Ask Allie: Vegan Shoes with Style

I don't wear leather and would love to find cute shoes that are cruelty-free.
Allie, would you please do a piece on vegan shoes? I don’t wear or use animal products and have a hard time finding shoes that are stylish and vegan. Do you know where I should look?
Have you considered a ‘Going Green’ post on cruelty-free fashion? I’d particularly be interested in footwear, thank you.

You ask, I answer! While I do wear leather, I know not everyone does and I respect that. I also am thrilled to see that over the years there are more brands who provide shoes that are not only cruelty-free, but are also quite stylish! Here’s a few companies I have found recently that offer fun, fashionable, and vegan footwear:

vegan cruelty free shoes fashion
Click here for details on the shoes in the image

Moo Shoes
Moo Shoes is a vegan-owned business that sells an assortment of cruelty-free footwear, bags, tees, and other accessories. While they have an online boutique, they also have a shop in New York City. Moo Shoes carries everything from the vegan versions of Doc Martens to cruelty-free running shoes, to sexy high-heeled boots and heels. I love the nail head detail on ‘Jordan’ pump from Novacas, the ‘Angela’ strappy heel or the ‘Cassandra’ peeptoe (both from Klub Nico) would be perfect for every wedding and holiday party on your calendar, and the ‘Expoze’ wedge from Madden Girl is hot hot hot (you know I am partial to the leopard print version)!

While LuLu’s is not a cruelty-free retailer, they do have a surprisingly large and stylish selection of vegan shoes on their site. If you want the craziest and most popular footwear trends made from vegan products, this is your site. Wedges, platforms, booties, stilettos and more! The Qupid Luxe ‘Spirite’ heels are utterly awesome and I want them in my closet right away, the City Classified ‘Kodey’ flats let you have your cake and eat it too with an adorable Dalmatian print in cruelty-free materials, and the Mixx ‘Laura’ pump is begging for a night out on the town (or a fabulous New Years’ Eve bash).

Olsenhaus was founded by Elizabeth Olsen; her mission was to merge passions for design, fashion, function and being a voice for animals, the environment, transparent business practices and unwavering values in ethical and social responsibilities.  Her shoes are cruelty-free and utterly gorgeous.  I love the ‘Tahiti' which is a blend of bootie and sandal, a neutral base with a pop of color that is unexpectedly versatile.  Get your boot fix with the ‘Beauty’ over-the-knee style which comes in a delicious indigo microfiber made from recycled TV screens. ‘Andromeda’ is a perfect bootie for fall, with the hidden wedge and clean lines it’s on trend and versatile enough to look great with pants and skirts.

Vegan Chic
Vegan Chic offers just what their name states – chic shoes, bags, and accessories that are vegan. They carry many popular vegan brands, including the previously mentioned Olsenhaus.  I love the ‘Oracle’ from Olsenhaus which is sleek, modern, and terribly chic, the Mary Jane from Pavilion is the perfect pair for the collegiate chic trends this fall, and the Spring Vegan Bootie takes a style that is very popular right now but offers it in a cruelty-free fabric.

Every shoe Neuaura sells is 100% vegan.  Neuaura never sells items with leather, fur, silk, wool, shell, or pearls, no animal by-products are ever used during manufacturing and/or finishing processes.  Not only that, they have a great selection of very chic and elegant footwear.  I love the ‘Aster’ oxford, which is unique with it’s variety of colors and cut-outs, but right on trend for this fall.  The ELM’ pump is the perfect classic pumps for everything from interviews to cocktail parties and has a fabulous pointed toe to elongate the leg.  And I love the rock and roll vibe of the ‘Ibis’ Mary Jane, which would look smashing with everything from a little black dress to distressed boyfriend jeans.

And now I ask you readers, do you look for vegan shoes and accessories? Where have you found fashionable cruelty-free footwear?

