I wish I could tell you that these are all my winter shoes. There’re more. And I know there are seasoned vegans who wish I could tell you that all my shoes are faux leather. They’re not.
Here’s a sampling of my shoes collection, leather and non-leather and the where and why I’ve chosen to keep, buy or have my eye on them!
While the Middle Eastern climate affords me the distinct advantage of being able to wear barely there synthetic sandals, ten months of the year, it’s the laced-up, strung-up and zipped-up winter shoe collection that have us all sweating over how to find breathable, superior quality footwear without investing in leather.
Personally I don’t see sense or justification of instantly rebuilding my shoe collection by throwing out my past leather purchases. Instead I’ve donated or sold the leather pairs that weren’t truly comfortable or not regularly worn, while I now buy only 100% man-made pairs.
I still want to be a discerning shoe buyer though, and there in lies some difficulty. Leather is generally comfortable, porous and forgiving, while non-leather can be quite the opposite. Mind you, I haven’t stepped into the faux leather shoes of Stella McCartney, but how many of us can afford that anyhow?
So high-end, animal-friendly designers aside, the vast majority of high-street retailers selling non-leather footwear are doing so with the intent of producing products made of inexpensive materials for competitive pricing and improved profit margins. Thereby quantity often overrides quality. This leaves the vegan shopper spoilt for seasonal choice, but scrambling for a quality-based purchase.
Safe to say that finding worthy alternatives is going to take tenacity, time and trial.