If I said that veganism is a trend, you’d probably close this tab and probably refuse to read a single other post of mine. Being vegan ISN’T a trend. It’s a lifestyle based not only around your diet, but also the products you use. That means cosmetics, clothing, shoes and much more (candles, for example). Vegan products are often more considerate of the environment, because they’re, for example, not made from real leather or other materials that burden our planet. Right now, sustainability and the environment are big topics among fashion brands and designers, so it should be no surprise that you can find vegan products in our portfolio, too. But what does this mean, how to spot vegan products, and why should you care about them? Get comfy, and let’s find out.


You might not recognize vegan shoes at first glance. They don’t differ in appearance, but in what they’re made from. The term, “vegan shoes”, can be applied to any shoes that aren’t made from materials originating from animals. And that doesn’t just mean the upper, but also glue for example. The glue used in shoe manufacturing is commonly made from animal bones or skin. Unfortunately, the term is so complex, that even though the shoes are made from eco leather, leatherette or anything similar, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re really vegan friendly.


As mentioned before, vegan friendly shoes are those that were manufactured with exactly 0% of animal-based ingredients. Vegan shoes are made from vegan leather or other non-animal materials. Vegan leather is a material made from synthetic, ultra-fine microfibers. These microfibers are comparable to the fibers in human hair. Their structure is defined by two polymers – polyamide and polyurethane, that have similar properties to leather. This is why vegan leather is elastic and nicely fits your foot. The result is a material that’s three times lighter than same-density real leather, that’s highly durable, waterproof and also breathable. Another bonus is that vegan leather has the same lifetime as real, natural leather. You might argue that this vegan leather is made from polymers, which isn’t exactly more gentle to the environment, but the fact is that vegan shoes are ethically sourced in fair conditions.

If you’re not a fan of either, try materials like piñatex, cork or other recycled materials.


As the name suggests, Piñatex is a material made from pineapple leaves, because they’re firm, waterproof, antiallergenic and breathable. While writing this article, I was awed at the amount of eco-friendly materials we’ve been able to come up with so far. And I’m excited, because if material innovation continues at this rate, fashion will soon be much more sustainable, and it won’t be just another buzzword.


I’m sure there’s no need to introduce cork. Cork is a great sustainable material and I honestly believe that we’ll be hearing about it much more in the future! It’s made from cork oak, which is a tree that helps fight deforestation, slows down wildfires and is easily recyclable. As a material, it’s waterproof, maintenance-friendly and very light. Say for yourself, doesn’t this sound like the ideal material for sneaker production?

Recycled PET bottles and tires

Recycling and upcycling are terms that, in this day and age, are in all of our vocabularies. While shopping, I find more and more clothing made from recycled materials. Firstly, they conserve energy during production. Secondly, less CO2 is released into the atmosphere. And finally, things that would otherwise take ages to decompose on the dump are repurposed.


Naturally, hemp can be found as a weed, so it’s more resilient and doesn’t require as much care as cotton, for example. And since the manufacturers of vegan-friendly shoes found out, they’ve begun using them in several sneaker elements. Hemp fibers are some of the most durable naturally-occuring fibers, they’re breathable, they have antiseptic properties and they are excellent at absorbing moisture.


For many people, being vegan doesn’t just mean that they don’t eat eggs, honey and other products of animal origin. Their message is to minimize the suffering of both animals and the Earth, so apart from changing their eating habits, they also look for other ways to help. That’s how you get vegan shoes, and not just a vegan menu at McDonald’s. We’re in no way forcing you to go vegan, but if you want to help Earth at least a bit, look for signs that point to “vegan” or “vegan-friendly” when shopping.


Nothing’s black and white and while shopping for vegan shoes, you might get caught off-guard. One of the things that you might commonly come across is “eco-leather”, which is made from PVC and, during the manufacturing process, leftovers of real leather are used. So they’re not really vegan shoes. Just for your information – leatherette isn’t a vegan material either. So watch out for these things and check what the shoes are made from. Luckily, most brands state the composition of their products and if not, you can always Google it.

While shopping, it’s also good practice to take a look at the whole shoe and check if, for example, the inside or the insole isn’t made from leather or wool. Stay on your toes – it’s the only way you won’t fall for marketing labels or greenwashing, but more on that another time.

From the sneakers available at Footshop, I heartily recommend the newly innovated Stan Smiths by adidas. Not only are they a legendary silhouette that you can wear all the time, but they’re made from recycled materials and the upper is made from the vegan leather that we’ve discussed above, which, in my opinion, is definitely a win-win!

For the colder parts of the year, I heavily recommend vegan shoes by none other than Dr. Martens (look for “vegan” in the title). They’re guaranteed to keep you warm, they’re sustainable and not a square inch of leather was used during the manufacturing process.

What are vegan shoes?
Shoes that don’t use any type of animal labor or animal-based materials during manufacture – including glue, seams, or insoles.

What are vegan shoes made from?
All kinds of materials. You can find vegan sneakers made from vegan leather, cork, piňatex or hemp. And it’s completely up to you which one you like the most.

What to watch out for when buying vegan shoes?
Definitely the materials that the shoes are made from. The best way to find out is to take a good, close look and read all the labels on the shoe or packaging. Shoes made from leatherette or “eco-leather” aren’t considered vegan.