From men's dock boots to vegan CrossFit shoes and stilettos, all of the footwear on our site is free of any animal-derived materials and by-products. We even contact each company individually to make sure.
What is “vegan” footwear?
The term “vegan” with regard to footwear, simply refers to boots, shoes, sandals and any other form of outer coverings for the feet, that are made from natural and synthetic materials (including glues and dyes) that are not derived from animals. Footwear is also considered ‘cruelty-free’ if none of the dyes, materials or adhesives used for it are tested on animals.
What materials are used to make vegan footwear?
The sole, the upper, and the lining of vegan footwear can be made from any single material, or any combination of materials, that are either natural or synthetic, as long as they’re not derived from animals. Examples of such materials include:
- Synthetic vegan leather (made from PU, PVC, microfibre, or various other materials)
- Natural vegan leather (derived from pineapples, mushrooms, kelp, or other plants)
- Synthetic vegan suede (typically made from different combinations of microfibre)
- Faux sheep skin (typically made from polymeric fibres)
- EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate)
- Canvas (Typically made from cotton, hemp, linen, flax, or other natural materials)
- Various other animal-friendly materials
Please Note: Some vegan footwear that’s made from PVC and EVA can be recycled, and/or is made using recycled materials.
What styles of footwear are vegan?
If it’s a shoe, sandal, boot or anything else that’s meant to be worn on the foot, it can be made vegan and cruelty-free. For example, on this site you can find the following types of vegan men’s and women’s footwear:
- Dress shoes
- Athletic shoes
- Dress sandals
- Lifting shoes
- Trail running shoes
- Winter & snow boots
- Rain boots
- Dock boots
- Ankle booties
- Moto boots
- Ballet flats
- Slide on sandals
- Flip flops
- So much more!
Why buy footwear that’s vegan?
Every conceivable style and colour of casual, dress and functional footwear can pull off the same, look, feel and function without the use of materials that cost animals their lives. So, why not buy vegan?
Does buying one pair really make a difference in the world?
Yes, and it may be surprising to find out that ‘voting with your dollars’ is actually a very effective form of animal activism! Here’s how it works; when you buy a pair of vegan shoes, for example, you’re telling the retailers, manufacturers, distributors and designers involved in the supply chain that there’s demand for animal-friendly footwear. This also works two ways; as more vegan shoes leave shelves, more leather and suede shoes will be left sitting on shelves, collecting dust. In this scenario, the lack of inventory turnover for leather-based shoes versus the high turnover for vegan shoes tells companies where they should be investing their efforts and resources: vegan shoes. With less demand for leather-based shoes, less will be made, and with more demand for vegan shoes, more will be made…the law of supply and demand at work!
Bonus: Showing your new vegan shoes off to your friends, family and other people in your circle of influence will result in even more demand for cruelty-free options!
Is vegan & cruelty-free footwear expensive?
Just like leather and other animal skin-based models, prices can vary from one pair of vegan shoes to the next. This is because of differences in qualities of materials used to make them, differences in manufacturing processes employed, and the different brand names attached to them. As a result, some vegan/cruelty-free shoes, boots and sandals are very affordable, whereas others are quite expensive; most however, fall somewhere in between.
Should I get rid of any non-vegan footwear that I already own?
This is a fairly controversial topic, and one that’s very hotly debated within the vegan community. Regardless of what anyone else says, it’s up to you to decide what to do with your old, non-vegan items, and how to turn your wardrobe over as it becomes more populated with vegan and cruelty-free items; only you can decide what you can afford, and what you’re comfortable wearing. If you’re wondering what options you have, you could give your old shoes away to friends or family, or donate them. Alternatively, you could keep wearing them until they’ve fallen apart or generally outlived their usefulness. Whatever you do, try to avoid simply throwing them away.
What companies make vegan footwear?
There are basically 2 types of companies that make vegan footwear; companies that primarily make animal-derived products, but choose to include vegan and cruelty-free models for the purpose of widening their market reach, for cost reduction, or for other business reasons; then there are companies that exclusively make footwear using vegan-friendly methods and materials for ethical, sustainability, business or other possible reasons. Some companies whose footwear is completely vegan-friendly and cruelty-free include:
- Brave Gentleman
- Will’s Vegan Shoe & Accessories Co.
- Cri de Coeur
- Bourgeois Boheme
- Mel Shoes
- Beyond Skin
- Unstitched Utilities
How do you choose which companies to list?
We keep an ever-growing list of footwear companies that we find, or are suggested to us, whose entire catalogue seems to be animal-friendly and cruelty-free. We contact with these companies to make sure that they don’t use any animal-derived materials or by-products in the making of their shoes, boots, sandals, or any other footwear they produce. If we’re convinced their footwear is suitable for vegans, and their products are listed on Amazon, then we list their shoes here in our Amazon-curated store for your shopping convenience.
Do you list vegan footwear from non-vegan companies?
Yes, we will list vegan footwear from non-vegan companies, but only if we have a hard time finding products in a certain category that are made by companies that are exclusively vegan (right now, for example, there aren’t a lot of purely vegan companies making a wide variety of sandals). However, if we have a hard time getting straight and consistent answers from non-vegan companies when we check to see if specific shoes they sell are vegan, we won’t list any of that company’s products. Before we list anything on this site, we have to be 100% sure that it’s vegan & cruelty-free.
But how can you support non-vegan companies?
While we favour companies that only make vegan footwear, we still applaud non-vegan companies for evolving and expanding into the realm of cruelty-free. We think it’s great that more and more non-vegan companies are adding cruelty-free and vegan gym shoes, heels, winter boots and other shoes to their catalogues, whatever the reasoning behind it might be. And after all, would you stop buying cashew milk and black beans from your local grocery store because they sell meat? Heck no!
Similar Product Categories
“All Footwear” not quite what you’re looking for? Here are some categories in our store that are similar:
- Men’s Footwear
- Ladies’ Footwear
- Men’s Dress Shoes
- Ladies’ Heels and Wedges
- Ladies Dress & Casual Boots & Booties
- Men’s Accessories
- Women’s Accessories
For companies that make vegan footwear
If you or your employer makes vegan and cruelty-free pumps, rain boots, CrossFit shoes, or any other vegan and cruelty-free product for that matter, we’d love to feature those products on our site... at no cost! Contact us at - info(at)getitvegan(dot)com - to find out more!
Some of the information for this guide on vegan footwear was gathered from the following sources:
- Articles: “What the Heck is Vegan Leather.” Jody McCutcheon (n.d.). Eluxe Magazine. Retrieved March 10, 2017. http://eluxemagazine.com/magazine/what-the-heck-is-vegan-leather/
- Fashion & Beauty: “Vegan Leather: What Is It Made Of?” Coral Brown (March 13, 2016). Vegaprocity. Retrieved March 10, 2017. https://vegaprocity.com/2016/03/vegan-leather-made/
- Fashion: “What IS Vegan Leather Anyway?” Aaron Silva (July 26, 2007). The Gloss. Retrieved March 10, 2017. http://www.thegloss.com/fashion/what-is-vegan-leather-anyway/
- Materials: “Vegetarian Leather” (n.d.). Stella McCartney. Retrieved March 10, 2017. http://www.stellamccartney.com/experience/us/material/vegeterian-leathers/