Tracie Kendziora is a holistic health coach focused on plant-based lifestyles. She is a wellness enthusiast drawn to alternative practices like Ayurveda, crystals, meditation, and yoga, and is passionate about green beauty and ethical fashion.
If your idea of vegan shoes involves the words clunky, cheap, or unattractive, I’d like to remind you that it’s 2017.
Vegan shoes have come a long way, baby, and there are now countless, high-quality brands out there. If you’re new to the world of vegan shoes or if you’re looking for a new line, start with this list of 10 brands you’ll want to be on a first-name basis with.
Altra: The original Zero DropTM running shoe just so happens to be vegan, too. With a rounded toe box and distinctive FootShapeTM, Altra makes cushioned shoes that promote proper running form and reduce impact. This plantar fasciitis-inflicted runner needs these shoes like yesterday.
Bourgeois Boheme: Artisan made and leather free, Bourgeois Boheme makes beautiful, versatile, and eco-friendly footwear. Based in London, they take pride in using Italian vegan leathers and are champions of timeless styles, like ankle boots, knee-high boots, Chelsea boots, loafers, sneakers, and derby shoes that might just last a lifetime.
Cri de Coeur: The roster of materials used by this luxury brand includes recycled materials, organic cotton, hemp, and reclaimed wood. Cri de Coeur, which means “cry from the heart” in French, is committed to improving the lives of animals and humans, and having a positive impact on the environment. And their shoes are totally swoon-worthy, no big deal.
Insecta Shoes: The ladies at Insecta Shoes make quirky footwear out of used clothes and recycled plastic bottles. Made in Brazil, the line offers fun printed boots, oxfords, sandals, and slippers. In two years, the company has transformed more than 2,100 pieces of clothing, 630 kg of fabric, and 1,000 two-liter PET bottles into eco-friendly shoes.
Mohop: Imagine how cool you’ll feel strutting your stuff in a handmade pair of vegan shoes. Custom made in the good ol’ U.S. of A, Mohop uses digital fabrication and traditional artisan techniques to make super comfy shoes with ergonomically-carved foot beds made for walking. All shoes are handmade in Chicago using sustainably sourced, recycled, and fair trade materials. Be prepared to get stopped on the street. I have been...twice.
Nicora: Cruelty-free brand Nicora is American-made from the highest quality ethical materials like recycled plastics and recycled rubber. Made by and inspired by women, the brand also employs women scientists who oversee the production to ensure they maintain accountability to the environment.
Novacas: If you remember any of your high school Spanish, you’ll know this brand’s name literally translates to “no cow.” Novacas offers updated takes on classic styles like loafers and chukka boots. Using high-quality leather alternatives, all Novacas shoes are made in worker-friendly facilities in Europe.
Olsenhaus: Aiming to prove that you can lead a stylish, compassionate life, Olsenhaus shoes are fashionable, functional, and - of course - free from animal skin, products, and by-products. They use natural materials, including linen, cotton, canvas, bamboo, hemp, cork, and wood, along with low-impact synthetic materials like ultrasuede, velvet microfibers, and nylon. Committed to truth and transparency, Olsenhaus openly shares information on its manufacturing, factories, and materials on its website.
Sydney Brown: Sydney Brown was built on its namesake designer’s belief that luxurious, environmentally friendly shoes were possible. The designs use a non-animal fat glue developed in-house and feature materials like cork, grains, organic cotton, pressed pineapple and coconut fibers, and beechwood. This innovative line is handmade in Portugal.
Wills London: The Zappos of the vegan world, where customer service truly is king. Wills London offers ethically produced sneakers, dress shoes, and boots, plus a killer 365-day return policy. Oh, and free shipping and returns. They make it easy to make a positive choice.