The Complete Guide to the Best Vegan Shoes
Evergreen Writer | contactable via

Ethical fashion brands are rethinking design and putting some vegan sole into modern shoes.

As awareness of our own impact upon the planet increases, so does the understanding that living kindly extends far beyond the pantry. Ethical purchasing also has a bearing upon what cleaning brands we use, what cosmetics we slather on, and of course, what we wear. In particular, what we wear on our feet.

Although more people have been exploring synthetic wool sweaters and seeking silken alternatives, it is shoes that dominate the vegan fashion industry. According to research published by retail technology and data company Edited last month, shoes account for 73 percent of vegan fashion buys.

Humans started slipping shoes on around 40,000 years ago, according to research published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Over the centuries, shoes have been made of various materials from woven papyrus in ancient Egypt to wooden clogs in Holland. But animal leather has been the primary material of choice for feet due to its hard wearing and waterproof qualities. Until now.

The Rise of Vegan Leather

In much the same way that food companies like Beyond Meat have developed plant-based versions of edible animal-products, fashion companies like Veerah, Stella McCartney, and Marks and Spencers are all flying the flag for plant-based leather.

In 2017, business firm Grand View Research predicted that the global faux leather market will hit $85 billion by 2025.  

The number of materials that can be used to replace cow hide is mind-blowing. German brand ZVNDER creates its suede-like leather out of mushrooms. Cruelty-free company Ananas Anam has created its signature leather named Piñatex from pineapple leaf fiber. Innovative company Malai crafts its flexible vegan leather out of coconut waste.

These new developments in plant-based leather all rely upon abundant and sustainable raw ingredients. In the case of both Malai and Piñatex, the new industry actually reduces pollution by utilizing products that would otherwise be discarded.

This is in stark contrast to traditional cow leather, which according to a 2017 study that looked at the fourteen most common textiles used in fashion, has by far the greatest cradle to gate environmental impact. The study showed that cow leather production is especially harmful in terms of eutrophication and water scarcity.

Until these pioneering textile developments, vegan leather was almost exclusively made of Polyurethane (PU) or Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), both of which rely upon fossil fuels for their polymer coatings. The move towards plant-based fabrics is truly a whole new chapter in vegan clothing. An added bonus is that in the hackneyed desert island scenario, some of these shoes sound delicious.  

Of course, different shoes suit different occasions. Thanks to new innovations within the fashion world, there is always a vegan shoe that fits.

18 Vegan-Friendly Shoe Brands

1. Beyond Skin

Vegan Leather Boots from Beyond Skin

For day to day vegan shoes, you can’t get much better than this Spanish shoe company. Selling everything from pumps to stilettos, the company has been serving vegan and vegetarian feet since 2011 at affordable prices. The brand still relies upon PU, but when compared with producing cow leather, it feels “PU is clearly the less of two evils.”

The environmentally focused company also sources its materials as locally as possible. Its shoes include 70 percent recycled resin and evening shoes use polyester rather than highly acid processed viscose.

Check it out here.

2. Bourgeois Boheme

Bourgeois Boheme create vegan shoes for day-to-day wear
Bourgeois Boheme create vegan shoes for day-to-day wear

Founded by a former podiatrist in 2005, the London company has its production base in Portugal. Using plant-based polymers, cork, and Piñatex, the company creates vegan loafers, ballet pumps, and Oxford shoes for day-to-day wear.

While the brand is not the cheapest around, it often has sales on and its PETA-approved wares are made to last. Bourgeois Boheme is very environmentally focused and uses its website to offer tips on how to reduce waste and extend the life of your shoes.

Check it out here.

3. Will’s Vegan Shoes

Will's Vegan Shoes provide affordable faux-leather boots
Will’s Vegan Shoes provide affordable faux-leather boots

This London-based company has an extensive range of footwear and caters equally for men and women. The vegan brand was founded in 2012 by Will Green and uses man-made faux leather in its dock boots, work boots, and Chelsea boots.

Will’s Vegan boots are reasonably priced (Women’s Aviator 2 Boots are £100 while men’s Low Rigg Boots cost £82) and the company is certified carbon neutral, with all of its wares registered with the Vegan Society.

Check it out here.

4. Vegetarian Shoes

Old school footwear brand Vegetarian Shoes is vegan

 Established in the 1990s, long before the term “vegan” was being widely used, this company sells an impressive assortment of plant-based boots. From hiking to caribou, combat to action. Most of the company’s products contain PU, but Vegetarian Shoes also uses hemp, Piñatex, and a 70 to 80 percent biodegradable material called Vegetan.

Along with its own stylish designs, Vegetarian Shoes also provides vegan versions of iconic brands. The company’s “Airseal” boots, which come in a variety of colors, are dead ringers for Doc Martens and you can probably guess what “Snug” boots resemble. Unlike their sheepskin muse, the Snug boots are made of synthetic suede and have a rubber and cork sole.

Check it out here.

5. Doc Martens

Doc Martens has vegan options

Those who prefer the real McCoy when it comes to what they put on their feet can purchase faux leather Doc Martens online or in select stores.

Check out Doc Martens’ vegan range here.

