Sunday, October 4, 2009

Vegan Footwear

It's easy to find hand bags, clothing, etc. that are not made from animals but what about sneakers, walking and running shoes? Vegans and vegetarians talk a lot about their eating habits, but I don't see many people talking about vegan footwear.

I have the cutest natural fiber sandles but wondering about tennies. My walking shoes have leather uppers. I have seen hemp boots but what about 'hiking boots'?

My partner wears out shoes, especially walking shoes, pretty quickly, and the shoes she's been happiest with in terms of comfort and how long they last are Bogs. Some of their styles use leather, though, so definitely read the descriptions :) Bogs also has great sales and markdowns. We've also gotten shoes from and

Most high-end running-specific shoes are vegan just because leather weighs too much and doesn't breathe enough for running. I run in Sauconys and they are vegan. New Balance, Pearl Izumi, and Asiics runner-specific shoes are also vegan. (Nike is always suspect as far as I'm concerned). Stay away from anything calling itself a "cross-trainer", aerobic or casual shoe. The manufacturers do use leather in those.

Expect to paid over $100 for any vegan footwear. I'm not sure about tennis shoes though.... cotton Keds are vegan. If you ask a reputable shoe store, they will know which of their shoes have leather and which don't. Leather is not recommended for high-performance sports (including speed walking). Althetes are demanding when it comes to their equipment: they want ultimate performance - which translates into no leather.

As for walking shoes, I like the Keen Newport H2 (they also have a Venice H2 - They are super comfy and great for hiking, walking, canoeing and kayaking (they have a nice stiff sole, they don't slip and they dry fast).

I have another post entitled "Earth Vegan Shoes" where I list my favorite brands for vegan footwear. Make sure to check it out too. There are lots of links there.

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