Alexa is working toward a vegetarian diet, and is loaded with questions. Jennifer’s got answers. We talk about anything as long as it is vegan. Are tattoos vegan? How do I politely not eat Thanksgiving dinner? How do I order without pissing off the waitress? We know you are dying to ask!
There are lots of vegan shoes out there, but it can be a little hard to find. Sure if you type in “vegan shoes” in google you get a bunch of stuff. There are stores that specialize in vegan shoes like Moo Shoes (which has a brick and mortar store in New York City and Los Angeles) but they can be pretty expensive. There are other all vegan shoe stores like Lookie Lou, Vegan Chic, and Alternative Outfitters. Some companies have vegan shoe tags like Modcloth, Zappos, and Lulus. But I’ve found sometimes these searches aren’t the greatest. For example if I went to DSW and search “vegan” I get a few hits. But truthfully there are MORE shoes available. So why the low results? Because they are basically showing only brands the identify the faux leather as VEGAN faux leather.
So how can you tell what your shoe is made out of? Well, luckily it is all in the tag. Do yourself a favor and grab a shoe from your closet (hopefully not too old that the label is worn down) There are several different ways shoes have their materials listed. They sometimes have a chart, sometimes they have a small note, sometimes it is on a sticker, or printed on the inside of the shoe. Just keep looking around.
The shoe should have materials listed for upper material (this is what you see on the outside of the shoe), lining/inner (you know, the stuff your feet touches), and outer sole. Some shoes will have these graphic charts. It will have these images, and whatever is next to upper shoe icon will be the material they use.
So for example I grabbed an old pair (pre-vgan days) of shoes from my closet (it’s this pair if you are wondering). I flipped the shoe over and on the sole there was a sticker that looked like this: (synthetic outside, leather inside, synthetic sole)
So not vegan, but only the inside isn’t vegan, which is actually very common. The problem with these icons is that they are vague. For example, they have “textile” but it doesn’t need to specify what the material is. So you could picking up a pair of shoes that have a fabric that is made from silk or wool. Some people even have found that the icons don’t match up with information on the box, or catalogue. There is also the chance the glue isn’t vegan, and it is pretty much near impossible to find any confirmation about the glue source. So it is always a good idea to check the box the shoe comes in to see if there is any additional information.
Truthfully I am loving Target’s website as they do a great job listing the materials in their shoes. It is nice to be able to look around and read the materials before heading out to the store. In general I find that vegan shoes are usually super expensive or super cheap. Why? Well, leather is a little expensive, and is actually desired by most people. So most shoes want to have it. Most cheap shoes are cheap because of the lack of leather. The downside is that this can be bad for the environment and be made in sweatshops. Some of the more expensive vegan shoe brands are trying to have better quality and better working conditions for the workers.