A Complete Guide To Vegan Shoes
by Footwear Experts
Veganism and vegan fashion are currently exploding in popularity as they transcend from a once niche lifestyle choice to one of the fastest-growing movements in the world. In the UK alone, the number of vegans increased by almost half a million over the past year and this growth is showing no signs of slowing down. This approach to the consumption of mainly food and fashion is being tested by many as they become more conscious of the effects their existing lifestyle has on the environment. With a focus on vegan shoes, we have used our decades of knowledge & experience working in the footwear industry to create this complete guide. Throughout this guide we will discuss:
- The materials used to make vegan shoes – what to look for and what to avoid.
- How to tell shoes are vegan
- The best vegan brands and styles currently available
What Materials Are Vegan Shoes Made From?
Some footwear is clearly not suitable for vegetarians and vegans with the use of leathers, suede and nubuck for the uppers, soles and lining. However, many footwear companies also use animal-based glues in the assembly of their footwear. The essential thing is that to be vegan they must not be derived from any animal products. Here are a few vegan-friendly materials to look out for:
- Polyurethane (PU)
- Other Natural Rubbers
Vegan Leather – Advantages/Disadvantages
- Materials used often cost left = less expensive shoes for customers
- Man-made shoes do not have pores like leather so less likely to let in water
- Man-made materials are getting more technologically advanced and look just as good if not better than leather
- Not as attractive as leather – you cannot polish them
- Often involves an extensive chemical process to create the materials required
- Not as breathable and therefore hygienic as leather
- Does ‘give’ as much as leather but does not have the same elasticity properties
Is Suede Vegan?
No, suede is a leather product. Instead of taking the topside of the animal hide, suede comes from the underneath or reverse side which gives it a different look and texture. You do however get imitation suedes which can be vegan friendly and are usually made from microfibres.
Are Vegan Shoes Sustainable?
Although vegan shoes are made from materials that are animal and cruelty-free, this commonly results in plastic being the primary material used. These plastics can typically take countless years to fully biodegrade, so there’s a strong argument that vegan shoes aren’t sustainable at all.
Do Vegan Shoes Last?
There isn’t any reason why vegan shoes shouldn’t last a decent amount of time, providing they are of good quality and have been well looked after and maintained regularly with appropriate shoe care. This is the same as non-vegan leather footwear, the key is some regular TLC.
How To Tell What Shoes Are Vegan
Identifying what shoes are vegan is not always very easy! Obviously, a shoe that has any leather components will not be suitable. Look out for the sticker on the shoes showing what materials are used. This is a good starting point.
However, even though shoes can be made exclusively from man-made materials, they are not always guaranteed to be vegan. This is because often the glues and dyes used derive from animal products. As veganism becomes increasingly popular, brands are now being clearer when letting customers know what styles are vegan. They usually do this by stating it on the box or attaching a swing tag so they can be identified easily.
Our Recommended Vegan Brands
At Begg Shoes, we have created a collection of vegan shoes that don’t sacrifice on the comfort and style you expect. Brands that heavily feature include Skechers, Rieker, Toni Pons and Remonte. Although these brands don’t only produce vegan footwear and boast a huge range of non-vegan products, they have quickly established themselves as leaders in the field and put careful consideration into the construction of their shoes.
Well known for their sporty trainers and more, Skechers also offer a selection of Vegan styles. By expanding their Vegan range, Skechers have ensured that everyone can wear their iconic styles including the ever-popular Arch Fit designs.
Inspired by their home in the Mediterranean, Toni Pons offers stunning espadrilles with vibrant canvas uppers fused with the braided hessian sole units. These canvas uppers use non-animal based glue to ensure this summer essential is suitable for vegans.
Rieker Shoes are one of our biggest brands due to their combination of style, comfort and value. All of our Rieker shoes with man-made uppers are vegan-friendly. Whilst some have leather uppers, the glue used in their man-made shoes is suitable for Vegans.
Sister company to Rieker Shoes, Remonte Shoes offer stylish designs that have the same comfort qualities with a younger audience. Any Remonte styles made with man-made uppers are vegan-friendly. Whilst some Remonte shoes have leather uppers, the glue used in their man-made shoes is suitable for Vegans.
Viva Sport insoles
We also stock Pedag’s Viva Sport insoles. Designed for sports, these vegan insoles blend a squishy foam upper with a contoured supportive heel and arch support. This cushions the metatarsal pad and offers shock absorption under the heel for ultimate comfort. They are so popular that much that many of our shop staff use them for work.
Vegan footwear is here to stay. Innovation in material development will continue to go from strength to strength. And the popularity of veganism will continue to grow, creating a new market for new and existing brands to sell products to.