Vegan Shoes Everything You Need to Know
Did you know that, according to Peta, every year millions of animals are killed for fashion? . Veganism if often commonly associated with food. However, veganism is actually defined as ‘’a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from personal use, in an attempt to limit the exploitation of animals and animal cruelty as much as possible’’.
What this means is that term ‘vegan’’ does not simply mean banning meat and products made from an animal such a dairy products from your diet , but also refraining from purchasing any piece of clothing or fashion accessories derived from animal such as leather shoes, belts, jackets or bags for instance. It also means not purchasing any item that has been tested on animals such as skincare products.
There are even products that may appear vegan,but use animal derived glues in their manufacturing process. For anyone who cares about the wellbeing of both the animals and our planet, we thought it’d be important to highlight the positive impacts vegans are having on our planet and wildlife by deliberately choosing to boycott animal based products.
What Does it Mean to be Vegan?
Well, we’ve got the definition sorted , but veganism can mean different things to different people even though they’re all part of the same movement and defend the same lifestyle. For many individuals, it is a journey as they discover more and more ways to eliminate animal products and materials from their lives and move towards better alternatives, continuously educating themselves on how they can make the most impact.
Selena Kiser, vegan of 5+ years, wildlife biologist, conservationist, and animal lover describes her journey:
“With the knowledge I've gained over the years, I've come to realize that veganism has a three-fold meaning to me. First of all, knowing how animals are tortured, or at the least kept from having a happy life, makes me very upset, and I find it inhumane to treat any animal in a way that causes suffering. I grew up on a farm, and we did eat most of the animals we raised. However, at least they had a happy life, and the end was very quick.”
Selena was raised on a farm, around animals, and was not always a vegetarian or vegan. However, after seeing the inhumane ways in which many animals are treated throughout their life and then the way they are slaughtered, she decided to make a life change and set herself on a path towards helping rather than harming our planet and the animals.
She goes on to say, “So, my second reason for being a vegan is the devastating impact that raising animals has on this planet...Thirdly, humans do not have the anatomy or physiology ...that is suited to eating any animal products (except maybe the occasional insect!).”
Kiser’s journey began when she decided to become a vegetarian. When she moved from being vegetarian to being vegan, she started only focusing on her diet. A few short months after, she realized that she no longer wanted to wear clothing that used animal products either.
Having a number of shoes that were leather, Kiser started her search for vegan shoes, but found this to be a challenge, as many of them were poorly constructed and did not last long at all, or simply would fall apart. Fortunately, there are now many more vegan shoe options available, making it easier to exclude the use of animal based shoes.
What Are Shoes Typically Made of?
As we’ve mentioned above, many of the shoes we wear are made of animal products, primarily leather. Some shoes also use animal fur, other animal skins, and even animal glue binding.
However, you might be surprised to know that the use of animal products in footwear often goes beyond what you were expecting. For example, when thinking of possible non-animal alternatives, you might immediately think about canvas.
While canvas appears to be vegan friendly as it’s made of hemp, many canvas shoes actually have leather soles or use animal-derived glue. It’s important to be aware of what you’re purchasing and therefore put the research into it. Many shoe companies also use animal-based dyes for coloring. Unfortunately, the animals that are used to create your beautiful new shoes, are usually animals that are factory farmed, raised in cruel conditions, deprived from a happy life, and then killed in brutal and painful ways.
Rather than supporting companies who treat harmless, defenseless animals this way, we should love our fellow living creatures and refrain from supporting such barbaric behaviors towards them. What do you say?
What are Vegan Shoes?
Vegan shoes are an incredible alternative to leathers, suedes, and furs. For a shoe to be vegan, it has to be made without harming any animals. None of the materials or fabrics sourced to make the shoes come from animals or have been tested on animals and that includes glues and dyes. What are they made of you might be wondering? they’re Vegan footwear is made with a variety of synthetic fabrics. Polyurethane, for example, is used to create vegan leather and microfiber synthetic fabric simulating suede. Vegan leather can also be made of eco-friendly materials such as pineapple leaves, apple peel, recycled plastic and even cork. This way no animal is harmed and no polluting plastic is used.
