Your Guide to Stylish Vegan and Cruelty-Free Shoes

Summer is just around the corner, so it's time to update your shoe closet. Before you do, we have a question. Have you ever thought about the materials that make up your shoes? The shoe industry is famous for using animal products, which are cruel and harmful to the earth. You can make a better choice by shopping for eco-friendly and cruelty-free shoes.

What kind of materials goes into vegan shoes? Are they better or worse quality than their alternatives? Can they still be stylish and durable? We're going to give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about vegan shoes. Let's get started.

The Best Vegan Shoe Materials

Before we talk about some of our favorite vegan shoes, let's break down the best materials for durable and stylish vegan shoes. Because let's face it, if the shoes aren't good quality, you won't buy them.

To be certified vegan, shoes can't be made with leather, wool, fur, silk, suede, or sheepskin. Glue made with animal products is also a big negative. Let's dive into the best vegan alternative materials for shoes and the environmental impact of each one.

Vegan Leather

We've recently learned about the harmful effects of cow leather. In fact, it has the biggest negative environmental impact out of all the textile options. As an alternative, designers are veering towards vegan leather to make their cruelty-free leather shoes. Vegan leather can be made from several materials, including:

  • Polyurethane
  • Teak leaves
  • Apple pulp
  • Pineapple leaves (also known as Pinatex)
  • Banana stems and leaves
  • Mushroom caps
  • Cactus leaves
  • Grape skins

As you can see, all kinds of plant-based materials can be turned into vegan leather, and scientists are discovering more options all the time. However, not all vegan leather is created equally.

Polyurethane leather is the most cost-effective and accessible vegan leather option, but it is made from plastic and does not decompose. However, most environmentalists agree that it is still less harmful than cow leather because it doesn't involve animal cruelty. Leather made from apple pulp or grape skins is also a great option because they utilize food waste to make something beautiful. However, they do not last long unless they are coated in polyurethane. However, biobased polyurethane is becoming more popular. It's made from forage corn, which is very durable and has a much lower impact than plastic-based polyurethane.

Mushroom caps are a superior option for vegan leather. Leather made from mushroom caps is high-quality, long-lasting, and most closely resembles cow leather. However, it is also expensive and hard to find.

Hopefully, as trends continually moving towards sustainable and cruelty-free fashion, vegan leather options will improve. However, all of the current options are still a better choice than cow leather.

Cotton Canvas

Cotton canvas is a popular option for vegan shoes because it is durable and versatile. The material is extremely breathable, which makes it great for all shoe types, especially casual footwear. Canvas cotton is commonly used for flats, sneakers, and boots. The breathability of canvas encourages better airflow, so you can wear cruelty-free running shoes without worrying about them getting sweaty and smelly.

Another perk of cotton canvas is that it stands up against all climates, so you don't have to worry about rain or snow. It's also a completely natural textile, so it has a low environmental impact.


Cork, which comes from tree bark, is a great vegan shoe material. It's durable and waterproof, so it made great adventure shoes. However, it's also stylish and has a unique look that will stand out from the crowd. Cork is a superior material choice because it's biodegradable and antibacterial. Cork shoes are easy to clean and comfortably hug your foot for a great fit.


This is a newer material that's making waves in the vegan shoe world. It's tough and durable, so it makes great cruelty-free leather shoes and hiking boots. Gortex is another waterproof option that's extremely breathable, so it's great for outdoor activities. Since it's still a new material, it's hard to say what the environmental impact of the Gortex textile is. However, manufacturers are making strides to lower their footprint when it comes to Gortex production.

Now that we've gone over some great vegan shoe material options, let's look at some of our favorite stylish and cruelty-free shoe brands.

Our Favorite Cruelty-Free Shoes

At Earth-Friendly Shoes, we offer a wide variety of stylish vegan and cruelty-free shoes. Here are a couple of our favorite brands:

Arcopedico Shoes

Arcopedico Shoes is committed to sustainability with every step. They specialize in vegan leather women's and unisex shoes of all styles.

Their slip-on boots are the perfect blend of comfort and style. Their classic Mary Jane shoes are a new cruelty-free twist on an old favorite. All of their shoes are breathable and designed for maximum foot comfort.

Saola Shoes

Saola creates the perfect vegan casual shoes for men and women. They have lace-up and slip-on options, and they come in sleek designs and colors that compliment any outfit.

They are machine-washable, made with 100% organic cotton, and have built-in cushioning for extra arch support.

KLOGS Footwear

Are you looking for a clog that's functional, comfortable, and vegan? KLOGS Footwear created just that.

Their men's and women's clogs are extra comfy with a wider fit, and their minimalist design makes them perfect for the workplace. Stay comfortable and professional while you're on your feet all day with KLOGS.

Reef Shoes

Sandals are perfect for summer and will never go out of style. However, that doesn't give them a free pass to harm the earth. Choose a better sandal with Reef Shoes.

Their sandals come in multiple styles that you can wear from the beach to date night. They are made with recycled materials and biodegradable additives for the perfect eco-friendly combo. Additionally, Reef Shoes sponsors beach cleanups to make the world a more beautiful place.

Check Out Cruelty-Free Shoes Online Today

Are you ready to dip your toe into the cruelty-free shoe world, literally? At Earth Friendly Shoes, we offer a wide variety of eco-friendly shoes and slippers for men, women, and children.

Make a better choice for your feet, the planet, and animals today. Shop all of our vegan shoes here.