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  1. Jess
    September 4, 2012 / 1:16 pm

    I agree that just relying on cruelty-free as a shorthand is an oversimplification, but the environmental consequences of farming animals for food and clothing are just as important to consider alongside the consequences of production/potential waste of synthetics. Creating a demand for durable, animal-free products fosters an environment of innovation where we can hopefully come to find more sustainable solutions that marry concern for the environment, the need to be more judicious about our use of all resources as 7B+ people need to make use of them, and the desire to remove unnecessary death and promote compassion wherever we can. I vote with my dollars as a vegan, so I thank you for this article and welcome any vegan suggestions when you have them!

  2. Vanessa
    September 1, 2012 / 5:49 pm

    I was vegetarian for about eight years and during most of that time did not buy leather (or fur, although I still don’t buy fur). To clarify, I think the comment above regarding “cruelty-free” products refers to those that aren’t cruel to non-human animals (as opposed to looking for non-sweatshop products for instance). Anyway, I started buying leather again as I found that most synthetic materials in my price range were cheap and hurt my feet. And back then, sites like Moo Shoes had really frumpy looking styles–big black mary janes and ugly sandals, haha. If you care about being eco-friendly and cruelty-free, I think a good way to do this is to buy from secondhand and vintage shops. That way you can get animal products but you aren’t supporting the industry and recycling of old clothing, shoes, etc. is also green.

  3. Rachel Rossen
    August 31, 2012 / 3:49 am

    I’ve seen a lot of non-animal products shoes and boots in Evans’ fall collection; it’s one of my favourite shoe sellers, since I need confortable shoes and extra wide calfs.

  4. Lisette
    August 31, 2012 / 12:27 am

    They’re probably not green, but I’ve found a number of comfy non-leather shoes at Payless Shoe Source, of all places. Not all of their styles are to my taste or are work appropriate, but it’s surprising the number I’ve found that I’ve worn for years at work.

  5. Marsha
    August 30, 2012 / 11:01 pm

    i buy Neuaura shoes and their styles out of Brazil are really great quality. i’ve been wearing a few pairs for over 3 years now. they also write on their site about how their factory manufactures responsibly meeting environmental guidelines set by their community.

  6. August 30, 2012 / 11:00 am

    Hi Allie–I love your blog and am a daily lurker. I understand the ethical issues involved with animal products but it’s not the same as being environmentally friendly (referring to one of the above reader’s comments you use). The synthetic materials shoes are made of can actually be worse for the environment and for your own health, not to mention what kind of conditions their workers labor in (is that cruelty-free?). Who knows what some of those vinyls and plastics are truly made of since much of it comes from China. And they don’t recycle or biodegrade. Some of them don’t even last through a season, which just makes more waste. It’s a difficult choice and the fashion industry in general needs to focus even more on the kinds of ethical issues they present while encouraging us all to buy buy buy. Research is good and so is contacting manufacturers directly so they know we’re paying attention. But for now it’s a balancing act. Just my 2 cents!

    • August 30, 2012 / 11:09 am

      And a wonderful two cents you provided. Thank you Joan for pointing that out. This is something that I have thought about for years. I used to be a vegetarian and was going vegan, but found I was eating far more processed food to have my diet balanced. I also knew so many chemicals that are often used to make leather-like products. One can be eco-friendly and wear vegan accessories, but I do agree, it’s important to know how those vegan pieces are made and if they also stand up to one’s environmental ethics as well. And to speak with one’s pocketbook – support those brands who DO treat animals, factory workers, and the environment with respect and care. 🙂

    • kaijsa
      August 30, 2012 / 12:48 pm

      I was just about to make a very similar comment. The “cruelty-free” label is actually one I despise because it’s such an oversimplification and comes across as extremely judgemental at the same time. I personally wear leather, but I also make a big effort to invest in clothing made by ethical companies and to wear things for several years and recycle as much as possible. Fast fashion is often animal-free, but isn’t necessarily a responsible choice.

      • August 30, 2012 / 1:16 pm

        I did find in my search that many “fast fashion” sites promote their animal free products, but their ways of creating such products leave much to be desired. The biggest reason I wear leather is because of it’s longevity. I have bags I bought in high school that still look great and even wear some boots that belonged to my mom and she bought them in the ’60s. I feel better buying something that will get years or decades of wear than buying fast fashion that will need to be replaced after a season, no matter the textile. 🙂

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