Over the past few years, sustainable fashion advocates have been sounding the alarm on faux leather. While it's easy to assume vegan leather is more ethical and environmentally friendly than animal leather, that isn't always the case.
Separating the good brands from the bad can be challenging, so we've done the hard work for you. Below, we've rounded up eight shoe brands that utilize sustainable materials, ethical production practices, and cutting-edge animal leather alternatives. Whether you are looking for vegetarian shoes, vegan winter boots, or specific styles like vegan combat boots or vegan Chelsea boots, these brands offer a ray of vegan leather boots. Their fashionable vegan boots make an excellent addition to any cold weather wardrobe.
What Makes Boots Vegan?
Aside from the materials being used, vegans also consider the entire manufacturing process. Even though the boots are made from non-animal products, this does not mean other parts of the boots. Such as shoe glue used or the products tested on animals. That is why it is important to do your research before purchasing.
Many vegans also take environmental impacts into consideration. In general vegan shoes are considered to leave smaller carbon footprints. However, it is not always the case.
Why You Will Want To Ditch The Faux Leather
Dig a little deeper, and you'll learn that most faux products are made from plastic-based materials that release harmful microplastics and contribute to landfill waste. Many faux leather handbags, shoes, and accessories use glues, dyes, and chemical treatments that contain beeswax, casein, gelatin, and other animal-derived products.
What Are Vegan Leathers Made Out Of
Most vegan materials are made from polyurethane (PU) and Polyvinyl chloride. However, sustainable materials such as pineapple leather, apple peel, corks, cactus leather, fruit waste, and recycled material are available.
8 Top Vegan Shoe Brands
1 Stella McCartney
A lifelong vegetarian and daughter of an animal rights activist, Stella McCartney has never used leather, furs, or animal skins in any of her designs. Instead, her eponymous label's boots, handbags, and leather jackets are crafted using some of the highest quality vegan leather in the world. With styles spanning from timeless wardrobe staples to trend-setting statement shoes, every pair is worth splurging on.
The London-based luxury label's next sustainable fashion frontier: mushroom leather. That is right! An innovative material that looks and feels like leather that is made from the underground root structure of mushrooms.
In the year 2018, it marked the runway debut of the world's first Mylo™️ mycelium leather clothing and handbags. Rumor has it Stella McCartney's mycelium footwear is just around the corner.
Footwear designer Alfredo Piferi is on a mission to change public perception of faux leather footwear, one stylish pair of vegan boots at a time. His PETA-approved shoe brand is 100% animal-free, opting for innovative bio-based materials over harmful animal leather. Dedicated to responsible production and sustainable design, every pair is ethically made with exquisite craftsmanship and careful attention to detail.
Piferi upper material is crafted from BIOVEG- certified Bio Vegan Nappa. A material made of 48% of bio polyols from non-food and GMO-free field corn! This material has a 13% lighter carbon footprint, 44% less energy, and reduced 32% CFC emission than the traditional production method. The vegan suede is made of 100% recycled PET. This means post-consumer waste such as plastic bottles will not end up in landfill or ocean!
He often finds inspiration in surrealist art and modern architecture, resulting in timeless silhouettes with sculptural elements. Investing in your values has never looked better.
3 A Perfect Jane
A brand under Immaculate Vegan, the vegan shoe brand A Perfect Jane was founded out of love for animals— including the founder's dog Jane. 1% of profits goes to Melief Animal Sanctuary to support animals who were abandoned, neglected, or sent to slaughter.
Instead of petroleum-based PVC, the label's sustainable vegetable leather is made using fibers derived from the industrial leftover apple waste from the apple juice industry and transformed into FRUMAT. As a result, its products are cruelty-free and PETA-approved. Who knew wearing apple leather could be so fashionable?
4 Good Guys Don't Wear Leather
Good Guys Don't Wear Leather prides itself on being France's first vegan shoe company. Its high-end, cruelty-free footwear utilizes a bio-based leather alternative, AppleSkin™, which is made using fruit juice waste recovered from Bolzano, a northern city in Italy.
The PETA-approved footwear label is a favorite of Emma Watson and other eco-conscious celebrities— and for a good reason too. Every pair is handmade in an ethical Italian factory only six kilometers from where the innovative AppleSkin™ material is produced. Supporting the on-demand production system, Good Guys Don't Wear Leather employs shows you're serious about reducing your carbon footprint.
5 Coconuts by Mattise
Coconuts by Matisse is an affordable, vegan-friendly shoe line from the Los Angeles-based footwear brand Matisse. Most (but not all) styles are made using vegan leather and suede materials, finished with artisanal treatments and trendy design details.
The secret to superior quality vegan shoes: skilled artisans equipped with innovative materials. Matisse has partnered with the same family-owned and operated factories since it first launched in 2001. They utilize non-animal glue, vegetable-based dyes, and 100% recycled paper products to ensure every pair of Coconuts by Matisse is truly 100% animal-free.
Say hello to your new favorite vegan boots brand: Alohas. Each stylish pair is crafted in the coastal region of Alicante, Spain, using high-end vegan leather materials and an on-demand model that prevents overproduction. Instead of following fashion's traditional markdown calendar, they allow customers to order next season's must-have styles early at a discounted price.
Alohas' vegan boots come in every color and silhouette you could ask for: combat, Chelsea, knee-high, and everything in between. Click the carbon offset option at checkout to further minimize the environmental impact of your next favorite pair.
7 Dr. Martens
Did you know that Dr. Martens offers its best-selling styles in vegan leather? Crafted entirely from animal-free materials, the British brand's unisex boots offer uncompromising style, durability, and versatility. Plus, they've got the grooved sides, yellow stitching, and practical heel loop you love.
Built on Dr. Martens' iconic air-cushioned soles, they offer all-day comfort and excellent traction. But just like the genuine leather original, it may take a few wears to break in the heavy-duty vegan leather. Over time, they'll mold to the unique shape of your feet.
Aera goes above and beyond other vegan boots brands to minimize its environmental footprint. The New York-based label is proudly the first B Corp in the luxury footwear industry, offsetting 110% of its carbon offsets and plastic usage to help heal the planet.
Aera's certified-vegan shoes are artisanally made in Veneto, Italy using cutting-edge sustainable materials. This commitment to sustainability and ethics helped the brand earn the Butterfly Mark from Positive Luxury, a lucrative trust mark presented to luxury lifestyle brands with a positive impact.