Shoes can be made out of a variety of materials. Historically, shoes were made out of leather,but in today's world many people are looking for an alternative. So, what else can shoes be made out of?
Throughout history, wood was a common material for shoes, particularly in areas that could get a bit marshy. Though waterproof, wooden shoes are inflexible. Some ancient societies had sandal type shoes woven from reeds, straw and other plant materials. Flexible, sustainable and cruelty-free, but only practical in dry, hot climates. Today, we have a plethora of materials to build shoes from. That includes materials for people who want to live the vegan lifestyle.
What does it mean for a shoe to be vegan?
Strictly speaking, a vegan shoe is a shoe that is made without the use of animal products. This means no fur or leather..
In a properly called vegan shoe, every part from the upper to the lining to the outer sole is made out of a material that is not animal-based. Vegan-friendly materials include such as polyurethane, fabric, rubber, and anything man-made.
How are vegan shoes made?
How vegan shoes are produced largely depends on what material they're made out of. Sometimes more than one type of material will be used for different parts of the shoe. A soft knit material can work for the upper, but the sole needs something sturdy yet flexible. You would be quite surprised at what many of these things can be made out of!
For example, the sustainable shoes from Rothy’s are made with a material that is woven from recycled plastic bottles, which gives us a comfortable and breathable material. A foamy material fit for a strobe board can be fabricated from algae. The bio-based TPU used to make outsoles of shoes is made out of corn. Sand, castor beans, and hemp fibers are all-natural materials that can be used in the manufacture of vegan shoes.
Vegan men's dress shoes
Finding cruelty-free dress shoes can be quite a task. Canvas, for example, is a common material for casual shoes, but formal shoes, particularly for men, are expected to be leather. Fear not, there are vegan men's shoes out there! There are men's vegan shoes out there made out of vegetable-based leather and recycled plastic.
The Driving Loafer
Rothy's makes this comfy and attractive driving loafer knit from a thread spun from recycled plastic water bottles. It requires no break-in period and can comfortably be worn with or without socks. The nubby sole lends the durability and grip needed for driving.
While the loafer was designed to be leisurewear, it can be effortless elegance as well. They're best for business casual, but if you want them to look more formal, just go for a darker color and make sure less of your sock is visible.
Men's vegan sneakers
A canvas sneaker is nice and breathable as is bamboo fabric, but corn leather, recycled plastic and cork are recommended for something a little less permeable. Responsibly sourced rubber can make a somewhat grippy sole that is flexible and durable with good shock absorption.
The RS01 Sneaker
Rothy's makes this durable and supremely comfortable sneaker knit from a thread spun from recycled plastic water bottles. It requires no break-in period and has ample padding in the collar about the ankle. The fully adjustable laces, contoured footbed and terry-lined tongue add further to the comfort plus support.
And if you like taking long walks in your sneakers, you're in luck. The RS01 men’s sneaker is flexible, durable and has a gummy outsole with plenty of traction. The whole thing is machine washable, so your sneaker will always look like new.
Are Most Sneakers Vegan?
As of February 2021, the percentage of vegan sneakers, in comparison to non-vegan sneakers, was less than 8%. It should be noted, however, that the growing popularity of cruelty-free sneakers made with sustainable materials has caused these numbers to rise. While the majority of sneakers are made with animal products, the demand for products made from sustainable, cruelty-free and eco-friendly materials has affected the supply.
The theme of Rothy's mission is circularity. Every step of the process strives toward a more sustainable vegan shoe by means of conservation of raw materials. Rothy's uses thread made from recycled plastic bottles and marine plastic, which keeps these materials out of landfills.
Their knit to shape method of manufacture minimizes production waste, resulting in 30% less material waste than traditional cut-and-sew methods. All Rothy's products are appreciable durable and completely machine washable. Rothy's policy of recycling and reducing leads to their ultimate goal of achieving a zero waste factory.
Finding the Perfect Vegan Shoe Can Be Difficult, Unless You Are Shopping at Rothy’s
Finding shoes that fit into the vegan lifestyle can be difficult, but with a little info searching, it should not be impossible. There are people out there who want shoes that are not only free of cruelty to animals, but free of cruelty to people and the environment. Think not just about the materials that go into making a product, but the method of how the product was made. Recycled rubber, fibers and plastic give materials a second life and keep them out of the landfill just a little while longer. The manufacturing methods need to be such that they produce little to no waste.
That does not mean you have to sacrifice quality or comfort, of course! Rothy's is a sustainable brand that takes responsibility for the environment while still creating a comfortable, finely crafted sneaker. There is always room for improvement, a better way to do things, and Rothy's prides itself on finding it. They put people and the planet first, striving to close the gap with better materials and methods. It is a lofty goal, but one they're determined to reach.