There’s a growing movement in the fashion community to support animal-friendly apparel and accessories — including shoes. High-profile designers such as Stella McCartney continue to prove style doesn’t have to be sacrificed when it comes to adopting such a lifestyle.
The commonly accepted definition of animal-friendly footwear are those styles made without any animal ingredients or byproducts such as animal skins, hair feathers, as well as animal-derived glues and adhesives. These shoes are easier to find than you think as a result of the development of sophisticated alternatives to leather that make it increasingly hard to distinguish the real thing from faux versions. Animal-free footwear also includes styles made of fabrics such as cotton, linen or hemp, and even polyester and nylon, since wool and silk are off-limits.
Today, there’s a wide range of shoe brands offering vegan options in their collections. Among those is Feelgoodz, which will no longer use leather in its product range, beginning in March. The company made the decision after it became difficult to verify whether its leather supply chain was adhering to ethical and environmentally friendly production practices. Going forward, all footwear will be made of recycled polyurethane produced in Vietnam where Feelgoodz also sources its natural rubber.
“Sustainability and high ethical standards have always been at the core of our business,” said Kyle Berner, founder. “After extensively testing vegan leather alternatives, we feel we have a product that looks and feels as good or better than genuine leather while being more in line with the Feelgoodz brand ethos. Navigating the leather industry proved challenging. In the end, we found that we could create products with all of the benefits of genuine leather without major drawbacks. We believe our new vegan leather material can stand up to anything in the market.”
Here, FN has selected animal-free styles to cover you from weekday to weekends.
1. Feelgoodz Vegan Islands Stargazer
This women’s sandal features a cotton handwoven upper and contoured footbed for enhanced comfort and support.
2. Jambu Spirit Vegan
This outdoor-inspired style in synthetic nubuck and neoprene goes from city streets to a country trail.
3. Native Miles
A unisex lightweight EVA style allows air to circulate through the perfed upper for added comfort during the dog days of summer.
4. Arcopedico LS
A lace-up style is done in a knit upper and features a twin arch support system and synthetic outsole with enhanced traction for safety.
5. Dr. Martens Vegan 1461 3-Eye Gibson
Unisex oxfords in synthetic leather feature an air-cushioned slip-resistant sole for durability and performance.
6. Saucony Originals Jazz Low Pro Vegan
This women’s athletic style is done in canvas and hemp for a lightweight approach.
7. Cape Clogs Lucia Vegan Clog
The classic clog is updated in a midheel silhouette that’s been stapled to the outsole instead of glued.
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