It used to be that synthetic shoes looked fake and cheaply made.
But now, a growing number of manufacturers are launching stylish shoes marketed as vegan and animal-friendly for women who don’t want any animal products in their footwear. And thanks to advances in synthetic materials such as faux leather and faux suede over the past decade, they look more fashionable and feel relatively comfortable.
Shira Kronzon/The Wall Street Journal
We tried a combo of boots, flats and heels
They are also available in a greater variety of prices and styles. We tried a combo of boots, flats and heels and thought that, for the most part, they looked well-made. All claimed to be made without any animal products.
Vegan fashion is a growing trend, says Michael McGraw, spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “Times have never been better for vegan fashion,” he says. “Vegan apparel and accessories companies are sprouting up everywhere in the U.S.”
Here’s a look at the latest styles, which we tested out—and modeled—around the newsroom:
Price: $198; Availability: olsenhaus.com
Comment: Made of natural linen with microfiber. The heels are three inches—too high for the office but good for a dinner date. We loved the Velcro strap that was easy to tighten around the ankle.
Neuaura Narmada Boot
Price: $165; Availability: next month at neuaurashoes.com
Comment: They are flat and looked practical enough to wear to work or on the weekend. The boots—tan with brown cuffs at the top—look like leather from a distance. Up close, the stitching along the zipper looked slightly haphazard compared with the higher-end boots (the company says those available for retail will be more finessed). We thought they were a good buy for the price.
Stella McCartney Faux Suede Over-the-Knee Platform Boots With Gold-Triangle Heel Detail
Price: $1,235; Availability: Stella McCartney stores, stellamccartney.com
Comment: The boots hit above the knees. We liked how the black faux suede, which looked real, fit tightly around the calf. They looked great for going out at night—for the brave women who can manage not to fall in platform shoes with 3.75-inch lacquered plastic heels.
TOMS in Vegan Arabesque/Soft Blue Stripe
Price: $49; Availability: tomsshoees.com
Comment: We loved these comfy flats, appropriate for walking around in jeans on a weekend. The top part is made with hemp and recycled plastic bottles. The bottom is recycled rubber. The insole is faux suede. —Anjali Athavaley