6. Ethical Wares

Ethical Wares is vegan

 Online brand Ethical Wares offers plant-based trainers, desert boots, dancing shoes, creepers, slippers, and pretty much every other category of footwear you could possibly desire.

Check it out here.

7. Nat-2

German brand nat-2 makes vegan shoes using innovative materials

Munich-based company Nat-2 offers the latest innovation in plant-based shoes from a sixth generation shoe designer, Sebastian Thies. Since its launch in 2007, Nat-2 has been making sneakers out of ecologically sourced materials such as coffee grounds and mushrooms. Along with its Funghi and Coffee lines, the company uses recycled cardboard and paper in all its packaging.

Check it out here.

8. Veja

Veja corn leather sneakers

Earlier this year, this luxury shoe brand launched the vegan CAMPO sneaker range, made from corn leather. This new leather took five years to develop and is said to be up to 63 percent biodegradable.

Check it out here.

9. Adidas

Adidas produced a limited line of vegan sneakers made from ocean salvaged plastic
Adidas produced a limited line of vegan sneakers made from ocean salvaged plastic

Europe’s largest sportswear manufacturer, Adidas, took environmental fashion to the next level last year when it crafted a sports shoe from ocean-salvaged plastic. Each pair of the simple yet stylish sport shoes, complete with woven overlay, contains the equivalent of 12 plastic bottles worth of waste. Adidas created the trendsetting shoe in collaboration with non-profit organization Parley for the Oceans and released 7,000 pairs of the limited edition sneaker.

Understandably, the “garbage to gold” shoes sold out instantly, which has inspired Adidas to produce another 5 million pairs for environmentally conscious gym-goers. 

Check it out here.

10. Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney makes sustainable vegan shoes

This luxury veggie fashion brand – founded by sustainable designer Stella McCartney, a pioneer of ethical fashion – offers gorgeous evening shoes made from plant-based leather and recyclable materials.

Check it out here.

11. Veerah

Veerah luxury vegan heels

Founded by Stacey Chang in 2016, this sustainable fashion brand specializes in luxury vegan shoes. Adding to the incredible plant-based leathers on the market, Veerah launched its own fabric named Veerah Appeel made of apple skins in 2017.

Check it out here.

12. MINK

MINK makes glamorous vegan shoes

If you’re looking for something really classy and upmarket, MINK makes couture vegan stilettos in a private Italian factory, where Louboutin and Dior shoes are also made. All of the materials used are cruelty-free and the brand is loved by vegan celebrities including Pamela Anderson and Miley Cyrus. According to its website, “each MINK product has the passion of luxury and the compassion we demand for animals.”

Check it out here.

13. Sydney Brown

Sydney Brown uses materials like cork, wool, and rubber

Sydney Brown’s vegan shoes are kind to humans, the animals, and the environment, according to its website. It aims to make sustainable, eco-friendly shoes with a wide range of materials including cork, wood, and rubber. Its website notes, “each component of the shoe is carefully developed to fit with the brand’s ethos, utilizing recycled and sustainable materials. Every season we strive to improve and develop these further.”

Check it out here.

14. Rothys

Rothys sustainable vegan shoes are made from recycled materials

All of Rothys shoes are made with recycled single-use plastic. According to the brand’s website, since it started three years ago, it has recycled more than 20 million plastic bottles and turned them into sustainable footwear. Styles include The Loafer, The Flat, The Point, and The Sneaker.

Check it out here.

15. Ballūta

Family-owned brand Ballūta is vegan

Founded by longtime vegan Catarina Pedroso, Ballūta makes shoes out of recycled polyamide in a family-run factory in Portugal. According to the brand’s website, Ballūta believes the future of fashion is “circular.” It explains, “we are dedicated to developing trans-seasonal timelss footwear, combining unique concepts, alternative materials, and innovative technologies.”

Check it out here.

16. Converse

Converse has vegan options

Made with canvas and rubber, many of Converse’s sneakers are vegan-friendly. In 2018, it partnered with vegan musician Miley Cyrus who created a series of collections for the brand. In June, Cyrus launched the Pride Converse collection, donating all net proceeds to organizations that help vulnerable LGBTQ+ youth. In December, the company also partnered with faux fur brand Shrimps, incorporating the vegan material onto the back of each design from the collection.

Check it out here.

17. Von D Shoes

Kat Von D makes alternative vegan footwear

Last year, vegan activist, beauty entrepreneur, and tattoo artist Kat Von D announced the launch of a vegan line of shoes. The Instagram account for the brand notes that a wide variety of cruelty-free heels, wedges, platforms, and boots will be available to purchase very soon.

Check it out here.

18. Call It Spring

Canadian brand Call It Spring went vegan in Spring 2019

Quebec-based shoe brand Call It Spring went vegan in March 2019 in response to consumer demand. “[We] noticed a growing demand for vegan footwear, particularly over the last few years as veganism has become increasingly adopted,” states the website. All future collections will be free from animal products going forward.

Check it out here.

*This article was updated on April 13, 2019.

The Complete Guide to the Best Vegan Shoes
Article Name
The Complete Guide to the Best Vegan Shoes
Ethical designers are rethinking fashion and putting some vegan sole into modern footwear. Here some of the best brands offering cruelty-free leather shoes.
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo