Shoes. Shoes are a problem.
These are among my favorites. They’re nothing fancy — just some Sketchers I picked up at an outlet mall. Still, they’re comfortable, they fit perfectly, and after six years, they’ve held up very, very well.
They are also made of leather. Cow skin. Ugh.
Finding vegan belts, bags, and other accessories is easy. Vegan shoes? Not so much.
First, you have to vet the ones made of leather and suede. That eliminates 90% of shoes right off the bat — especially dress shoes.
Then, there’s the question of adhesives. Most shoes are held together, in part, by glue. And glue, of course, is often made from animal products. So, even if a shoe is constructed almost entirely of canvas and rubber — like, say, the much-beloved Converse All-Star — you’re rarely sure what’s gone into it, much less that it’s cruelty-free.
In my book, the only way to find truly vegan shoes is to look for those that are advertised as such. I’ll warn you, though: the pickings are slim.
Dr. Martens has some vegan shoes in its lineup. They’re not bad, but they can read a little “80s”.
Macbeth sneakers? Cute, but a tad monotonous.
Flip-flops? Crocs? Not exactly work-friendly for most folks. And since they’re made largely of plastic, they’re not entirely eco-friendly, either.
So far, my favorite vegan shoes have come from Saucony. The Bullet is well-styled and looks great with jeans or khakis — anything with a slim fit. The Jazz Low-Pro isn’t technically what I’d call “low-profile” since they hit around my ankle, but they’re hugely comfortable and hold up well. I especially recommend them for gym use.
Unfortunately, I can’t wear those all the time. My job requires me to attend/host a number of dressy events throughout the year, and there are occasions when I need something more formal than sneakers on my feet.
And apart from that, there’s the climate to consider. Sauconys are fine when the weather’s nice and toasty, as it frequently is here in New Orleans. But in January and February? Not so much. That goes double if I have to travel someplace with — yikes — snow.
If you’ve got suggestions, I’m more than willing to listen.