Recognising vegan shoes

Finding vegan shoes can be a bit of an art form if you’re new to the lifestyle. The shops you used to shop at might not sell anything that’s safe for vegans. There is however, a few tips that you can pick up that’ll help you know if a shoe is vegan or not.

I’ve written about a few great places to buy vegan shoes from which you can read here.

Step 1

The first thing to do is pretty simple. Vegan Kicks describe it perfectly.

“This seems pretty obvious, but it only takes a few seconds and is the best way to rule out shoes that contain leather.  Inspect the the ENTIRE upper.  Look at the tongue, heel, tabs, laces, and all branding.  Then inspect the inner.  If you are buying online, this is crucial.  If the site does not allow for you to do a 360° visual, I would proceed with extreme caution.  I have made the mistake of buying a canvas shoe only to find out that there was a suede patch on the inside leg of the shoe.  There has also been a perturbing trend of canvas shoes containing leather inners (e.g. TOMS).

Make sure that nothing looks like leather or suede.  If it is questionable, we recommend erring on the side of caution and passing on it.”

Step 2

If you’re in store, then you can also check the tag. Usually there’s a handy sticker that’ll be in the tongue of the shoe or on the sole.

vegan shoes

Particularly watch out for the leather symbol. It sadly looks like an animals skin splayed out. Grim. If the shoe looks leather but it’s listed as synthetic, don’t worry, it’s because it’s a faux leather. No animals would have been harmed.

Step 3

Finally, you want to make sure the glue that was used is vegan. Vegan shoes will use glue purely from synthetic or plant-based sources. Some brands use glues that contain animal parts. Checking the glue can sometimes be the hardest part of the process. If you want to ensure they’re vegan shoes, drop the brands customer service an email or tweet to find out. Clearly define what vegan means so there’s no misunderstanding- you wont believe ho many people don’t know what the term ‘vegan’ actually means.

buy vegan shoes
A completely vegan shoe by Etnies.

If you need any help working out if the shoes are vegan, you can always contact Vegan Kicks. Simply contact them via their website or find them on Twitter.

I think the best way to get vegan shoes is to simply support the small vegan brands that design stylish and functional shoes. If you want to read more about that, head over here!

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Nathaniel comes from a background of cycling and fitness. After eating a regular diet for most of his life, he came across the vegan lifestyle 3 years ago and has never looked back. Nat considers himself an animal lover, environmentalist and keen cyclist while promoting the vegan lifestyle along the way.

He’s now a registered personal trainer, gym instructor and currently working his way towards a Sport, Fitness and Coaching degree.

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