It’s pretty amazing how fast the seasons change, isn’t it? One day you’re sweating every time you blink; the next day, you’re shivering – it seems like just yesterday I was sweating and wearing flip flips every day, and, now, I already have out the thick socks and heavy coats! With every advent of the fall and winter seasons, cooler weather garments are, of course, the first necessity. This is closely followed by the footwear – if your toes are cold, you’re going to be a popsicle before long, no matter how much you pile on the coats and scarves and hats. But, as a true eco fashionista (or fashinisto!), you must also consider your health, the environment, and the animals when considering your fall/winter footwear – in other words, leather is so out, my friends. And beyond keeping those boots ethical and healthy for yourself, the planet, and the workers putting them together; you’ve also gotta go eco-friendly – no cancer-causing PVC will wrap these toes of mine! There are quite a few companies out there that proclaim they are “vegan” – but say nothing about how they treat their workers and the environment.
So, in the interest of keeping your feet warm, snow-proof, and fashionable at the same time, I present to you five companies with fall/winter shoe and boot options that are not only vegan but also eco-friendly! I list these companies with one small caveat: these companies utilize a mix of recycled materials, micro fibers, natural rubber, and/or synthetic “leathers.” The last of these listed (synthetic leathers) are not necessarily perfect eco-options, as they are still often based in plastics, and there’s basically no such thing as an eco-friendly plastic, no matter how you spin it. But, I’m all in favor of finding something better than PVC plastics or animal-skin leathers. So, if you’re in favor of this notion, too: read on!
Novacas’ tag line is: “built by kindness,” and rightfully so. The company offers completely vegan, cruelty-free shoes that are assembled in worker-friendly European factories. Novacas shoes are also PVC-free, making the shoes vegan without all of the worst kinds of environmental pollution. To boot (yes, pun intended), their shoes and boots for both men and women are really fashion-forward, making for a win-win-win choice. Check out some of their latest options for men and women – much of which looks cold-weather ready!
Neuaura, like Novacas, offers both women’s and men’s shoes and boots, also in an eco-friendly manner. Neuaura places a great emphasis on reducing waste: “A portion of Neuaura’s manufacturing is done in a factory located in Southern Brazil. This factory is part of a union that decided to take the responsibility of solid waste of the entire production process seriously and make it less harmful to the environment.” They claim that of their monthly waste, 68% is reused in some way. The company also works on renewable power; its factory is powered by hydroelectricity, advocates recycling in its local community, and also sponsors a habitat for endangered animals. If you crave those comfy Ugg-style boots for ultimate winter warmth, check out Neuaura’s take on the trend.
Kailia seems to do a lot to make sure their line is eco! Hand-made in small family-owned European factories, this line has some great cold weather options that are Italian-designed (read: adorable!) but good for everyone involved. They are transparent about their eco materials: “Our factories use a manufacturing process that utilizes water-based glues and polyurethane soles rather than the more toxic vinyl and PVC. The veg dyed lining’s are made with organic linen/cotton, and other breathable materials. Pre-consumer recycled footboards and luxurious cruelty-free uppers offer the perfect pedigree to these delectable gifts for the feet.” This brand is probably the priciest of the five listed here, but when you seen boots like these, you may find it worth the investment!
Cri de Coeur is “PETA-Approved” and probably the trendiest of all the shoe brands listed here. Cri de Coeur, which means “cry from the heart,” has been featured in People, Life & Style, and New York’s Daily News. Crie de Coeur is no stranger to eco materials: “including Ultrasuede made from recycled plastics, eco-PU that’s low-VOC, breathable and biodegradable, organic cotton, hemp and reclaimed wood and is committed to choosing vendors who abide by our ideals of earth-friendly manufacturing processes and fair treatment of workers.” This brand has the trendy, funkier styles you might crave, without all of the toxins and unfair worker treatment. For a sample, check out these gorgeous booties.
For those living in the wintriest of places, a pair of Roma Boots would be a great keep-dry asset when the snow and sleet begins falling down hard. Like the TOMS show method, Roma, which is “amor” spelled backwards, follows the “buy one; give one” philosophy: when you buy a pair of wet-weather boots, a child in need receives a pair for themselves. What’s also cool about this brand is that they have kid’s boots, and the adult boots are pretty unisex. Check out these rain boot style basic Romas, ideal for anyone trying to keep their feet dry through snow and sleety conditions.
There are quite a few companies out there making great strides in the fashion world. This fall/winter season, keep these and other companies that focus on both vegan and eco standards. When you do your part, we all win (and look super cute while doing it)!
What are some of your favorite eco-friendly, vegan fashion companies?