Cruelty-Free Kicks: The Best Materials For Vegan Leather Shoes

It's no secret that the production of leather can be harmful to the environment. The production of leather is a process that takes a lot of resources and animals. Instead of using products that come from animals, there is a wide array of natural materials that make excellent vegan leather. But what about quality? Aren't leather shoes the best you can get? Well, not quite anymore. There are so many new vegan options that allow you to get the same quality without the sacrifice. If you want to look your best without hurting the planet, vegan leather shoes are the way to go, but what are they made of? Read on to find out the best material for vegan leather shoes.

Before You Buy

It's always essential to read before you buy, so making sure that the shoes are made out of sustainable material is a great way to ensure that you are contributing to the decrease in your carbon footprint. A lot of sustainable shoe retailers are popping up, as they are tired of the status of our environment. When you get a pair of vegan leather shoes, also make sure that the materials used are sustainable and earth-friendly. Now here are the top vegan materials that are eco-friendly, sustainable, and look great:

Biobased Polyurethane

Biobased polyurethane is a sustainable alternative to leather. Not only is it lightweight, water-resistant, and even stain-resistant, it is environmentally friendly and is not harmful to the environment. Primarily, biobased polyurethane is produced by inedible corn, known as forage corn. Forage corn is exceptionally durable since it is a sturdy material. This allows you to dry clean it without fear of it being ruined.

Pineapple Leather

Yep, pineapple leather. Though it may sound odd, pineapple leather is actually on the rise as a prevalent resource for vegan leather. Pineapple leather is made from pineapple leaves; this new material is known as "pinatex." Pinatex is not only a super interesting way to prevent waste from discarded pineapple leaves, but it also does not need any fertilizers or pesticides for treatment. This lack of chemical treatment allows for a clean product. Additionally, since pinatex is still so new, it is provided a resource for rural farming businesses to operate a new type of business.


Cork is an excellent material for shoes. Not only is it breathable and sturdy, but it also adds a beautiful finish to different shoe types. Cork is also antibacterial and biodegradable. Cork also keeps its natural, light brown finish, which looks great with any outfit.

Recycled Rubber/Natural Rubber

Recycled rubber is a well-known substitute for vegan leather. Recycled rubber is re-manufactured, which allows the material to be sustainable and eco-friendly. Additionally, recycled rubber is biodegradable. Natural rubber is provided by trees and can be used for different things. Natural rubber is also biodegradable and can be recycled responsibly.


Canvas is a widely popular natural textile that can be made into any shoe type. It is breathable, stylish, and optimal for more casual footwear. Canvas is also durable and can be used in various types of shoes: flats, boots, sneakers, etc. Canvas also encourages airflow, allowing it to not get so muggy inside your shoe.


Microsuede is a human-made material that mimics the feelings of animal suede. Microsuede is soft, durable, and is very popular in clothes and furniture. It is also stain-resistant and easy to keep clean. The downside with microsuede is that since it is human-made, tiny particles of the material can end up in water landfills. However, if you only use microsuede in your shoes, then it is less likely to cause much harm. However, it is always optimal to look at sustainable options. Some microsuede manufacturers, like Ultrasuede, are attempting to engineer more viable options that bring waste down dramatically.


Gortex is a newer material that is vegan, waterproof, and breathable. This material is most commonly used in outdoor footwear, so a great alternative to traditional leather hiking boots. Since Gortex is still so new, there is a lot of development regarding its carbon footprint. As of now, manufacturers of Gortex are moving towards more sustainable production. Additionally, there are attempts to make the material with less abrasive chemicals that are not 100% good for the environment.

Vegan Leather Shoes: You Have Options

Every single day, more vegan leather options are popping up on the market. It is a great thing that you do not have to sacrifice your personal morals to buy a pair of shoes that are stylish and durable. With these seven materials, there is a whole new generation of shoes that give you the same durability and style as leather but without the brutality and environmental impact. With these vegan leather materials, you can go on with your shoe buying with peace of mind that they are sustainable and fashionable.

The Sensation of Sustainability

Sustainable living is becoming more mainstream in society. Individuals are ready to live a more eco-friendly life and prevent their own waste. Whether you are personally a vegan or are just moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle, it does the planet good to eliminate any type of waste. The fashion industry can be insanely wasteful. Precisely, fast fashion. According to Business Insider, fast fashion emits "more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined." That can be alarming, and as a consumer, it is crucial to know what you are buying and its direct environmental impact. If you want to learn more about vegan leather shoes, sustainability, or living a more eco-conscious life, check out our blog for more information.