What’s more is that vegan shoes use a partly recycled resin alongside insoles made of recycled cardboard to create the soles.
While many shoes may appear synthetic, make sure you keep an eye for any labels, logos or tags that confirm the product is vegan. Some synthetic products do still use animal adhesives or other less noticeable byproduct.
What are the different vegan-friendly shoe materials?
A lot of vegan brand offer PVC shoes which has been deemed as a toxic and non-breathable type of synthetic plastic. Although it might be the lesser of two evils as no animal is harmed when the products are made, there are other alternatives which offer eco-friendly high-quality shoe options:
Microfiber PU: This artificial leather is very similar to genuine leather and offers breathability and is also water-resistant. It’s a very popular option for eco-friendly brands to use for their vegan leather shoe range.
Piñatex: this natural textile is made from pineapple leaf fiber from pineapple byproducts and is therefore 100% sustainable. This waterproof material is perfect for shoes as it also provides great breathability for feet.
Natural rubber: Produced from plants, natural rubber is a raw material that is used to make flip flops. It’s also used to make eco-friendly, high-quality and sturdy shoe insoles.
Cork: Cork is a natural material derived from the outer layer of bark of oak trees. It’s widely used in Fashion and shoe making for its natural qualities. As such cork is often use for insoles and footbeds of orthotic shoes as it absorbs impact when you walk and is a soft but sturdy material. It enables your shoes to be both functional and comfortable. It also has natural moisture absorbing properties keep your feet and shoes from smelling.
Other plant-based options: An increasing number of well-known brands (such as Reebok) use plant-based materials when designing and making their shoes. Eucalyptus tree and algae are two examples of plant-derived materials used in shoe making. Allbirds is the pioneer is eucalyptus tree derived shoes and has used the natural moisture absorbing and cooling properties of the material to market their sneakers as the most comfortable in the world.
What to Look for in Vegan Sandals?
The first thing most of us probably notice when we’re shoe shopping is the look of a shoe. The appearance is definitely the first thing that appeals to us , but there’s a lot more to look for than something ‘pretty’, fashionable or ‘sleek’. When looking for vegan shoes, it’s important to consider the materials being used. Even if a shoe is vegan, that doesn’t necessarily mean the materials sourced and used to make it are high quality and the shoes are durable.
Unfortunately, there are many poorly crafted vegan shoes that just fall apart after a few uses. You’re going to want to steer clear of these. Here are a few tips for you; try to find sandles with a thick rubberized sole. These are usually longer lasting, and they also tend to offer shock absorption, which will make longer walks feel more comfortable and put less stress on your joints, bones, back, legs and feet.
A lot of vegan shoes also have an antimicrobial coating, which is great for exposed feet. This can help eliminate odor and keep feet protected. Therefore, makes sure you look for antimicrobial coating before selecting your pair of vegan shoes.
Arch support is a great additional feature to look for, especially if you notice that your heels start to hurt after walking for extended periods.
Vegan Shoes Don’t Have to be Limiting
One common misconception is that vegan shoes can’t be ‘cute’, ‘sexy’, ‘classy’, or ‘professional’. On the contrary, vegan shoes are just like every other type of shoe, especially with mainstream brands such as Reebok or Viakix and beautiful designer brands such as Veerah now offering vegan shoes. The sustainable revolution in the shoe industry is happening and even Vogue magazine recently published an article in titled ‘’Luxury Vegan Shoes are Finally Happening’’. Therefore, while yes, there are still many more bohemian styled vegan shoes than luxury or designer vegan shoes on the market, a lot of brands are now developing sustainable vegan ranges that are comfortable, stylish and trendy. It’s also important to remember some shoes were never made using animal products in the first place.
