We are often asked by people who are not as familiar with the concept of non-leather shoes, “Can you eat vegan shoes”? The answer is, yes of course, but they are mighty chewy. Here we delve into the mystery that is, what are vegan shoes made of?

What are vegan shoes made of?

Vegan shoes are made without the use of animal byproducts or materials, such as leather, suede, wool, shearling, silk or fur. Vegan shoes are made of a variety of synthetic fabrics. Most vegan leathers are made from polyurethane (PU), a type of plastic that is bonded to a cotton backing. Vegan suede is often made from microfibre synthetic fabric. Instead of a leather sole, animal-free shoes use a part-recycled resin sole with insoles made of recycled cardboard, as is the industry standard. Beyond Skin vegan shoes are made using the finest quality fully breathable Italian faux leathers, 100% recycled Dinamica faux suede, luxurious woven Italian fabrics, 100% recycled Italian faux leather linings and cream lacquered resin soles.

Is shoe glue vegan?

Glue used to be made for centuries using the collagen from animals such as horses, pigs and cows. However, over the last fifty years, synthetic glues have far surpassed animal glues for effectiveness, low cost and consistency of quality. Whilst it is true that some shoe manufacturers still produce using animal glues, the majority of shoe glue used today is accidentally vegan, you’ll be glad to know!

Are vegan shoes eco-friendly?

While petroleum-based faux leathers have their own environmental impacts, when compared to the manufacturing of animal leather, we believe it’s the lesser of two evils. Animal hides need to be treated with dangerous chemicals to prevent it naturally decomposing, such as chromium, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide. As the majority of leather is tanned in countries with little or no environmental regulations or health and safety regulations, pollution from the tanneries is a major problem, ranked within the top ten worst toxic pollution issues in the world by the Blacksmith Institute. On balance, we feel our faux leathers, sourced from Italy and produced in line with EU environmental law, is the better choice.

Is vegan leather breathable?

Beyond Skin’s faux leather is entirely breathable, anti-bacterial and no, it does not make your feet smell!

Vegan leather shoes

We source a selection of high quality, durable Italian vegan leather in a variety of different textures. For sleek, sophisticated vegan loafers and court shoes for officewear and occasionwear, we use a shine faux leather, with a subtle gloss more subtle than patent. For casual everyday vegan boots and vegan flats, we often use a soft, tumbled matt faux leather.

Vegan suede shoes

Our vegan suede shoes are produced using 100% recycled faux suede, Dinamica, which is also manufactured in Italy. It’s a microfibre made from recycled PET plastics like bottle tops, and is the fabric of choice for Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz car interiors. The huge bonus for using it for footwear is it doesn’t watermark like real suede (which is ideal for our English summers and rainy winters!).

Vegan fabric shoes

Our trademark is sourcing bright printed or woven fabrics in our vintage-inspired designs. These fabrics are made from a polyester mix, which is very easy to clean. They also sourced from Italy, and we are very conscientious with our quantities to ensure there is absolutely no waste whatsoever. We love using courageous printed and woven fabrics in our Boutique collections, as they’re bold and fun to wear. We’re in the business of making head-turning shoes!

Vegan snakeskin shoes

A feature material that we also frequently use in our Boutique collection is an alternative to reptile skin, made from printed and embossed polyurethane. Faux snakeskin is a bold and timeless fabric, perfect for accenting the aprons of loafers or even the entire upper of a show-stopping pair of kitten heel boots.

Improving sustainability

We really try to use the best alternatives we can, but as we are a small company, it’s not always possible to use the most eco-friendly options. This is certainly part of our plan when we grow to improve our sustainable credentials even more. Wherever we can we have endeavoured to position ourselves alongside other non-vegan footwear brands showing that fashion and ethics are not mutually exclusive, but more importantly to place vegan products in the mainstream which is where they need to be in order for long-term change to take place and to fundamentally make a difference. For us, this softer approach and way of being fits our brands philosophy and ethos. We aspire to demonstrate that a vegan label can be as successful as any other footwear brand, thus contributing and affecting the decisions other brands make about their use of leather and exotic skins.

To see what vegan shoes look like, head to our website!

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