When people hear the word "vegan," they likely think of all things green, meat-free, and impossible (the burger, that is). Less often do we associate the term with feet (ew?), but those who think about living a cruelty-free lifestyle need warm shoes too. As a result, vegan leather has paved the way for animal-friendly alternatives used in the coolest of boots.
If you're thinking this means wrapping up your feet in stylish seitan or trendy tempeh, let us stop you right there (as curious as we might be to see what exactly that would look like). Vegan leather shoes are made from durable, leather-like materials that simply don't come from animal skin. According to PETA, the most common textile used to accomplish this is polyurethane, but designers have even been experimenting with innovative materials such as fruit waste and recycled plastics. While these alternatives are certainly not without their own environmental concerns, they avoid the greenhouse gas emissions associated with animal agriculture along with the use of energy and water consumption by tanneries, allowing for brands to reduce their overall impact on the planet when they stay away from leather altogether.
What's more, is that none of this is at the expense of style. Even some of our favorite trends have gotten the animal-friendly treatment, with snake-effect faux-leather boots making their way to the top of our winter wardrobe wishlists. Popular brands like Dr. Martens and Free People are among a growing number of companies offering synthetic boot styles, and Stella McCartney's commitment to operating a modern and socially sustainable business has required using absolutely no leather since the brand's inception. Ahead, shop a variety of our favorite faux-leather boots for a responsible upgrade your closet this season.
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