I’ve always had a thing for shoes. Aged 4, I chose bright red dolly shoes to wear to school. Everyone else wore black or navy shoes (as my teacher did point out) but I didn’t mind that one bit.
Fast forward through my other shoe choices (not a ‘sensible’ shoe in sight over those years) to my choice to go vegan last July. It might sound silly but one of the things that had held me back from going vegan was shoes. Now, I know going down the no leather route isn’t for everyone but for me it felt part and parcel. I’m definitely a believer in putting my money where my mouth is… or where my feet are!
In fact, when asked in the early months what I missed about going vegan, my only response was shoes. In those early months, I found it hard to find nice or cool shoes that I wanted to buy… but now I think I’ve cracked it. So for anyone else who’s on the hunt for non-leather shoes or who’s just curious about other options, I thought I’d share my ‘finding vegan shoes’ tips.
So, here’s the thing, it’s totally possible to find cool lovely vegan shoes in the UK. It’s not as easy as I’d like it to be but by supporting the people who make nice animal-free options, I’m hoping they’ll make more shoes (yay) and then maybe more people will think about making them too (double yay).
So here’s my two methods for finding vegan shoes – and my favourite places to buy them.
1. Deliberately vegan shoes.
These are the people committed to making vegan shoes more accessible and my gosh I love them for it. Their shoes can be pricer than high street but all the options below are so well made that I’ve been really happy with them. (Living in London puts shoes through their paces so I can also testify that they all wear well too!)
a. Beyond Skin. Natalie Portman wears their shoes so you’re in good company. I introduced a friend to them and she bought her wedding and bridesmaid shoes from them. Me, I love their fun flats – I get loads of compliments when I wear their ‘b flats’ and they’re comfy to wear all day too (always a bonus).
b. Good Guys (Don’t Wear Leather). This Paris-based brand ship to the UK (and they’re super nice too… I had a bit of a faff returning my shoes – thanks post office – for another size and they were really great about it). They do these summery sandals but also colourful brogues and boot trainers too. I have my eye on their stripy shoes for this summer.
c. Free People’s vegan collection. I can’t explain how much I love this Free People’s vegan shoe collection. I basically want everything in every colour. And I’d love them to do more! Both the ‘bad ass heels’ and the ‘silly boots’ below are two of my favourites at the moment… somehow I always feel happier when these are on my feet!
d. Urban Outfitters vegan boot and sandals. I have two pair of vegan boots from Urban Outfitters which are go-to, everyday boots. Urban Outfitters don’t have a filter (please add one) so you can’t search for their vegan shoes online, you just have to look at the ‘details’ section but they do have a few options which is always nice.
2. Accidentally vegan shoes.
So here’s the surprising thing… there are lots of vegan shoes on the high street. They’re ‘accidentally vegan’ rather than deliberately so, but I don’t mind that one bit. It’s easier to ‘spot’ the vegan versions online as you can add filters or search for ‘synthetic’ – whereas in the shops, you have to turn over the shoe to look at the materials label. (If it’s got all diamond shapes then you’re good, if it has the little stretched-out hide symbol then it has leather somewhere.)
a. ASOS and their ‘non-leather’ filter. I love ASOS’s non-leather filter… You just go to shoes, scroll down to the bottom filter and ask to only see ones without leather, like my Pull & Bear glitter boots below. The good thing is that there’s lots of options, the bad thing is that there’s lots of options (sorry, bank account!).
b. Miss KG from Kurt Geiger. I bought from Miss KG before I went vegan as I really like printed and sparkly shoes… and I was delighted to realise how many of their shoes are ‘accidentally vegan’ too. So it’s one of my first stops if I’m looking for something fun.
c. New Look, Zara, River Island etc… A surprising number of high street shops do non-leather shoes, and they do tend to be cheaper (which redresses my bank account a little!). Again, shopping online is easier so you can filter what you want to see.
Happy shopping kids (yes, I’m aware I’m a total enabler here!!!). That said, I’m always looking for more vegan shoes and adding them to my vegan shoes collection on Pinterest, so if you want to enable me too then I’m always happy about that too. If anyone knows of any other places/tips, let me know… me and my feet will be your biggest fans!