Vegan shoes versus upcycled shoes
Posted on 17/01/22
What are vegan and upcycle shoes?
When you think of a vegan, you will usually think of a person's diet without animal products. But what does vegan shoes mean ? Vegan shoes are made of materials without the use of animal products. It also excludes products that were tested on animals. This excludes many materials traditionally used in shoe making such as leather, wool, fur, and some glues.
Upcycling refers to using end-of-life materials to make it a new product or re-use a product that is no longer used, and turn it into a useful product. Upcycled shoes means making shoes with upcycled materials (never new) or reconstructing / repair old shoes, to give it a new lease of life.
Why vegan shoes and upcycle shoes?
Vegan shoes are are cruelty free meaning products used are not tested on animals. They don’t contain any animal-derived materials—such as leather, suede, or wool. Vegan shoes aren’t made of animal skin (e.g., leather—which is a coproduct of the meat and dairy industries), hair, fur, wool, or any other animal parts. The traditional shoe making materials have been replaced by synthetic materials like polyurethane (PU), microfiber or rubber. I suppose you can safely say, no animals were hurt in the making of vegan shoes!
Upcycling shoes would mean less waste as old shoes and other recyclable materials are being upcycled to make them wearable again. This also means that the need to extract raw materials or create synthetic materials is reduced as upcycling means using whatever materials that are at hand. Lessening the need to extract raw materials would preserve the earth's natural resources. Creating less synthetic materials will reduce manufacturing which then lessens pollution. The question is, are upcycled shoes still cool to wear? YES! You will be surprised at what a little bit of creativity can do.
Vegan shoes versus upcycled shoes
Are vegan shoes good for the environment?
Whilst vegan is all about cruelty free and protecting animals, materials used for vegan shoes are not necessarily an ideal choice. The materials like PVC or PU aren’t biodegradable and will release toxins in landfill for many years after being produced. The toxic chemicals used in the production of these vegan materials can also be harmful to workers.
Thankfully, there are now natural, sustainable vegan materials options. There are options such as Pinatex (a pineapple-leaf fibre material), Wine -grape leather (crafted from leftover grapes from the wine-making industry), Cactus leather (bio-based material is made without toxic chemicals or PVC) and Apple leather (made from dried apple peels). Check out some of the vegan shoes available :
Will's Vegan Store - men's and women's vegan shoes
Beyond Skin - independent luxury ladies designs
Immaculate - leather made from pineapples, mushrooms, cork, apples, mangoes...and cacti
Superga - 100% organic cotton trainers
Marks & Spencer - men's, women's and kids vegan shoes
Schuh - vegan shoes, boots and even slippers
Vegetarian shoes - plant based shoes, boots and sandals
Are upcycling shoes good for the environment?
So, recycling (involves the destruction of waste in order to create something new) and downcycling (involves breaking an item down into its component elements or materials and they are reused if possible but usually as a lower-value product) are some of the ways that can help lessen waste.
But upcycling (to take something 'unwanted' and to make it better than the original) is a better way of recycling and is incredibly beneficial to the environment. As mentioned above, it reduces the extraction of raw materials and the need for manufacturing. It definitely lessens the amount of waste going into the landfill. Check out some upcycled shoes below :
Etsy - from baby to adult shoes
Revivo - not just upcycle shoes but also repair your favourite ones !
Sole4souls - donate your shoes here
Whichever way you choose to play your part to help the environment, be sure to do your own research. Look for good quality products, where the product is made - safe working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers. Once you have done your part, let ForwardVia help you with the rest of the shipping hassle.
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