Daily Vegan 24: An obsession with shoes – by Mark Gold

Why is it that when you tell people that you’re vegetarian or vegan, their first reaction is often to stare at your feet in the hope of spotting a pair of leather shoes? If they find any leather, it’s as if they feel vindicated in their meat eating: they think they can dismiss you as a hypocrite and get on with munching their steaks.

So, what should you do if you’ve recently given up animal products, yet you still have some items – shoes, furniture, bags or whatever – that are not vegan? Some will no doubt take them all down to the charity shop at the first opportunity. But perhaps you can’t afford to replace them immediately? Or maybe you have an item or two with which you feel some emotional attachment?

Well, you don’t have to do everything overnight if you don’t want to, and I don’t think that it’s an issue that you should beat yourself up about. You may, in time, feel too uncomfortable about animal products to keep them. Or you may not.

If you would like to replace your shoes (or belts, bags, etc) with vegan alternatives, you might like to try these companies:

Animal Aid Shop
Ethical Wares
Vegan Store
Vegetarian Shoes
Eco Vegan Shoes
Wills Vegan Shoes
Bourgeois Boheme
Beyond Skin

Most high street shops also have some shoes made from synthetic materials. And for the sporty amongst you, it’s no longer difficult to find non-leather trainers, football boots and astro turf shoes from the leading brands. You can check which ones have vegan options here.

But next time some Smart Alec triumphantly points at your leather shoes (or another remaining item containing animal products), I suggest you dismiss them with a reply along the lines of: ‘yes, I’m not perfect. But I think it’s much better to be inconsistently kind than consistently cruel’.