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Vegetarian or vegan shoes are made with materials that are not derived from animal products. This includes leather and even the glue which is often used to fix shoes together and is made of animal bones.
People wear vegan and vegetarian shoes for several reasons. For some, it is part of a lifestyle choice that is combined with a preference for not eating meat either for ethical or animal welfare reasons. For others, it is more about the environmental impact associated with breeding animals whose skins are used to make leather and tanning leather that uses a cocktail of harmful chemicals. For some people, choosing vegan shoes is about choosing to live a healthier and chemically free life.
If you choose to wear vegan and vegetarian shoes, you can be sure that the animal has been affected in some way to produce your shoes.
But aren't synthetic alternatives to leather damaging the environment?
Yes, many synthetic alternatives to leather have a significant environmental impact which includes the use of non-renewable resources (oil) to make them, pollutants caused by their manufacture and their inability to biodegrade at the end of their life. While these alternatives may be acceptable to those who do not wear leather shoes simply because of animal welfare, it is difficult to say whether the various aspects of their environmental impact produce more or less than leather. If you want to make sure you choose the most eco-friendly vegan, you should look for the all-natural alternatives to leather. Manufacturers of ethical shoes make natural and biodegradable vegan shoes in a variety of materials, including cork, natural latex, coconut peel and organic hemp.
So are vegan and vegetarian shoes as long-lasting as leather shoes?
It depends on the type and style of the shoe and the material from which it is made. It also depends on how you take care of the shoes. Hemp is extremely strong and a good alternative to leather for casual shoes. It is also breathable and can be colored in many different colors. If the shoes are well manufactured and maintained, they should last well.
Do vegan and vegetarian shoes look as good as leather shoes?
This is about individual taste. Many people like the look of leather and there are some leather options that look almost identical to leather. But these are usually synthetic and so not good for the environment. Other alternatives to leather include wool, hemp and cork can be made into beautiful, elegant and trendy shoes. There are many styles available so you should be able to find some that you like the look of.
Vegan and vegetarian shoes are a great way to minimize your environmental impact, provided you choose natural alternatives. You should shop for great styles that are good to look at, durable and long lasting.