Based in Brighton in the United Kingdom, Beyond Skin creates its faux-suede footwear using a microfiber called Dinamica, which is made in Italy from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.
Bourgeois Boheme began as an online marketplace and retail showroom in London’s Notting Hill district, but the vegan enclave soon expanded to create its own wares from handpicked, non-exploitative factories that oppose child labor.
CRI DE COEUR
Founded by Parsons The New School of Design graduates Gina Ferraraccio and Julie Dicterow, Cri de Coeur clads its kicks in premium, cruelty-free materials such as low-VOC polyurethane, 100 percent recycled Ultrasuede (derived from post-industrial polyester), and reclaimed wooden soles.
FORM & FAUNA
Form & Fauna handcrafts its critter-friendly shoes in the United States from biodegradable Italian synthetic leathers, organic cotton and hemp fabrics, and second-generation scrap wood for its heels, wedges, and platforms. Water-based glues cobble everything together, while an open cell-rubber lining adds comfort and durability.
Designed in Italy and fairly handmade in small, family-owned factories across Europe, Kailia’s vegan boots, pumps, and flats abide by strict environmental standards, including the eschewal of toxic polyvinyl chloride and a preference for vegetable-dyed organic linen and cotton linings, pre-consumer recycled footboards, and water-based glues.
Designed to provide infinite interchangeable options, Mohop’s American-crafted sandals feature sustainably harvested cherrywood from Pennsylvania, black soles derived from natural rubber and rice husks, and padded footbeds made from faux leather.
Produced in a green, union-run facility in Brazil that runs on hydroelectricity and recycles its waste, Neuaura’s eco-conscious shoes are completely devoid of fur, leather, silk, or wool. Plus, the company donates a portion of its annual sales to charities that work to improve animal welfare and the environment, including the Wildlife Conservation Society for 2011.
Noharm bears the stamp of approval from no less than Britain’s Vegan Society, along with an ethos that opposes child labour and worker exploitation. Its dapper men’s oxfords, loafers, and boots are ethically handcrafted in Italy, where they’re packaged in biodegradable boxes printed with environmentally friendly inks.
Novacas—named for the Spanish and Portuguese word for “no cow”—manufactures its vegan, PVC-free men’s and women’s shoes in worker-friendly factories in Portugal that align with European Union labor standards. It uses nontoxic, 100 percent biodegradable uppers whenever the opportunity presents itself, along with high-quality synthetics that stretch, breathe, and wear just like the genuine article.
In addition to nontoxic, environmentally preferable synthetics—including a microfiber derived from recycled televisions—Olsenhaus plies its wares with sustainable materials such as organic cotton, linen, and cork. All its shoes are fairly handmade in Central America, where production is kept as local as possible to minimize its footprint.
ELIZABETH’S KIND CAFE
Handmade in the United States, derived from recycled plastic bottles, and completely animal-free, Elizabeth Katzman’s nascent shoe line is a triple threat to reckon with. Bonus: a portion of every sale benefits People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and 1% for the Planet.
It all started with a simple lace-up shoe, but Vegetarian Shoes has come a long way since 1990. Two decades later, its extensive range of men’s and women’s styles are made to order in factories across the United Kingdom and Europe, including England’s oldest co-op, which was first established in 1881.
ZOE & ZAC
From the unlikely quarters of Payless ShoeSource comes an affordable line of green footwear derived from faux leathers, organic cotton, linen, natural hemp, recycled rubber, and water-based glues. Zoe & Zac is a collaboration between the footwear giant and model-entrepreneur Summer Rayne Oakes, who lends her unerring eye to the ongoing collection.
Perfect for vegan brides and bridesmaids, Olanthe’s matrimonially minded satin flats and heels hail from the south of France, where they’re crafted in a family-owned factory that has been making shoes for 100 years.
Macbeth isn’t exclusively vegan, but its range of cruelty-free sneakers and hi-tops is so extensive that we would be remiss if we left it out. Although the shoemaker manufactures overseas, Macbeth only works with factories that abide by strict labor laws relating to minimum age, wage and overtime regulations, employee housing, and workplace safety.
An animal-friendly shoe and clothing company based in Los Angeles, Keep uses a third-party auditor to ensure ethical working conditions in its factories in China, Brazil, and Vietnam. “A Keep team member is on the line for every single production,” it says.
Not only is every pair of Freerangers handmade to order in the United Kingdom, but it also bears the Vegan Society insignia as a guarantee of excellence. Your purchase also includes a full refurbishing service, so your clodhoppers stay in tip-top shape for years to come.