Vegan and Eco Friendly Shoes
Vegan shoes and eco friendly shoes are not always the same thing, although they can be.
In order to be vegan, a shoe must be made from materials that are not animal. So no leather or suede on the outside, and no woolen or silk linings.
In order to be eco friendly, a shoe must be made from materials that do not harm the environment and be manufactured in a way that does not pollute or exploit workers.
It's important to know, before you shop, what the differences are and whether you wish to focus on products that are just vegan, just eco friendly or both.
Crocs for example, which are widely touted as being vegan, are made from "polymers" - a.k.a. petroleum derivatives. And pleather, slang for plastic leather is...well...plastic - so that's not very green either.
There are also some eco friendly shoes made from "green" leather which does not use chemicals in the tanning process, and is biodegradable. But it's still leather, and that still means killing animals.
It is possible to get shoes that are both vegan and earth friendly. These shoes can be made from hemp, bamboo, and natural rubber as well as from recycled tires, inner tubes, and plastic.
Most of the companies that sell vegan and environmentally friendly shoes and clothing, also sell accessories. As with shoes, these products can be vegan or eco friendly or both.
Where Can I Get Vegan and Eco Friendly Shoes and Accessories?
- Simple Shoes - Vegan and green shoes for men, women and children. This site has lots of information about the materials used and a search option for vegan friendly items.
- Zappos - Yes, Zappos! They actually have a huge selection of vegan footwear for men, women and children.
- Endless - Many vegan, but not necessarily eco friendly shoes. There are collections for men, women and children.
- Rawganique.com - Vegan and eco friendly, this site sells products made from hemp, including clothing and household products. They have a nice selection of hemp shoes in mens and womens, and a smaller selection for children.
- Soul Flower - No shoes, but a nice selction of bags, belts and jewelry.
- Hempest - A nice collection of hemp bags, wallets and accessories. Note - When you click on the "bags and wallets" or "accessories" tabs, there are sub-selections that appear on a small pale navigation bar above the item photos. It's a bit hard to see if you're not looking for it.