The stereotypical fashion style of vegans has been seen as hippyish or granola. And to be fair I think there is something to be said about that. Many of us are down to earth and lovers of Mother Nature. But as a stereotype or a generalization it is not always the case. Some vegans are looking for smart vegan shoes that don’t cost more than their leather counterparts.
Today I want to give you the 411 on where I buy my vegetarian shoes or more specifically my vegan shoes. You might be surprised.
Some folks out there are going to be outraged. Outraged because they believe that the vegan path is about purity and finding only organic, fair trade or wild harvested products to be suitable for the vegan to buy or wear. Poppycock I say to this. Veganism has nothing to do with organic and fair trade products.
This is not to say I am against such practices. In fact, I am very sensitive to buying products where and when I can that have been sustainably harvested (word to the wise, animals aren’t harvested they’re slaughtered) are organic or are produced by benevolent companies.
But being vegan is about NOT using animal products in your diet and in your fashion and as best you can in the toiletries and other incidental products you buy. Period, that’s it.
Moreover, going vegan will do more to enlighten you about the violence endured by other species and the general violence we commit against the natural world than any other dietary or lifestyle change will accomplish. As such veganism is a powerful tool for creating a world that is more magnanimous and peaceful and just.
So let’s get back to where we were going which is all about finding the best quality vegan shoes at the best prices.
I’ll start with the last pair of vegan shoes I bought which were my vegan winter boots. They cost me more than I like to spend on shoes generally. I paid just south of $200 and they are a pair of Keen’s winter boots bought from Mountain Equipment Co-op. You likely have a similar store in your area if you are in a major city.
I had to do some extra research on both the Keen’s site and ask questions of the MEC staff before I was able to identify at the time only 2 or 3 winter hiking boots that were vegan.
Just a couple of months ago I took my son to buy a pair from MEC and they had 4 or 5 vegan hiking boot options, so there happened to be better choices.
I have also found some great success in buying vegan shoes from Amazon. Surprisingly they have a pretty decent selection if you take the time to search and look for them.
Of course there are other options out there too. Some of the most popular ones are vegetarian shoes which offer a great selection too. However, I find them a little bit on the pricier side and they ship from the UK which doesn’t help either, unless you live in the UK 🙂
MooShoes is another option though also on the pricier side but you can find some deals if you’re prepared to buy vegan shoes you weren’t thinking of buying at the time. So if you think ahead you can buy shoes you’ll use in the summer while it’s winter etc, etc.
But when I’m looking for some specific type of vegan shoe, like a MacBeth vegan shoe or a Draven vegan shoe I’ll go the companies’ main website and see what their prices are, and then I’ll do a bit of comparison shopping on Amazon and other sites mentioned above to see if I can’t get a better deal.
My biggest problem, and why I don’t regularly shop at these kinds of specialized stores except for Amazon is that I’m getting hosed with shipping form the US into Canada.
So where I usually go for a great selection of vegan shoes is Walmart or Payless. Walmart because they keep everything so damn cheap usually offers a good selection of vegan shoes because non-leather is typically seen as less “expensive” or “desirable” and so is cheaper.
Payless used to have a much better selection of non-leather shoes but they’ve recently started offering less and less for some reason.
So for general shoe shopping when I’m looking for some vegan sneakers, running shoes or work shoes I got to my neighbourhood Walmart or Payless or K-Mart or Target.
If you’ve ever wondered what those symbols mean on the labels of your shoe, here is the European Directive 94/11/EC that requires them. You’ll need to download the PDF to see what the icons mean. The images to the left show you which are the symbols that coincide with vegan shoes. There are 4 symbols used to identify shoe materials but only these 2 to your left mean the shoe is made from vegan materials. The top one means the shoe contains textile material and the bottom one means it contains other materials. Usually PVC, rubber, leatherette etc.
If the shoe only shows those 2 symbols you can be pretty certain the shoe is vegan. If it contains those 2 and any others which look like a stretched out cowhide it is NOT a vegan shoe.
Did you factor in the adhesives? Because there isn’t any mention of it in the article. I used to think you could just grab any non leather shoe off the shelf and it would be vegan. But, one day, while looking at REI, I asked the sales rep, and he said that one of my choices might not be due to the adhesives they use. I had totally forgotten about that fact.
Thanks for the comment Mark,
I am well aware that most glues contain slaughterhouse byproducts. The problem with heading down this rabbit hole is that you’ll end up living on an island wearing fig leaves, breathing only through a mask and never moving.
For example, if you take issue with the glue used in your vegan shoes containing a small amount of animal byproducts, you’ll find that you’ll end up walking everywhere, and you’ll end up walking on grass or earth and not asphalt. Asphalt contains animal byproducts, so do tires, so no cars, busses, bicycles.
And then you have the problem of walking and squashing bugs or other insects accidentally. It is a loop of infinite lunacy that you’ll be heading down.
And I’m not trying to be unkind, but I’ve been vegan almost 30 years now, and there’s very little that I haven’t heard about how this thing or that thing is not vegan. My goal here is not to write for level 5 vegans. This blog is for folks interested in becoming vegan to limit the suffering caused by their lifestyles.
That’s my take on it. I don’t sweat the small stuff, and I don’t care what the vegan police think of that or not. I am more concerned about getting as many people off the abuse of animals bandwagon as possible, by showing that it can be done relatively easily and inexpensively.
I am also curious as to where you get your definition of veganism from, because the original definition that I’ve found on The Vegan Society doesn’t make any mention of glue in shoes.
One benefit of getting more and more people to give up animal products is that the minutia will, in time, take care of itself.
I apologise if I’m sounding like I’m coming across grumpy, I’m not, I just have very little time for discussing the edge cases of veganism. However, I applaud you if those sorts of issues are important to you in your veganism, I’d just urge you not to try and make veganism seem like some sort of unattainable mountain of effort that regular folks might find unachievable.
We need to make veganism approachable and easily applicable for everyone to embrace, without lowering our standards. But, I don’t think that to be a vegan you need to worry about the ink in your pen or the glue in your shoe. That’s just my opinion, and I’m certainly not the vegan police.
In peace and love.