Can You Eat Vegan Shoes?!

Well quite simply, no! Not unless you’re walking around with lettuce cups on your feet. But it does make you wonder what vegan fashion, and specifically vegan shoes, is all about. In the last few years the term ‘vegan’ has grown beyond a dietary choice into more of a lifestyle and when it comes to fashion, vegan, as it does with food, simply means there are no animal products or derivatives used anywhere in the manufacturing process or materials. 

Easier said than done, unfortunately, as there are a surprising number of ways that animal by-products sneak into our everyday goods without us realising. For instance, we bet you didn’t know purified ash from animal bones is used in filters to refine sugar, or that many plastics, including shopping bags, contain “slip agents,” which reduce the friction in the material. What are those made of – animal fat! 

For us in the footwear industry the obvious one of course is the use of animal leathers. But sneakily, the glue used to stick the sole to the upper part of the shoe often contains casein, an animal protein derived from milk which makes the glue particularly strong over long periods of time and resistant to water. And of course, the tried and tested methods are usually the cheapest, so no wonder the majority of brands use it. 

Read the full article in Regalier Issue 2