With today's image conscious shopper becoming more conscientious as a consumer, a line of vegetarian, or vegan, clothing and footwear has emerged. First there were cruelty-free cosmetics, which generally meant that the item had not been tested on animals and didn't contain any animal by-products. Consumers responded well to cruelty-free products and a demand for compassionate clothing soon followed and with it, a line of vegan, or vegetarian shoes.
Vegan shoes, simply put, are shoes that are made from non-animal materials. Traditionally, shoes are often made from leather, thus making it difficult for those following a vegan lifestyle to find footwear, which were cruelty-free.
Hemp is usually the most common material found in vegan shoes. It is strong, yet flexible, making it a great substitute for leather. Many shoe manufacturers have opted to use hemp for shoes and other products, which were traditionally only available in leather, such as wallets and knapsacks. Hemp is a very strong fiber, and unlike traditional textiles like cotton, it is stronger when wet. Other manufacturers use materials such as cotton, or other plant-derived textiles. Vegetan, a new synthetic material, is being used more frequently. It's look and feel is very similar to leather, but is completely free of animal products. It's waterproof, breathable, and scuff-resistant, making it the perfect choice for shoes.
Vegan shoes come in a variety of styles, ranging from boots to sandals. Many of these styles are made to be long-lasting and comfortable, especially if they are made using hemp. For example, hiking boots made from hemp are very durable, water-proof, and are usually as comfortable as their non-vegan counterparts. Athletic shoes are also usually made from hemp, although they can also be made from canvas as well.
There are more and more vegan products entering the marketplace, making it easy for vegetarians to find fashionable and affordable footwear, that fit in with their beliefs.
Jeff Lakie is the founder of Plastic Surgery Resources a website providing information on cosmetic surgery