I am always on the hunt for good (read: cute and comfortable) vegan shoes. (Foot Note) Here are the reasons I find it difficult:
- Shoes kind of suck in general. They pinch, are stiff, cost a lot, and make your feet smell.
- There are so many well designed, really adorable leather shoes taunting me from every window. Jerks.
- Vegan shoes are often “cheap” version of leather shoes and not manufactured to last long, support lots of walking, or breath well.
- Those vegan shoes that are designed to last, cost and arm and a leg. What good is a pair if you can only use one?
- There are many choices online, but we all know how important trying on a pair of shoes can be. Some shoes are + or – a full size from style to style, and brand to brand.
Of course, in Seattle we have it pretty good compared to other cities. I find vegan options at every turn. Here are some places you should try if you haven’t already:
UPDATE APRIL 17, 2010: The Chocolate Shoe Box: Seattle opens it’s own vegan shoe store on Phinney Ridge!!! Get the details here.
The Sneakery: great shoes for girls and boys, including well-made, meant-to-last shoes by brand like Vegetarian Shoes and Macbeth. Last I was there they were exceptionally willing to point out every vegan brand that they carried. www.thesneakery.com
Nordstrom: They often have good canvas shoes, by the old standbys (Keds, etc.) but they also sell Steve Madden’s line for teenagers, called Madden Girl, which are often non-leather. This is a brand to look for boots this fall. They also have the new vegan Pumas. Only good for those of you who don’t mind shopping at a store that sells leather and fur. http://shop.nordstrom.com
Payless ShoeSource: Of course, the upside is that there is a ton of selection (probably 80% of the shoes are not-leather), the downside is that everything is made overseas, packed with chemicals, and won’t always last more than a season. BUT, they did just start carrying the eco-friendly vegan brand, Zoe & Zac. I bought this pair (below) last month. They also carry vegan workboots/safty boots that meet OSHA standards. www.payless.com
John Fluevog (Downtown): Yes, it is true, John has finally designed a line of vegan shoes, especially good for the gentleman looking to dress up. They are mostly microfiber, with rubber soles sans nasty chemicals. They’re even biodegradable. www.fluevog.com
Market Street Shoes: I wish this store had even more vegan options, but they carry some of the best designed shoes in the city. They have great brands like Simple, No Sweat, and New Balance. www.marketstreetshoes.com
Thankfully for you athletes, almost every brand of athletic shoes has some non-leather options, mostly because they are finding the new synthetics actually hold up better, breath better, etc. I wonder how long until dress shoe designers make the same discovery?
I am sure I am missing some other great places around town. Please tell me where you shop in Seattle. I need some new vegan fashion haunts.
*Not vegan but wondering why you might want to avoid leather? Check out this very short article from the environmental perspective, or this one, from the animal cruelty-avoidance perspective (no pictures, don’t worry).