A Guide to Vegan Sneakers
By Space Coast Daily // September 13, 2020
Understanding the Sneaker’s Material List
For quite some time now footwear has come at the expense of animals. Almost every part of the shoes you wear (e.g. leather, suede, glue) is made from some part of an animal. As more people grow compassionate and considerate, technology is also playing a part and now this is changing today.
Now it’s easier to create vegan sneakers – shoes that don’t harm any animals in their creation.
A Look at Sneaker Glue
Today Nike is selling vegan footwear throughout the world. This is because several years ago Nike chose to eliminate animal-based glue from their manufacturing process.
Instead, they opted to use a 100% synthetic alternative. Of course, Nike isn’t the only brand on the market today who has chosen to get rid of the animal-based glues that were once the sole means for sneaker glue production.
They’ve instead opted to make sure that every part of their shoes (yes, even the glue itself) is vegan. In fact, you can look at Nike as a leader in this regard, Sneaker Freaker says that since Nike first started doing this in 2017 the use of synthetic based glue is now more of the norm than the exception.
Some of the other really popular brands who’ve also followed suit in this regard include Adidas, Reebok, Vans, and Converse.
These brands, and others, are now using glue that’s made from petroleum and function just as well as they did when animals were used in the glue making process.
Understanding the Sneaker’s Material List
The easiest way to determine whether or not a shoe is vegan-friendly is to check its material list. In doing so you’ll find that some shoes provide an in-depth breakdown of the materials they use including each and every material that was used in manufacturing the shoe.
However, it isn’t always possible to find such an in-depth listing. In these cases, you’ll have to do what’s known as “code-breaking” to determine what materials were used in the manufacturing of the shoes.
While you may not realize it, there’s a lot of tradition behind the art of shoemaking. Therefore much of the terminology and markings that are used have become an enigma to us today.
This is because many sneakers don’t use words, but you can still find a sticker (typically on the insole) that breaks down each and every component that’s used in manufacturing the shoe. Unfortunately to most people, this looks like quite the puzzle, but once you’re “in the know,” you’ll see that it’s actually quite easy to understand this information.
One thing you should know is that typically when the shoe’s upper “leather” is referenced, the manufacturer isn’t referring to leather at all. Typically vegan manufacturers will use synthetic materials that are designed to look like real leather. This material isn’t entirely synthetic though.
By examining the way the shoe feels in your hand you can usually tell whether or not it’s made from genuine leather. This is because genuine leather will usually have additional markings on the box.
For instance, if you’re looking at a pair of Nike’s and you see the word “premium” on the box, immediately a red flag should go off telling you that they used real leather in their manufacturing of this shoe. Other companies will simply indicate this with the letter “L.”
There are also a few other symbols that you should watch for including:
• The symbol that looks like interwoven toenails: This is referred to by shoemakers as a “Woolmark.” It tells you whether or not there’s any wool used in the manufacturing of the shoes.
• The symbol of crisscrossing horizontal and vertical lines: This indicates that textiles were used in the manufacturing of the shoes. When it looks like a flattened cowhide you’ll know that leather or suede was used. If there’s a diamond inside of this shape, coated leather was used, but a diamond by itself means other materials were used (e.g. unconventional materials including wood, plastic, or rubber).
All-Vegan Sneaker Brands to Take Note Of
Unfortunately, most major brands don’t offer vegan sneakers. This is why new vegan-focused brands are arising today. These brands offer everything from simple sophistication to outlandish designs. While some of these shoes are handmade, others come off of major factory lines.
Some are even made from organic items including natural rubber and cotton, coconut fiber, tree bark, and even stone. These are just some of the many examples of what’s available on the market today. The Good Trade has put together a list of reputable vegan sneakers that you can wear for every occasion today. Some of the top brands on the market include:
Veja from Paris, France aren’t only vegan, but they’re also organic. These shoes are great for everything from work to leisure and they’re also unisex. Handmade in Brazil, they use organic cotton and wild rubber from the Amazon rainforest.
Native Shoes from Vancouver, Canada first entered the market in 2009. They use animal-free microfiber leather which also makes these shoes ultra-light on your feet.
Ahimsa from Brazil first entered the market in 2013. These are high-quality shoes that use a combination of vegan leather and microfiber. Both sleek and casual you can wear these shoes anywhere. What’s even better is Ahimsa is committed to being the world’s only 100% vegan shoe factory.
Thousand Fell designs their shoes in New York City and manufactures them in a family-owned factory in Brazil. Not only are their shoes vegan but they’re also focused on durability since they understand that 97% of shoes eventually make their way to landfills.
As such, these shoes are made of recycled plastic and rubber, as well as palm leaf fibers, coconut husk, and quartz. As part of their eco-friendly initiative they also collect old sneakers to upcycle or recycle.
Now that you know that vegan sneakers are an option and that they’re just as well made as any other sneaker on the market today, you can’t go wrong by buying a pair to include in your wardrobe. The options are great so you’ll easily find something to fit your style.