Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vegan Shoe Shopping

The search for the perfect vegan pair of boots began innocently, I had two rules: 1) No dagger heels so I can actually walk, 2) My boots must be vegan.

The second rule is where everything went wrong. The confounding inability to find attractive vegan shoes is an experience I've encountered before, which has in the past caused me to cheat. Yes, I bought mainstream leather based shoes. I don't feel good about it, not because I morally object to humans wearing leather shoes but because I morally object to the way that we produce our goods that derive especially from animals. This is my little activism, which actually has remarkable results. Check this out:

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:

● 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:

● Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;

That sure beats a protest in my mind. You can read the full article at Alternet, that lays out how abstaining from meat one day a week can help save the world. (Maybe that's too much to ask?? Save the world or a Big Mac, reduce CO2 or another steak...hard choices in life).

But this blog is about the very important woes of vegan shoe shopping, not a crusade to rescue our environment.  Let me go back to early this year where after a google search  I landed on Vegan Chic, a shop with very cute goods, so cute that checked back intermittently to see if their  "green corduroy" boots would be restocked (they only had size 5). I even



emailed and to no avail, size 5 is it. So with much gusto, I moved on to About.com and branched out systematically from there. First stop was Vegan Wares the Melbourne, Australia based shop that holds the title as the very place that I bought my first ever vegan shoes -- cute yet classic and black (see photo).

My second stop was Ethical Wares, but they don't have much, then on to Zappos where you can narrow your search by "vegetarian" which gives you about 20 pair of unappealing shoes. I find myself having this weird flash of a very Eco conscious Paris Hilton exclaiming, "Like, Oh my God, why aren't there any cute vegan boots? I should so start my own unique line." So, Paris wasn't quite up to it, but thank goodness Natalie Portman is! If you can shell out $300ish for shoes errr these are definitely cute.

I then find an article championing the break throughs in vegetarian footwear and berate myself for being so picky, then more determined, zip through all of the links in the article (well many until I became frustrated) only to find that it's mainly cool urban footwear. This is very good, but I want more. I envision a world of organic vegan and vegetarian slow food ma an pa restaurants on every corner, with shoe shops where men that smell like polish fix your shoes that last for a decade before they wear out. I have great dreams that include beautiful vegan boots.

And the fact that I'm actually sitting here and typing this gives me pause. I've never thought of myself as someone who could write about fashion nor as someone who would want to, but it feels like so much more. As the world around us is disfigured into a place inhospitable to supporting life, every single choice we make matters more than ever. As we sit in our homes wondering, what can I do -- little me, to combat the big BIG problems of the world there are simple steps that glare in front of us that require that we only live by the rule, if the action springs from a place of love then do it, if not don't.

And so my search for vegan shoes is an action sprung from love, which is in this case a vision of a world where animals aren't shoved in crowded cages and fed steroids and grain so that I can have 25 pairs of cute leather shoes to match any outfit. Is that so radical?

I searched on  Moo Shoes, which also has a great selection of boots of course they didn't have the ones that I wanted in my size.  I then surfed onto Vegetarian Shoes and found the right ones for me!! Hooray! But, I still haven't bought them because the shop is in the UK and I find that somewhat off that these boots, which are made in Portugal, then shipped to the UK, would then ship to the US. Sigh...the search continues.