Indeed, here are a number of materials that are naturally vegan and have been used for years by mainstream brands. However, if you choose to go down that route, make sure you inquire about whether any animal byproducts, such as glues, are used to craft the shoes,
Some vegan materials that you can keep an eye for include acrylic, bamboo, canvas, chambray, cotton, denim, hemp, nylon, velour, to name just a few. Once you actively start looking, you’ll be surprised at just how many incredible vegan shoe options are available to you. If you aren’t able to find something suitable in stores, rather than giving in, shop online! The sky is the limit when it comes to online shoe shopping 😉
For those of you interested in exploring vegan clothing, we’d like to thank you and praise your efforts to end animal cruelty. We understand that being vegan can be challenging sometimes, especially when so many regular products use animal materials.
To assist you in navigating this tricky niche and make your footwear search just a little easier, here’s a list of some of the top vegan sandals that you absolutely have to check out! You’re taking a very impressive step towards saving animals, the least we could do is point you in the direction of some trendy, fun, durable and animal friendly sandals.
Our top picks for Women’s Vegan Shoes and Sandals
The Samara Walking Sandal for Women
The Samara sandals are one of the most popular of the Viakix collection. These outdoor sandals were thoughtfully constructed using thick EVA foam for the midsole, providing extra cushioning for comfort and reducing stress on your joints. The outsole, equipped with shank stabilizer, provides extra traction, making these great walking sandals for tougher, uneven terrain.
They will hold up well walking through the woods, and even on damp ground. The Velcro straps allow you to completely customize the fit to your foot, ensuring they feel secure at all times. The use of elastic webbing allows the sandal to conform to your foot, creating a unique fit suiting your unique foot and providing maximum support. These animal friendly sandals are handcrafted and reflect a true passion and love for vegan footwear from Viakix.
Birkenstock Women’s Gizeh Vegan Thong Sandal
These sandals from Birkenstock are a great everyday vegan friendly sandal. They are extremely comfortable, even suitable for long walks. These shoes offer the same suede look you would get from real leather, using colored microfiber instead of animal skin. You get the same classic look, without having to worry about animal cruelty. The cork styled bottoms offer a great amount of arch support, shock absorption and mold perfectly to the shape of your fit providing a hug feeling. Birkenstock has become quite the summer trend lately, so you’ll definitely fit right in with the rest of the crowd.
Napali Hiking Sandals For Women
The Napali sandals are great for all outdoor activities. They featurehave thick rubber soles that absorb impact, making them great for walking across uneven and rough terrain. The adjustable velcroVelcro straps allow you to customize your fit for optimal comfort. These are also ideal sandals for women with low or fallen arches, with premium support that makes walking for longer periods of time comfortable.
Available in a variety of colors and at an affordable price point, these are durable vegan sandals that will hold up well with wear.
TOMS Clara Espadrilles
TOMS is a brand most famous for their “Buy One, Give One” mission, where the brand promises to donate a pair of shoes for each one purchased. It’s important to note that not all TOMS products are vegan, as some do use beehive ingredients such as beeswax. However, these espadrilles are a summer must-have. Made from natural linen, they are very subtle and muted, perfect for the everyday summer errands or vacations. The convenient and comfortable backstrap keeps them in place so you can feel free to run about without them slipping off. They come in either natural linen or chambray colorways.
Teva Women’s Verra Sandal
These sandals by Teva are where comfort and performance meets style. They are muted in design, making them a very simple yet effective everyday footwear. Hook and loop closures make for easy fastening and a shock absorbing cushion allows for low impact. They also feature a Microban zinc-based antimicrobial treatment to keep your exposed feet protected while wearing them. Available in over 20 color options, there’s a Teva sandal to suit every fashion taste.
The Siena Sports Sandals for Women
The Viakix Siena Sports Sandals are unique in that they are designed specifically to be comfortable and durable during physical activity. Typically,Usually sneakers are the preference when it comes to comfort and duration during exercise. However, these moments would be reserved for sneakers, but these sandals are so comfortable and supportive, they’ll be perfect for your physical lifestyle.
Any time you’re thinking of heading to the great outdoors, be sure to bring your Siena sandals along with you. They are the perfect camping sandal, very breathable, easy to travel with, and even hold up well in and around water. They also come in a variety of colors to fit your personal style and accommodate any color preferences.
