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In times when people are breathing information, we start to get lazy. In one-way, ignorance acts like a filter helping us not to overheat from such kind of knowledge flow. But on the other hand, always hearing something over and over again, you start to believe that you know something, although actually, you don’t. In this instance, I find myself living in this sustainable and cruelty-free promoted society – which is good! – but also, it’s making me sort of oblivious. Because I start to think that I know something which I don’t. For example, I know what veganism is quite a phenomenon, but what I could say about vegan shoes? Well, mmm… Let’s do some checkups together, shall we?

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Organic background

“Just listen – old school leather can be substituted by sweet corn, pineapples (leaves part), castor bean oil, algae, eucalyptus or apple peels! Wait, whaaat?”

Without thinking too much about labeling what is naturally sourced or cruelty-free, we basically can name some linens and weeds that made their way to shoe manufacturing. When you look a little deeper, it’s amazing how creative manufacturers ended up searching for corresponding materials in shoemaking. Just listen – old school leather can be substituted by sweet corn, pineapples (leaves part), castor bean oil, algae, eucalyptus, or apple peels! Wait. What? I know that I will never look to an apple the same way I did, but that’s the beauty of thinking of a better life for more than just yourself. Besides that, cork, latex, sawdust, or plastic bottles are in this fair game, as well. And yes, plastic bottles are not organic in general, but reusing them, it still counts as an environment-friendly solution than forging a new set of plastics and rubbers from scratch. 

Ethical perspective

“Veganism offers to try finding an alternative that has the same features we are looking out for our feet, but in less damaging ways, like sourcing plants or recycling plastic.”

Depending on geographical situation, footwear has always been made out of natural materials: wood, plants, skins, fur, and so on before industrially produced synthetics took over the world. In contrast to cheaper plastics and petroleum-based fabrics, natural leather shoes with fur or wool insides returned their status as something defining quality. And better-living proof as they were more expensive yet supposedly healthier and more durable than fully fabricated ones. However, this also made people see leather, fur, or other natural components only as a material without thinking about its origins. And in simple words, it is taking lives or hurting breathing creatures so one’s foot could “breathe” as well. Veganism offers to try finding an alternative that has the same features we are looking out for our feet, but in less damaging ways, like sourcing plants or recycling plastic.

Front side vegan

“And let me ask, how many of you do the full research every single time before committing to a new product or brand? Not enough. For instance, before buying a pair of vegan boots also check if the glue used in making is not animal-derived – it might be a detail we were expected to miss and it’s been taken advantage of – don’t let them get you. ”

Well, not is gold that shines, sadly. While consumers are mostly naïve, many businesses instantly see a way how to profit from it because society is good at labeling but not where it matters. With consumer consciousness growing up, the demand for sustainably and responsibly manufactured production also jumped, which meant much more costly changes in the strategy and manufacturing for the big brands more than indie ones. In one way, making production in demand creates a trustful and caring image for a brand, which leads to profits. On the other hand, it means they need new materials, new manufacturing technology, investments requiring energy sources, and it’s just a tip of the iceberg of problems they have to overcome. So instead, it is much easier to make a shoe the old-fashioned way, but put on some “eco-aware” shoelaces and put a label saying it’s vegan. And let me ask how many of you do the comprehensive research every single time before committing to a new product or brand? Not enough. For instance, before buying a pair of vegan boots, also check if the glue used in the making is not animal-derived – it might be a detail we were expected to miss, and it’s been taken advantage of – don’t let them get you. 

Circle of life

“Instead take responsibility for what you wear and what lifestyle you support. It is important to finish what have you started – like I have to finish this article because that would be more than strange just to cut and leave it in the middle of a sentence. ”

Let the animals live happy lives and don’t make them get involved; just back off for a change at least sometimes (if you cannot live without bacon, it doesn’t mean your feet have the same feeling for skinned pig boots). Instead, take responsibility for what you wear and what lifestyle you support. It is important to finish what you have started – like I have to finish this article because that would be more than strange just to cut and leave it in the middle of a sentence. So, think about what would happen for your footwear when it is worn down. First of all, at least out of them to a recycling container, it’s the easiest and equally important thing you can do without any effort. Try selling them. But a fully eco-aware person would buy shoes from a brand that offers to take them to the shoe heaven. Not a literal one, of course, I’m not crazy yet. More and more manufacturers not only make boots with renewing energy and recycled or organically sourced materials but pants a tree for every sold pair or make sure their production is taken care of afterward. For example, Nike runs Nike Grind program, which will take any dead athletic footwear from you to recycle them and make new shoes or play surfaces. It shows that we all can do better.

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