It’s easy to find non-leather shoes, but harder to know whether animal products have been used in their production. If you’re on the hunt for vegan-friendly school shoes, this article will help you to narrow down your search
There are plenty of vegan shoe companies online, but they tend to focus on adult shoes. Even the high street brands that offer vegan alternatives, such as Doc Martens and Vans, only offer adult sizes. But don’t panic – we’ve given you a helping hand by putting together a list of vegan-friendly shoe retailers, that cater for little feet too.
When shopping for those shiny new shoes, as well as checking for the non-leather symbol, you need to also check that the retailer doesn’t use glue that’s derived from animal products, as some glue is still made by boiling animal tissue or bones.
Some of our favourite vegan and ethical shoe companies include Beyond Skin, Noah, Veganline, Will’s Vegan Shoes, Freerangers, Risorse Future, Eco Vegan Shoes, Blackspot, Vegetarian Shoes and Bourgeois Boheme (offering pineapple leather options). However, Will’s Shoes was the only one of these outlets with a children’s range and has some great robust-looking styles starting at £41. Delivery is £3 with free exchanges and returns for a full year.
Green Shoes can make any of its children’s styles out of vegan materials, so it’s worth taking a look!
Highly recommended on social media comes Happy Little Soles, that offers a large range of vegan children’s shoes. Some of these are available in black and would definitely be suitable for youngsters as they head back to school. The brand specialises in barefoot shoes and is very focused on promoting children’s foot health, which makes it a great option for little feet. Prices start at around £40 per pair with £4 delivery.
On the High Street
If you’re in any doubt, you can always check directly with the retailer who will be able to tell you whether it uses animal-derived glue.
Unfortunately, even leather-free shoes have an environmental impact. They’re usually made from PU (Polyurethane) along with polyester or nylon, which are manufactured using toxic products. Many companies are making big efforts to minimise the impact, by using polyurethane (PU) instead of the traditionally used and more toxic PVC. They also now tend to use water-based rather than toxic solvents to bond the PU with the fabric of the shoes.
If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of non-leather options, head to your local charity shop to see if it stocks any vegan-friendly shoes. You can grab yourself a bargain as well as helping to reduce waste and animal cruelty.
And now you’ve got school shoes out of the way, it’s time to think about food! Read our guide on top vegan packed lunches if you’re looking for inspiration!
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PAGE UPDATED MAY 2020