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Vegan Shoes: false myths

Vegan shoes are stiff.

Vegan shoes are ugly.

Vegan shoes are made from plastic and hence they’re not environmentally friendly.

Vegan shoes? If they’re not made from leather, they ought to cost less!

Only vegans wear vegan shoes.

How many times have we heard these claims… about as many times as we’ve found ourselves responding to these false myths surrounding vegan shoes, offering up our experience and the facts to show that, actually, they can be super soft, beautiful, plastic-free; that they’re crafted with care and priced accordingly; that anyone can wear them, even non-vegans because they show care for the environment as well as for animals.

We should all recognize it as our duty to ask, learn and gain knowledge in order to have a basis on which to make conscious choices, but it’s important to do so without demonizing anyone, especially without bandying about false information founded on clichés.

Rather than say what vegan shoes aren’t, however, perhaps it would be better to say what vegan shoes are.

What are vegan shoes made from?

Vegan shoes are shoes made without using animal-derived materials. No leather, hides, suede, fur, wool or silk is used in their construction. Vegan shoes are cruelty-free.

Even adhesives and dyes have to be in line with this philosophy. No material used to create the shoe must come from an animal.

There’s a general misconception that only leather can make a shoe soft, comfortable and good looking. This isn’t the case. There are plenty of top-quality alternative materials that come straight from nature, such as hemp, which is commonly used for sneakers and other such models.

But there are also wood, rubber, recycled and recyclable materials that are great for minimizing our environmental impact. Not to mention countless innovative materials made from things like wine, pineapple, mushrooms, milk, citrus fruit, and a truly incredible array of other materials developed following years of specific research that, in addition to delivering on the aesthetic front, are also comfortable for feet. We, for example, use apple waste.

Even the adhesives used are water-based and, where possible, their use is avoided altogether in favor of stitching.

So not just kind to animals and the environment, but beautiful to look at, too

Boots, sneakers, 12cm heels. There are so many more options out there today for you to find the model that suits your foot and your look. Having gone all out to create shoes that are good for the environment, companies have now appreciated the importance of not overlooking the beauty side of footwear. There’s something for everyone: whether you’re looking for a comfortable everyday shoe or for a refined, elegant item of footwear.

The world of vegan shoes is not a closed niche just for people who’ve chosen a vegan lifestyle: while this might have been the case initially – with specialist brands targeting vegans exclusively – things are changing, and even communication has become more inclusive and open.

Are all vegan shoes environmentally sustainable?

No, not all vegan shoes are also sustainable and “environmentally friendly”, but many are. While imitation leather or plastic shoes are vegan, they have an impact on the environment.

Companies specializing in this sector don’t choose to go cruelty-free just to then turn around and pollute rivers and oceans with dyes and plastics: they instead strive to make the whole manufacturing process as clean as possible. 

Is it easy? No, and it’s not cheap either, but it’s a choice that we can’t and indeed mustn’t ignore. It’s important to be aware of what’s happening given that we also share in the responsibility when choosing one brand over another.

Unfortunately, at this moment in history, it’s impossible to produce anything without generating a negative impact on the environment, which is exactly why we need to support and encourage people looking for an alternative despite all the restrictions we face.

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