Choosing the best vegan shoes for this year’s Top 16 list was a real challenge. It gets more and more difficult as a ton of great new companies enter this exploding market.
Many people are awakening to the fact that vegan products aren’t limited to their food choices. If you want to live kindly and in harmony with the planet and animals you need to ensure that all your choices are ethical.
One area that many of us could use some improvement in is choosing a pair of shoes that is cruelty-free and sustainable.
Leather, of course, is not vegan and the most commonly sold leather products in the United States today are leather shoes.
So, it should come as no surprise that when it comes to fashion purchases more than 70% of vegan product sales are of cruelty-free, vegan shoes. Vegan leather is boomin! Stay animal-free!
#1 TOP PICK | OUR FAVORITE VEGAN SHOES
“Vegan? Check. Super Comfortable? Check. We love ROTHYS shoes!”
EDITOR’S FAVE | BEST VEGAN SNEAKERS
“For a die-hard Stan Smith lover the transition to Veja was painless. Love the kicks”
What Is Vegan Leather?
Well, just like you can make a plant-based burger substitute that you can’t tell from the real thing, you can also make a plant-based leather substitute. Check out these plant-based leather brands we love.
For a deep dive on traditional leather alternatives check out our guide to vegan leather.
Many high-street names such as Marks and Spencer and Stella McCartney have started to incorporate luxury vegan leather in their products.
However, it’s not just the big brands that have benefited from the rising tide of interest in vegan leather.
Dozens of manufacturers have grown from almost nothing 10 years ago to provide an endless variety of choice both in types of vegan leather (it can be made as easily from mushrooms as it can from coconuts, for example) and in shoes themselves.
Vegan leather is not just kind to cows, mind you. Given the immense damage to the planet that raising cows causes it’s also very kind to nature. Choosing a vegan shoe is choosing sustainable living for all.
We get it, not everyone is ready to abandon their steak dinners just yet. But would it hurt to stop using leather now that plant-based equivalents exist?
So, with that in mind, let’s explore our top picks for vegan shoe brands of the year. Get your vegan fashion on!
Native Shoes started way back in 2007 when some crazy Canadians went snowboarding together in Canada. They’re one of many vegan shoe brands that were started by vegans who wanted vegan shoes themselves.
It was on that trip that Native Shoes founder Damien van Zyll de Jong first voiced his idea to start a vegan footwear brand. Two years later Native Shoes was born in Vancouver.
The first versions of Native Shoes were made from EVA and were wildly successful. Their vegan shoes are made of sustainable materials.
The company has continued to innovate and is an acknowledged powerhouse in the sustainable and vegan shoes world.
When it comes to sustainability, NATIVE SHOES is dedicated to innovation. They are also always trying to lighten their carbon footprint and beautify the world.
All the synthetic materials used in their shoe production are phthalate-free and BPA-free and don’t contain formaldehyde. Pretty good for synthetic materials right?
They use 100% recycled materials for their packaging and implement an efficient manufacturing process that produces little to no waste.
The shoes are 100% vegan made with organic cotton. Native Shoes really stand out even among other vegan shoe brands.
When the high-end vegan brand CAMPO started to make sneakers, they decided their plant-based sneakers needed a new brand of its own.
We assume because they have big plans for world domination on this front at some point in the future.
Their Veja shoes are made with genuine corn leather which took them 5 years to research and develop. Yes, leather shoes that are also vegan shoes! They’re almost 2/3 biodegradable too.
Call It Spring
Hailing from Canada’s Quebec, Call it Spring decided to change over to completely vegan in March of 2019.
They said that this was based on the needs of their customers, who simply no longer wanted to purchase non-vegan shoes.
They have guaranteed that all their products will be animal-free from here on in.
This brand is approved by PETA and every product in their new vegan shoe range is stamped with a “V” symbol so that you can be 100% certain that you’re shopping ethically.
Converse have always been vegan shoes, really.
The classic shoe brand is made out of canvas uppers and rubber soles. Vegan shoe brands can’t do much more than that in terms of eco-friendly materials.
Miley Cyrus, one of the vegan movement’s poster children, has helped Converse create some official vegan shoe ranges.
They also regularly work with ethical charities to help out with social missions including the Pride Converse collection which went to help disadvantaged LGBTQ+ youth. They’re vegan shoes with love!
There are absolutely no animals involved in the production of Rothy’s shoes and there are no plants either. Vegan shoes don’t have to be made of plant materials.
Actually, that might not be 100% true. These vegan shoes are made out of fully recycled plastics. Oil is required to make plastics but if there were any plants or animals involved, they’ve been dead for millions of years and are probably quite OK with becoming shoes.
