the cheaper/easier way out.

    Leather OTOH is both extremely cruel to animals and also a major contributor to global warming.All you naysayers are so myopic and have dual standards, it is ridiculous.

    I mean, you call it cruelty when whales/dolphins are hunted the way they have been for thousands of years by humans, yet it isn’t cruelty when a cow or any other animal is put down in the most horrendous ways and also made to live like a vegetable with a pulse, just so that you can wear your handbags and shoes? Sounds like hypocracy to me.

    Plastics are cruelty free and recyclable.Whats not to like?

  13. hogan says:

    Are these really eco-friendly?

  14. atasteoflight says:

    Being a shoe junkie, I am delighted to see more vegan choices. I have contacted TOMS several times about making a vegan inner sole available on all their styles. (Their vegan collection is very limited.) They said they haven’t had enough demand for that. If many of us write to them, maybe they will consider it. You can contact TOMS Customer Service at support@toms.com.

  15. kathrynb says:

    @Bryanna: I’m with you on needing shoes that are neither high heels nor flats. I have several pairs (okay, about a dozen!) of Dansko Vegan Pros (even my students–college students—have commented on thinking they’re cool and liking them) and a few Arcopedico.

  16. sootica says:

    Biodegradable plastic is not safe for the environment – it just breaks down much smaller…still harmful to the food chain.

  17. barb says:

    I don’t care what there made of as long as no animal was tortured

  18. jrobertson (@veganlinecom) says:

    I’m on the side of Jasmin Malik Chua’s first point (not 2nd), veganchomps and barb – but there are so many angles that different people come from, I doubt anyone will want to exchange facts with me! For the curious, sites like Peta, the Vegan Society, and the lond UN report “Livestock’s Long Shadow” have a lot of info. There are also the problems of where shoes are made: the best countries seem to have the fewest shoe factories left.

    @Bryanna Clark Grogan thanks for the info!
    The first market for cushion-sole boots including DM Solovair and Tredair was for people who wanted a supportive footbed. The classic 8 eyelet ankle boot is also very comfortable worn slightly loose on a range of foot shapes. Softest soles are probably Tredair, who’s vegan versions are sold by http://veganline.com The also have an elastic-top Mary Jane shoe on their site. Hope this helps someone.

  19. akbret kidane says:

    I like the idea on trying to use biodegradable and being vegan. I am looking forward to get to order some and may even encourage some others. I hope Tom carries made in US.

  20. breezy says:

    I think the general abuse of animals in society is appalling and that people see it as appropriate to actually wear their skins as clothing or shoes, when there are so many alternatives available seems pretty bizarre.
    Saying that, I think there are big issues with the majority of vegan shoes out there, espescially those using ‘nano-‘ and ‘micro-‘ scale particles to make synthetic leathers etc. and If you’re trying to avoid animal products why would you buy a shoe that looks like its made from them? The size of the materials used is an issue because they are still relatively unknown in their effects on the environment as they breakdown, and what’s more some have been proven to not break down in the usual ways, and pollute waterways and aquatic life. So the question is – are vegan shoes REALLY vegan, if they’re harming aqua environments and the environment in general and hence animals too?

    There used to be an up and coming market in hemp and durable cotton shoes with recycled rubber soles etc. Although perhaps not as waterproof or durable they certainly appear more ethical. Perhaps those with vegan leanings should be requesting those sorts of products from manufacturers rather than looking for the next ‘super-shoe’? Its hard for me to say, but an ethically sourced and made shoe made from leather and recycled plastic might even be more ethical and environmentally friendly (and even animal friendly?) than a lot of apparently ‘vegan’ shoes out there. but, uh, the idea of wearing animal skin!

    or just go barefoot!

  21. miles says:

    Hello, I find it hard to find the manufactures itself. Is there a way to find this information somewhere?
    Thank you!
    – Miles

  22. breezy says:

    I think just search for the actual material name online. If that’s what you want or ask the shoe company. might not be that fruitful. I think its good to know where the things you buy come from and how they’re made.

  23. MFinCanada says:

    Just throwing this out there, but new science shows us quite persuasively that plants, like animals, have life drives, preferences, and strategies for survival, and that they respond adversely to threats on their lives. Aren’t we moving past the idea that animals are uniquely capable of feeling and of wanting to remain alive? Doesn’t this fall into an increasingly debunked notion that centralized intelligence (brains) is more worthy of our consideration than distributed intelligence (neural networks etc., including plants, fungi, sea creatures without brains, etc.) I think the questions asked of us are much, much deeper than do we kill or not. Of course we kill, and of course the living things we kill don’t want to be killed. If killing is intrinsically cruel (a favourite word in these comments), then we are all cruel unless we eat only fruit and live either naked or on a steady diet of plastic clothes that will hang around forever and a day, messing with the ecosystem in all kinds of insidious ways that are being newly discovered every day. This relocates the ethical demands and takes from any of us (except, perhaps, for fruitarians) the cruelty-free high horse. It means we have to go about figuring it out in full humility. Whew! And to think I only came to this site to check out eco-friendly shoe options!

  24. breezy says:

    I think it comes down to what you feel is right, when you get through all the intellectual reasoning and arguments, MFin. You have to find a way. and if your on this site presumably you’re interested in more compassionate ways?

    Certainly its been shown plants have a sensory/sentient response. I don;t doubt it at all, but a couple of things to note – some plants edible are annual i.e. only live for a year/season anyway. Also you don’t necessarily need to kill a plant to eat it (picking leaves etc). Thirdly its been shown in studies that (the plants studied anyway) thrive on being thinned out/picked – its something native peoples have know intuitivitely anyway. You collect only so much in a certain area and the rest thrive. So perhaps with your position regarding distribution of sentience, you might see a group of carrot plants or lettuces for example as part of a bigger whole, so digging some up is like cutting the grass or something, it doesn’t destroy the lawn unless you’re doing it in a really destructive way, and it gives other plants more space too – so the collective carrot plant thrives. and if you’ve planted the seeds and cultivated them yourself, you’ve put a lot of tiem and effort into the process yourself, and caused a seed to bear fruit. Then if you collect your own seeds from the plant too you might sow many more!
    I think thats a world away from rearing animals to be exploited.

    interesting topic anyway.

  25. janet1985 says:

    I walked into this place for the first time today. But when I saw some of the shoe designs, it made me think for some moments. words just can’t describe how much you are appreciated. you are doing a great work

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