Tuesday, 06 July 2010 18:22

Are your shoes bad for the environment?

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When I first went vegan it was all about my diet. A year later, when I learned how leather was made, I stopped buying animal-based clothing, shoes, and accessories. It wasn't a hard transition, because they are so many cruelty-free alternatives. Although, there is a catch - vegan does not necessarily mean eco-friendly.

As a woman right out of college, my budget was tight, so I followed the lead of some other vegans and bought shoes at Payless and Target. I was surprised at how cute and durable this affordable footwear was - some has lasted years in great condition. But what exactly is the material "man-made", the phrase that told me the shoes were leather free?


Rubber -

Eco-friendly materials:

  • Bamboo
  • Hemp
  • Natural rubber (crepe)
  • Organic Cotton
  • Recycled Car Tires
  • Recycled Plastics
Keep in mind, even the so-called eco-friendly materials may not be as good for the earth as we'd like to think. Most materials take a lot of processing and electricity, even if they started out as plants or were recycled, and some chemicals may be involved in the production. 

So that leads me to a common question: what's more important, being vegan and saving money, or being eco-vegan and spending more money?

Here are some eco-vegan shoe companies to check out:

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