the joy of shoes

Great vegan shoes, but not too practical: not so much the sky-high heels as the being made of chocolate. Xoxolat, Vancouver

Shoes are great. They protect the soles of your feet from broken glass, gravel, mud, ice, hot melting tarmac, and water-dwelling parasites. And the whole of your feet from cold, wet, and in extreme cases, chemical spills and other industrial hazards. Steel-capped toes another plus.

Yes, they can look nice too. And maybe even make your feet look nicer.

And there’s ever-increasing quantities of good vegetarian and vegan ones around. Here’s a selection, and a few links to blogs that I’ve found to be helpful and informative (and in some cases drool-worthy). 

NEXT UP after this post, in the next post, that is:

  • Nice things to do to feet to make them happy…

SOME BRANDS

Some are all-vegan, some are all-vegetarian, and some have some shoes that are vegetarian or vegan. Brands that are all vegetarian or vegan (check for specifics, depending on where you draw the line) are in bold. UPDATE: done some hyper-linkage-ing all round…

Some of the brands below may actually be vegetarian or vegan, but I haven’t checked because they’re not really my thing (ex. Crocs); do let me know which of the non-bold ones should properly be emboldened (and if you have no shame in, say, loving Crocs; each to their own…).

There are more. Many more. Ever more. And please do feel free to add more to the list c/o comments, I’ll update it as needed!

  • Acorn
    slippers, too
  • Arcopedico:
    some vegan shoes, good if your workplace requires their sort of thing (not my thing)
  • Asics:
    many of their trainers/sneakers are vegan
  • Beyond Skin:
    chic
  • Big Buddha (c/o Steve Madden):
    some serious funky joy; possibly perhaps now defunct
  • BOGS:
    great waterproof insulated boots
  • Bourgeois Boheme:
    chic and gorgeous
  • Brave Gentleman:
    does what it says on the tin, elegantly
  • Chaco:
    classic waterproof adjustable sandals
  • Chinese Laundry:
    flats especially
  • Chipkos:
    never seen in person; flip-flops / thongs. Not my thing.
  • Converse:
    classic basketball-to-skat-to-street shoes, sneakers, etc. A design classic. Most are at least vegetarian, and there’s been a lot of vegan bloggers checking with the company re. glue and suchlike
  • Cri de Cœur:
    gorgeousness
  • Crocs
    (urgh)
  • Dansko:
    have a range of vegan clogs
  • Doc Martens:
    their vegan 8-eyelet boot went away for a while, been back for a while (but no longer made in England, and quality has gone down: see Veganline and Vegetarian Shoes for alternatives)
  • Earth
    (now called Kalsø Earth Shoes, and most of the new designs are unfortunately minging):
    still do some vegan shoes, the most interesting of which is probably the Elite and Pride boots, plus otherwise some kinda granny shoes (though my grannies were way to stylish to have been seen dead in them)
  • Elizabeth Detroit
  • Ethletic (UK):
    vegan, eco-friendly, fair-trade; great Converse-style low-and high-tops
  • Etnies
    offer a lot of vegan shoes of the classic skate-shoe variety
  • Fluevog:
    have been doing more and more vegan shoes every year (go local Van!)
  • Forever 21:
    as with many another cheap & cheerful shop, most of the shoes aren’t leather (but check re. glue and manufacturing ethics)
  • Form & Fauna
  • Freerangers
  • Greenshoes
    gorgeous glorious magnificent beautiful heart-breakingly desirable hand-made shoes, all of which are available in vegan or non-vegan versions. A very “equal opportunity” company.
  • Hearts of Darkness (by Cri de Cœur):
    lovely
  • H & M:
    same goes as for Forever 21
  • Hunter boots:
    paradoxically, vegan; a paradox and an irony given that their original purpose and main use (off the trendier streets of Vancouver and suchlike) is for hunting, shooting, fishing…
  • J-41:
    solid sandals, all the ones I’ve seen are vegan, but do check: we don’t have any B&M stores selling them here, or anywhere else I’ve been recently, so I’ve not tried them on in/on the flesh. Would be interesetd in more info on these…
  • Keds:
    same degree of classicitiy as Converse and Vans; mainly vegan I think, if not all?
  • Keen:
    a lot of vegan ones, inc. the classic waterproof sport sandas
  • Keep:
    only seen online, never in person; some good-looking shoes here, of the skate-to-street sort
  • MacBeth:
    good canvas stree/skate shoe type footwear, plus more
  • Madden Girl (Steve Madden):
    if you like heels, look here!
  • Marks & Spencer (UK):
    many of their shoes are vegan; wide range of styles
  • Melissa
    (inc Vivienne Westwood collaboration)
  • Merrell:
    most of their barefoot range is vegan, some of their sandals; most of their amazing warm winter boots aren’t, alas
  • Mohop:
    lovely sandals, soles plus interchangeable ribbons to wrap round our feet andn/or ankles in various ways, providing you with a large number of pairs of sandals; see also their shop on Etsy
  • Native:
    gO Canada! More aesthetically-pleasing than Crocs, and some neat short boots for the coming season
  • Neuaura:
    all vegan, much is work-appropriate for more conservative workplaces… but look carefully, there’s always a few nice pieces lurking there too
  • New Balance:
    many of their trainers/sneakers are vegan
  • NOHARM: men’s
  • Novacas:
    all-vegan, and some serious stylishness going on. Can usualy be relied on to provide some sex-on-legs boots (made for walking, etc.) for the fall to winter.
  • Olsen Haus
  • OSPOP:
    think the Platonic form of the canvas laceup shoe, add a touch of Palladium or Keen to the styling (re. the toe-caps), and add in ethically proudly made in China for what to many consumers may be an unexpected twist…
  • Palladium:
    classic canvas stree/skate shoe, those boots with the rubber toe-cap
  • Patagonia:
    some vegan ones; all have style
  • Sanuk:
    hippy hemp stuff, beach classics
  • Saucony:
    most of their trainers/sneakers are vegan
  • Schuh (UK):
    many of their own-brand shoes are vegan, plus other stocked in the store
  • Skechers:
    many are vegan
  • Stella McCartney:
    high vegan style, plus collaborations with other shoe-makers
  • Teva:
    another classic sport sandal, some less sporty but all with a minimalist simplicity of line; some are leather, but most aren’t and indeed classify as vegan. Also, they last forever (9 years on my current pair).
  • Toms:
    classic slip-on espadrillish shoes, some are leather and most have leather insoles, but there’s also a fair number of vegan ones
  • Topshop:
    same goes as for Forever 21
    ***principal purveyors of jelly shoes to the masses!!!***: HUEY2, the classic “fisherman” jelly sandals; HELLO strappy jellies 
  • Tretorn:
    most are vegan (and all the wellies / rain-boots / gumboots), better-made and cheaper than Hunter boots, many colours and patterns including a fabulous bright yellow; really good short boots
  • Urban Outfitters:
    same goes as for Forever 21
  • Vans:
    the classic canvas stree/skate shoe; a few now have leather, but not the old skool greats (some have been on the books for a good 20 years)
  • Veganline (UK):
    ethically-made as well as vegan; some are their own, some are made by others. Good source for classic shapes of shoe, ex. like DM boots, Palladium high-tops; plus workplace court shoes and suchlike
  • Vegetarian Shoes (UK):
    great shoes, plain and simple; mostly classic shapes and stles, like the 8-eyelet boot and other Air Sole sorts of things, plus shoes appropriate for a conservative workplace. Highly recommended.

