Kitten heels, Cubans, sandals, wedges, wingtips, canvas high tops, punk boots, ballet flats, Oxfords, pumps, espadrilles, lace-ups, cut-outs, peep-toes, steel-toes, slip-ons, running shoes, jellies, stilettos… is your heart racing, too? There’s no way around it: shoes do far more than protect our feet from sharp stones: they’re sculptures, works of art with the power to change how we look and feel. They don’t just make the outfit, they make the mood, and what’s more they convey that mood to people around us. Our shoes help us feel confident, sexy, whatever we happen to want, and then display that in bold 36-point high-definition text to everyone who sees us.
Shoes are the great equalizer, too. Our feet stop growing when we’re around the age of sixteen, so no matter how else we grow (age, weight, responsibility, etc), our shoe size remains youthful, strong, carefree, and open to absolutely any wild style we want to try on. So go ahead! Try on those shoes that appeal to the real you, the you deep inside, the you that’s not an adult with a busy schedule, not an employee, not a boss, not a caretaker, not a label of any kind. Underneath all that you’re you, you’re awesome, you’re someone that wants to have fun and make the world a better place all at the same time. So try on those vegan shoes.
You know what vegan shoes do? They slay interviewers. They trap that special someone. They carry you across the finish line. They make us look taller, slimmer, and more shapely. They kick ass. They complete the suit, the dress, even more, and even less. They pump confidence off the charts. They sit patiently outside our door. They dangle seductively. They look safe. They look dangerous. They occupy our obsessions and they fill our collections.
There’s really only one thing that vegan shoes definitely, under no circumstances, must never do: they must never, ever be made of animal products or by-products. That means vegan shoes will support your life without taking anyone elses. That’s all there is to it! And because that’s the only rule, there are literally thousands of vegan shoes out there, and we face the terrible, tragic, inconceivable injustice of having to sort through them every season to see what catches our eye.
I know, I know: that store you used to like, the one that used to be so fun, doesn’t have any vegan shoes. Painful but normal, so don’t hate them – that wouldn’t be the vegan way anyway. Don’t think of your old friend as part of the problem, think of yourself as part of the solution. Brick and mortar shops, with all those big overhead costs, have a hard time stocking what some might consider “specialty items.” You and I know that vegan shoes are the exact same styles and colors as any other, just different materials. But because shoe makers traditionally used leather, many shoe lovers still equate only leather with quality. That may have been the case a century ago, but these days shoe materials are more a matter of preference than quality. Vegan shoes, like any other, can be beautiful, comfortable, supportive, protective, breathable, and can last a lifetime if cared for properly.
With everything we buy we financially support an entire supply chain. It feels incredibly good to no longer be supporting the leather industry, doesn’t it? We can also help support environmental and humanitarian issues with our choices. In vegan shoe terms, with so many style and color options to choose from some of us enjoy narrowing the field by opting only for vegan shoes that avoid man-made materials (an environmental consideration), or look for manufacturers with strong labor policies (for us human animals), or even for shoes made in this country (for both environment and us human animals). Whether we narrow the field or not, the vegan shoes we show off to the world won’t just make us smile – somewhere, a very grateful cow will be smiling, too.
Choices vary widely between countries, retailers, and designers, and then just when we think we almost have it figured out the season changes and we have to start all over again. Our selection of shoes is fashion industry driven; one season there’s nothing you like; the next season there are nice shapes but they only come in either black or emergency yellow. Finally, everything explodes the following season, your closet floor gets filled several layers deep, and a few bills aren’t paid on time. It’s so worth it, because next season, when designers are back in the mood for black or emergency yellow again, you’ll be the smart one in nice shoes asking your friends “who needs to see the floor of their closet anyway?”
There are plenty of places to shop for vegan shoes, and your friends at vegan dot com have spent years traveling the world and the interwebs sorting through many of them. We’ve had good experiences and bad ones, and here’s what we’ve found: online shoe monster Zappos has EASILY the largest selection of vegan shoes we’ve ever found anywhere, the widest selection of available sizes, the lowest prices, and the simplest returns should you need to. And being something like an online department store, they also have some other vegan gear, like faux leather jackets and bags. And here’s another reason to love them: they stock items for all seasons all year, so vegans from Maine to Hawaii and everywhere in between can find what’s appropriate for where we live.
Here is a quick, non-binary look at Zappos current selections of vegan shoes. Here’s a shortcut to vegan shoes for women, and another to vegan shoes for men. There is something for everybody in there! Here are a few to start things off:
Dr. Martens 1461 Vegan 3-Eye Gibson
Looking for boots on vegan dot com? Of course there’s a page!