The words “vegan shoes” might conjure up some pretty horrific images. But a new age of designers is dreaming up beautiful footwear that is also cruelty free. Here are some of our favourites.
The rather unimaginatively named Vegetarian Shoes have been trading in cruelty free footwear for 21 years. What they lack in a name they make up for in style. These rather lovely brogues are made from vegetan bucky, a breathable and hard wearing microfibre that looks and feels remarkably like leather.
Nobody does killer heels quite like Vivienne Westwood. She captures curves and trims so beautifully. And these magnificent “mock crocs” are perfect for the vegan who loves a bit of high fashion with her tofu and mung beans. Available in both black and brown from Fashion Conscious and at time of writing were on sale.
RSPCA Ethical Business Award winners, Beyond Skin, are one of the leaders in ethical shoes. Their vast collection never compromises on style, and these vegan sailor-esque wedges are a great illustration of that. And as well as being suitable for vegans, they use recycled materials too.
Although an admirer of the ethics of Toms Shoes I’ve never really liked their designs. They seem to be a brand you love or hate. Having said that, once in a while they produce something that stands out, and these knee high olive boots are such an example. And as well as being animal free, when buying a pair you’re raising money for good causes.
Ok, so I may have been unduly influenced by the fact these shoes are called “Esther”. But how often do you get a pair of Zebra print ballet pumps named after you? Maybe Bourgeois Boheme didn’t name them after me specifically, but it’s kind of nice to think I might have influenced them. Also available in red and leopard print … like all good Esthers are!
I love these foxy ankle boots, not just for being stylish and cruelty free, but because I’ve seen so many similar shoes in High Street stores. Yet again it shows that anything mainstream fashion can do, ethical fashion can do better. These lovely ladies are available from Bourgeois Boheme at a very wallet-friendly price of £35. As well as being free of animal products they’re made with organic cotton.
So plastic is slightly questionable in eco terms, and you could argue oil isn’t completely animal free (be it that the animals died millions of years ago – look there are some pretty strict vegans out there!). However these boots are recycled from old shoes, and the waste and the water in the factory that makes them is also reused. And just look at them – are they not beautiful? Available for a mere £78 from Fashion Conscious.
These ballet pumps are part of Gucci’s Sustainable Sole range. As well as being free from animal products they’re made with bio-degradable plastic. Of course, bio-degradable isn’t the same as recycled, but it’s a step in the right direction and an impressive move for a major brand. Available to buy from end of June onwards.
Pumps can get a little boring, but these t-bars add a bit of fabulousness to your average flat. Created by New York designer Cri de Coeur, these shoes are vegan and made with responsible manufacturers. Available from Fashion Conscious for a slightly heavy £75. Also available in shocking pink, if that’s your thing.
Last but not least are these seriously awesome court shoes from Beyond Skin. Made using printed hemp and vegan suede, these stunning men and ladies shoes are non-exploitative to animals, humans and the planet. They don’t seem to be available on the Beyond Skin website but can be had for £65 from the Neon Collective.