Chaco Z1 Classic Athletic Sandal
We love these vegan sandals by Chaco as they are simple, comfortable and practical. They are the perfect everyday walking sandals for men. Each sandal is made up of only 8 parts, maximizing durability and minimizing risks of weak points. They use podiatrist certified LUVSEAT soles for all day support and comfort. Adjustable straps easily customize the fit to your feet. What’s more, an antimicrobial protectant helps eliminate odor, so these are suitable for all day wear without having to worry about foot odor.
Acadia Vegan Hiking Sandal
Aren’t these gorgeous? We get it, sometimes, you want to mix style and function. That’s precisely the reason why we’ve created the Acadia Hiking Sandal. These sandals are super lightweight making them easy to travel with. They’re also made with EVA- foam and durable outsole. The foam insole cushion makes them comfortable for long term wear and hiking.
That’s right you can now hike with stylish shoes on without having to worry about foot or back pain. Besides, the curves will provide great arch support throughout your trek. The adjustable straps are trendy and casual, giving a nice feminine element to an otherwise simple sandal and making them perfect for summer. These are ideal for any type of scenarios, from a relaxing beach vacation on a beautiful island to an adventurous trip featuring long hikes in the woods.
Sanuk Yogi Flip Flop
Sanuk is a lifestyle sandal brand specializing in comfortable yet trendy summer shoes. For women looking for something simple, with easy on and off, these slip in vegan flip flops are the perfect option. The slim foot bed shape and rubberized soles offer comfort, durability, and best of all, the sandals are lightweight and easy to travel with. The stylish canvas nylon thong strap design gives a clean, muted look. These are perfect for a day at the pool or at the beach, or even a day of running around doing small errands. With premium craftsmanship, you won’t have to worry about chafing or blisters.
Reef Marbea SL Sandal
Reef is a classic summer footwear company. While not inherently a vegan company, they have been rolling out some vegan shoe options to meet new customer demand. One of their vegan range includes the unusual Reef Marbea sandals, crafted with an asymmetrical design. We love it! This shoe helps support your foot’s arches so you don’t walk in flat shoes all day as would be common with most other flip flop alternatives. A compression molded triple density midsole and rubber outsole make these sandals durable and long lasting. You won’t have to worry about these vegan shoes falling apart easily or getting destroyed in their first rainstorm.
Making Vegan Footwear Mainstream
Shopping for vegan shoes can be quite the chore. Unfortunately, vegan shoes is still a niche industry as a lot of footwear company’s are still not producing animal friendly shoes. However, we are lucky to live in a time where online shopping makes everything so easily accessible. Indeed, we’re now able to find the right product for us at the click of a button. There are many vegan sandal alternatives available to you, many of which take not only comfort, but style into consideration, which is of course key.
While some major brands have started offering vegan products, what you should look for is brands that truly embrace the vegan lifestyle and values. Supporting brands that only offer vegan shoes is more important than ever. Indeed, most major brands that offer vegan alternatives use this as a marketing ploy, feeding a ‘trend’ and capitalizing on it by making their vegan footwear expensive and inaccessible to those unable to afford the ‘trendy’ shoes. Viakix was founded on the principles of excluding the use of any animal materials in all their products. The idea was to fight animal cruelty while offering a sustainable alternative. Therefore, as an animal advocate, you can trust that any item purchased from this brand has been made from synthetic materials and without harming any animals.
We genuinely believe in sharing the planet with our animal friends and treating them with the same love and respect that we treat human beings. That’s why we are completely animal cruelty free, and work tirelessly to offer the best, most durable, classic, and trendy vegan footwear alternatives on the market at an affordable price point that doesn’t scare people away. The idea for us is to encourage consumers to embrace the vegan lifestyle when it comes to shoes and Fashion and try something different without taking any risk. So what are you waiting for? Give vegan sandals a try today. We’re pretty confident that, once you’ve tried them, you’ll ditch leather shoes for good!
Looking for some Vegan recipices? Check out our friends at Outdoor Union for some great ideas.