Rothy’s say they’ve recycled over 20 million plastic bottles to create fashionable vegan footwear for women out of truly sustainable material.
You might have to pay a little more for MINK luxury vegan shoes but they’re so worth it.
Ladies who want to feel at least as elegant as a Jimmy Choo customer are going to absolutely love this Italian luxury vegan shoe brand.
You’d be in good company as many celebrities insist on MINK as their go to brand.
They say that their luxury vegan products are made with the same level of love and compassion as they want to lavish on all the world’s creatures.
We can’t argue with that, we don’t think anyone can, to be fair.
Stella McCartney started out as a vegan from a very young age, obviously inspired by her super famous parents.
However, her passion hasn’t dimmed for the sustainable and ethical in adulthood. Stella McCartney is a super influential proponent of the vegan lifestyle.
Her boutique fashion label can kit you out in everything from evening shoes to office wear.
It’s all plant-based leather and recycled and/or recyclable materials in action. Be warned though, they’re not cheap. This is top of the line when it comes to vegan sneakers.
Ethical Wares is a popular veggie shoes brand and makes pretty much every kind of shoe imaginable.
We’re huge fans of their walking boots which are perfect for hiking in. They’re also recommended by the British poet laureate Benjamin Zephaniah.
With over 25 years’ experience of making ethical products, we feel that you can really rely on Ethical Wares.
We love all of their products because they’re sustainable, cruelty-free and ethical.
Don’t miss their Vegan Slippers!
They set up back in the 1990s before the term “vegan” had become common language, but their entirely vegetarian shoes are also 100% vegan.
They use hemp and Vegetan as their main leather substitutes. They’re a great ethical vegan footwear brand.
We like the fact that the boots really resemble Doc Martens.
Check out Vegetarian Shoes but be warned you will end up buying something.
Set in 2005 by a podiatrist, this British company does its manufacturing in Portugal.
Bourgeois Boheme is fully PETA certified and their shoes are super comfortable.
They’re not cheap but these are shoes that are truly tailored to respect your feet.
Make sure to check out their sustainable living tips when you visit their website.
We’re not 100% behind Beyond Skin’s dependence on polyurethane as a leather substitute but we do agree that it’s the “lesser of two evils” when compared to using leather.
They make up for it with the fact that much of the plastic they use is recycled plastic bottles and with the fact that they’re super affordable when compared to some brands on this list.
Will’s Vegan Store
The vegan commitment here is inescapable and Will Green’s brand sprang into life back in 2012, which is positively ancient for a vegan company.
Everything they sell is assured by the Vegan Society which is a nice touch and makes buying from them very easy.
We should stress that Doc Martens has not fully seen the errors of its ways and it still makes leather upper boots, but their faux leather range is growing, and it is completely vegan.
We think that it’s not going to be too far in the future when Doc Martens goes 100% vegan.
Until then, they have a big enough selection of awesome boots to keep us happy and moving in the right direction for a big brand is always a good sign for the industry as a whole.
The Germans had to be in on the engineering revolution that is vegan footwear and they are!
Nat-2 is based out of Munich and their lead designer is the 6th generation in his family to be making shoes!
That’s quite amazing, right? We love their vegan sneakers.
Well, not as amazing as their mushroom leather or their coffee grounds-based , seriously.
Then there’s also their complete commitment to recyclable packaging and recycled materials. We love their products and we like the brand even more.
Veerah by Stacey Chang is one of the coolest designer vegan brands out there and they even have their own faux leather fabric called Veerah Appeel because it’s made out of apple skins (which is a terrible pun, but the shoes still rock).
You’ll need to spend lavishly to own a pair of Veerah shoes, but we can confidently say that they’re absolutely worth it.
Last but definitely not least on our list is Sydney Brown.
Their vegan shoes strive to be kind to the planet, to animals, to people and to the environment.
We like the fact that they are not afraid to experiment with a bunch of different materials and you can feel the love and care that went into the development of each shoe that they sell.
Their brand vibe is young, hip and funky and we can see the environmentally conscious campuses of the world being packed out with Sydney Brown fans.
Final Thoughts on Best Vegan Shoes
What you put on your feet matters. Did you know that improper footwear can leave you injured and in pain?
So, we understand why it took so long for good vegan alternatives to leather to arise but now they’re here we can’t imagine a good excuse for not converting to them.
Change from leather and live your life in better harmony with nature and the universe at large without compromising on comfort with these superb brands.
From Los Angelas to Tokyo, Berlin to Vancouver… vegan shoes are all the rage!
PRO TIP: If you’re on a budget you can find many great deals on vegan footwear at one of the many thrift stores online. You should also check out these amazing recycled footwear brands many of which are also vegan.