And there’s also quite a lot of veg trainers / sneakers from Adidas, Airwalk, Nike, Reebok, Superga and a bunch of others I’ve not tried (or not recently), or not seen.

Caveat emptor: On many of the above, especially larger stores (but less so better places like M&S): watch out for the human rights side too, and how well-made shoes are. It’s a waste of money to buy something that’ll fall apart when you’ve worn it twice. It’s also an environmental waste, and a waste of labour, transport and warehousing costs, and everything else along the way.

RIP:

  • Simple: hopefully just for the moment and not for ever
  • Birkenstock, Birkis, Tatami, Papillio, etc.: are stopping or have stopped making vegan shoes; worth looking around to se if you can find some (or even just their compromise shoes, with Birkiflor synthetic uppers but leather footbeds) online

SOME SHOPS

SOME EXCELLENT SHOE-BLOGS

WHAT I’M WEARING CURRENTLY: FALL—WINTER—EARLY SPRING

  • Vegetarian Shoes Chelsea boot
  • Vegetarian Shoes Boulder classic 8-eyelet boot; these and the Chelsea boot (and others in their Airseal lot) are made in England: think the quality and craftsmanship of vegan DMs of 20 years ago, and then up it a notch. Great shoes.
  • Ilse Jacobsen boots, various pairs (vegetarian but not vegan)
  • Earth Shoes Elite shiny zip-up knee-length boots (fab)
  • Merrell Pace Glove barefoot running shoes, also for gym
  • (not vegan) old Keen light hiking boots, mainly fabric but some leather: wearing these till they’re done
  • Vegetarian Shoes Ally: “nice” more girly shoes, though still flat and functional i.e. I could walk several miles, say for an hour or so non-stop, and sprint 100 m in them
  • and (somewhere???) an old pair of vegan Earth Solar mary-janes

SUMMER THROUGH EARLY FALL

  • (not vegan) old Keen light hiking boots, mainly fabric but some leather: wearing these till they’re done
  • Patagonia Advocate slip-ons: old, super thin and light
  • (non-veggie) old Birkenstocks: vegan upper but leather footbed; I’ve had them for years and am wearing them until they die, resoling them every year or two
  • Keen Whisper waterproof sandals
  • antique indestructible Teva sandals
  • for when I need to wear closed-toe shoes: Vegetarian Shoes Ally

OBJECTS OF LUST:

  • Greenshoes: the Willow Shoe, and the Buckled , Oxeye, Peony, or Samphire sandals
  • Jelly shoes!!!
  • Mohop flat non-thong sandals
  • Montrail light hiking ankle-height boots (but it may be years before I need new hikers)
  • Also other chic shoes from Cri de Cœur, Olsen Haus, etc…

AND ALSO

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