Published by Michelle Feinberg.

It’s nice when shoes say “vegan” right on the tag so that there’s zero confusion, but things aren’t always so clear when you’re looking for a new pair. Sometimes tags say something like “50% polyurethane, 50% volcanized rubber” and you’re like, Huh? I miss cotton. Well, kid, there’s a whole world of animal-friendly materials out there—and if you have five minutes to read this vegan shoes shopping guide …


All you have to do to fulfill your destiny as a compassionate style icon is familiarize yourself with fabrics so that you know which ones are vegan and which ones cause animals to suffer horrifically. You can apply your newfound knowledge not just to shoes but also to all clothing and accessories. 🎉

PETA x Coalition LAHailley Howard Photography | WWDMAGIC

Before we get into the list, here are just a few pointers to keep in mind while you shop for vegan shoes:

  • Look at the symbols on the tag. A symbol shaped like an animal-hide rug means that an item is made of animal-derived materials, and a diamond or crosshatch one means that an item is vegan.

materials symbols

  • Some mainstream brands may sometimes use glue containing animal-derived ingredients in shoes that would otherwise be vegan, but we think it’s best to just do your best, because being vegan isn’t about personal purity. Plus, the more popular otherwise vegan shoes are, the more 100% animal-free options will be made available in the future.
  • If you can’t find any shoes you like in stores, don’t resort to buying animal-derived ones. Just look online—there are tons of vegan shoes out there, and it can be easier to determine the materials when you’re looking online.

Buy this: 👍

  • Acrylic ✅
  • Bamboo ✅
  • Canvas ✅
  • Chambray ✅
  • Chenille ✅
  • Chino ✅
  • Corduroy ✅
  • Cotton ✅
  • Cotton flannel ✅
  • Denim ✅
  • Down alternative (or synthetic down) ✅
  • Elastic ✅
  • Faux fur ✅
  • Flannelette ✅
  • Hemp ✅
  • Imitation leather ✅
  • Leatherette ✅
  • Linen ✅
  • Khaki ✅
  • Microfiber ✅
  • Modal ✅
  • Moleskin ✅
  • Muslin ✅
  • Nylon ✅
  • Polyester ✅
  • Polyester fleece ✅
  • Polyurethane ✅
  • Rayon ✅
  • Rubber/vulcanized rubber ✅
  • Sateen ✅
  • Spandex ✅
  • Tencel ✅
  • Ultrasuede ✅
  • Vegan leather ✅
  • Velcro ✅
  • Velour ✅
  • Velveteen ✅
  • Viscose ✅

Don’t buy this:  🙅

sheep sheared for wool

Be careful:

  • Chiffon (can be made from polyester, ✅ rayon, ✅ or silk ❌)
  • Felt (can be made from acrylic, ✅ rayon, ✅ or wool ❌)
  • Flannel (can be made from cotton, ✅ synthetic fiber, ✅ or wool ❌)
  • Fleece (can be synthetic ✅ or animal-derived ❌)
  • Jersey (can be made from cotton ✅ or wool ❌)
  • Satin (can be made from rayon ✅ or silk ❌)
  • Taffeta (can be synthetic ✅ or made from silk ❌)
  • Velvet (can be synthetic ✅ or animal-derived ❌)

When we all demand vegan materials, stores are much more likely to supply them—thus preventing animals from being abused and killed for fashion. Amazing, huh? Not contributing to animals’ suffering is as easy as using our vegan shoes shopping guide and checking labels—so check ’em!

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