While it’s not difficult to find fake leather shoes – the cheapest models in large chain stores tend to be fake leather – it can be difficult to find high-quality faux leather shoes, especially if you don’t want to support companies that use sweatshops.
Another problem is finding high-quality shoes that aren’t held together with animal glue. What you think about the ethics of buying products containing glue made from bones may vary. I can see that there may be something to the argument that the glue is only a by-product, and not the product for which the animal was killed, and that the animal would have been killed anyway even if no one bought animal glue, but in complex ethical issues I tend to favour the side of caution.
The internet is a vital tool for making sure products come from an ethical source, and with a little bit of research, it’s possible to find high-quality shoes which don’t exploit any kind of animals, be they human or non-human. Even some of the big sports brands make some trainers without animal glue.
One particularly ethical brand, which I am personally fond of, and which ticks the boxes mentioned above, is Vegetarian Shoes. Vegetarian Shoes are a UK company with a few shops and a successful online store that ships both locally and internationally. They don’t use anything from animals in their shoes, and they don’t use sweatshops.
The company was founded by vegetarian Robin Webb in the 1990s to bring animal friendly shoes to the market, and now has a great range of products for both men and women, which in addition to shoes also includes belts, bags, insoles and polish.
The Liam Shoe by Vegetarian Shoes
Already owning two pairs of Vegetarian Shoes (Black fake leather ankle boots for work, and vintage style grey fake suede boots for generally being awesome), I was delighted to review a third; The Liam Shoe – a stylish pair of brogues.
As I live in North London, I am surrounded by people more fashionable and cooler than me. These shoes were exactly what was needed to remedy the situation. Instead of shuffling into a hip bar in my disintegrating trainers, I can now strut in like a rakish dandy.
I measure the stylishness of clothes by their ability to attract women to me – it seems the only useful measure – and after only two days of wearing these shoes, four women had complimented me on them, so I give them full marks for style!
They are made of brown faux suede, and while I think the material is stiffer than real suede, none of my three flatmates could visually tell that they were fake, even close up.
Two thumbs up
I find the three pairs of Vegetarian Shoes that I own comfortable; and I can also say that I find them to be very durable, despite the fact that I wear them every day.
So as a company I would highly recommend Vegetarian Shoes: plenty of choice, non-sweatshop, and animal friendly. Two thumbs up.
We are happy to award Vegetarian Shoes with The Vegan Woman’s recommendation label!