Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Leather Free Shoes

There are several reaons to avoid leather. First because of the animals - conditions are hideous in overseas slaughterhouses where leather comes from (primarily India and China, reports People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). There are environmental and health reasons as well —turning animal skin to leather requires a large amount of energy and a toxic mix of chemicals including formaldehyde, coal tar and some cyanide-containing finishes. The tanning process is just as pollutant-laced, and both leave chemicals in the water supply and on the hands (and in the lungs) of workers.

Animal-free vegan shoes, however, can be hard to find - especially for children, though Crocs are very popular. Here are a few resources:

There are adult vegan shoes at http://www.allveganshopping.com/, http://www.vegetarianshoesandbags.com/, http://www.alternativeoutfitters.com/, http://www.veganessentials.com/ and http://www.veganstore.com./

For kids, try http://www.kidbean.com/. From the soft-soled adorably designed Isabooties made with synthetic Ultrasuede, to flexible pleather uppers for first-time walkers to slip-on hemp shoes in a rainbow of earth tones with recycled tire soles, the shoes seem ideal for toddlers just learning to balance who need a good deal of flexibility and “feelability” in their shoes. The site was started by a mom tired of having to hunt and pick through various websites to find a full spectrum of natural, vegan baby products. For parents of budding dancers, a vegan alternative ballet slipper can be had from the Cynthia King Dance Studio in Brooklyn, New York. The dance instructor and studio owner approached a local shoemaker when she couldn’t find an affordable outlet for vegan slippers, and now provides them to the world at http://www.cynthiakingdance.com/.


Frogs Mom said...

So while I can understand that leather shoes would be distasteful from a vegan perspective, I'm confused from an environmental perspective that plastic shoes are actually better than leather. If chemicals are used for both (clearly foam and microsuede are not naturally occurring) how is something that will never degrade - even if it is possible to have a small portion of it recycled - better than something that will?

Cathe Olson said...

Valid point, Frogs Mom - plastics are full of chemicals. I guess the best choice would be those made from hemp and recycled materials.

Cathe Olson said...

Here's an article with more information on companies producing environmentally beneficial shoes - from recycled materials, etc.


Sanat Sinha said...

Hey..I found a very simple, unique and cool shoes over the net a while ago.These are the best!
Cruelty Free shoes, in general, have worked wonders for my posture and general comfort in getting
around. When I bought these, I didn't really expect to walk far in them, but I have no problem walking a few miles when I wear them. Even then, I am ready to walk more.
You can give a shot at www.mooshoes.com.

Loretta Carney-Venters said...

Perhaps you will find this web-site useful, it sells baby shoes which are vegetarian and vegan, items are handmade by stay at home moms and dont use plastics etc...

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