I love shoes: Boots, booties, pumps, sandals, wedges- as long as it has a heel I will consider it. But as a vegetarian for the last 15 years, I’ve always struggled with the idea of leather. I don’t eat animals, so how can I justify wearing them? At the same time, with so many people consuming cows for meat, the leather has to go somewhere, and tanned hides are extremely durable and can last for many years, which is inherently ecofriendly (I still wear Doc Maarten’s that I bought on my first trip to London 11 years ago). And as I’m currently making the switch to an almost-vegan diet (I will continue to eat free-range eggs from farms I trust), I have to get the animal products out of the rest of my life.
The tipping point for me always was that vegan shoes were seriously ugly, and if I’m not going to wear the designs, then there’s no point in buying them. In the last couple years, all of that has changed. There are great-looking vegan shoes available at all price points, in tons of styles, from conservative (so not my style) to fun, boho, mod, and more, made with faux leather that actually breathes (unlike plasticky and polluting PVC), hemp, wood, organic denim, recycled materials, factory seconds and even peace silk.
And while I’m still wearing leather on my feet (I will don my collection of leather boots until I wear them out!), I now have tons of great options for new vegan footwear; the funky and fabulous Georgette’s from Belgium being the latest.
Keep an eye out on Eco Chick in coming weeks for regular highlights of great vegan footwear, as I navigate the animal-free shoe world. Next up, Natalie Portman’s new line!