A fantastic selection of vegan shoes from some fantastic brands including Beyond Skin, Melissa, Chinese Laundry, Cri De Coeur and Neu Aura. A sustainable and ethical choice.
There are plenty of good reasons to buy vegan shoes. Whilst many people have already chosen a vegan lifestyle, many also choose to buy vegan shoes instead of leather for environmental reasons.
Whilst it is often claimed that the leather used to make shoes is a by product of the meat industry. PETA disagrees. They claim that as most leather comes from developing countries including India and China, animal welfare laws are non existent. Their website details some of the horrific ways that the animals are mistreated. They believe that
Buying leather directly contributes to factory farms and slaughterhouses because skin is the most economically important byproduct of the meat industry.
Carbon Footprint and Ecological Impacts of Factory Farming
Factory farms where animals are reared for both meat and leather products have a huge environmental impact. Not only is there an input of feed, water, fossil fuels but they a also produce a huge amount of excrement . The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has even acknowledged that livestock pollution is the greatest threat to their waterways.
Toxic chemicals used to tan leather
Tanneries use a cocktail of chemicals to process the raw skin or hyde into the usable leather material that appears in shoes. Mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and various oils, dyes, and finishes, some of them cyanide-based are all used and most leather is chrome-tanned creating waste that is considered hazardous by the EPA.
Eco friendly leather alternatives
Whilst there are many vegan alternatives to leather that do not use any animal products, they are not all eco friendly. As most vegan alternatives are made from synthetic materials they do not biodegrade. Melissa shoes have an interesting solution. They use recycled and recycable plastic to make their shoes, not only giving them huge versatility with their designs but also creating a vegan shoe that is also eco friendly. Other vegan and eco friendly alternatives to leather include organic hemp, cork, recycled PET,barkcloth and recycled ultrasuede as used by Olsenhaus.