In 1911, Mr. L.L. Bean himself, Leon Leonwood Bean (yes, that’s his actual name), invented a hunting boot for himself after his itty-bitty toes got wet and cold in the marsh (waaah) while he was searching for defenseless ducks to kill. Gross.
The experience inspired him to create an often-copied style of hunting shoes with rubber soles, along with leather and sometimes one (e.g., shearling) or even two (e.g., fur) other animal-derived materials. “Duck boots,” as they’re now more commonly known, are basically the Turducken of footwear.
Because skin is the most economically important coproduct of the meat industry, buying leather directly contributes to cruelty on farms and the slaughter of animals such as cows, sheep, and dogs.
A shearling garment is made from the skin and coat of a sheep or a lamb who was shorn shortly before slaughter. The skin is tanned with the wool still on it.
Animals such as rabbits, minks, and foxes are subjected to the cheapest and cruelest killing methods available for their fur, including suffocation, electrocution, gas, and poison.
So if you like the duck-boot style but want nothing to do with cruelty, choose from these compassionate options for hybrid winter footwear. What should we call them? Snowducken? FauxBooten? KindFooten?
Kohl’s appreciates simplicity.
Native Shoes adds a kick with some color.
Jambu adds a heel for an extra bit of fashion to the utilitarian boot.
Aerosoles keeps it simple and mid-calf (as in body part, not baby cow!).
Vegetarian Shoes‘ kicks are an investment, but they’ll be super-sturdy for years to come.
Ozark Trail spices things up with red plaid.
Steve Madden is always reliable for affordable, stylish classics.
Bogs is another good investment for a sturdy winter boot.
Payless celebrates the classic look.
These options are a cute way to keep your feet dry and warm, right? For more fashion with compassion, check out our tips on creating a cruelty-free closet.