Vegan Boots and Happy Feet

28 02 2009

The Kiowa Vegan XCRThere are good-quality, leather-free shoes and boots available in the marketplace. Many of us have been wearing them for years. But many still believe sturdy boots need to be leather and make this concession in their otherwise animal-friendly lifestyle. Well, the options are out there and I’m going to proudly support one of them right now.

I said goodbye to my old vegan work boots (No Bull from Pangea) last week. Made entirely from cotton and synthetics, they held up to a lot of abuse from me for six years, but, feeling a draft on my toes, it was time to search for a new pair. My search took me quickly to Garmont – a company so proud of their animal-product-free boot alternatives that they went ahead and named them The Vegans. For a sturdy, all-around work boot, they sell the Kiowa Vegan, with a goretex lined option for all weather wear. And for a lighter hiking shoe, they sell the Nagevi Vegan, also available with an all-weather option.

Are they hard to find? Not at all. A quick search of their website ( led me to three locations very close to me. So I happily made my way into Robinson’s Outdoor Store in Victoria, BC, where the well-versed staff were happy to fit me with a new pair of Kiowa Vegan XCRs.

Cost-wise, there is no difference between these animal-friendly options and their mainstream counterparts. If you still cringe at the cost of a good-quality pair of boots or shoes, just remember how your purchase affects you and your world in the long run. A good boot will last at least twice as long as its cheap, box-store counterpart, and – in the case of Garmont’s Vegans – you’ll be lessening your impact on other species while proving a point that we can all affect change with our choices. There is great power in our wallets.

How do I like my new boots? I’m loving them! I spend a lot of time in the woods and these boots are light-weight and very sturdy.

Wait! I just heard the chuckle of the hardened construction worker who doubts that the Kiowa Vegan will stand up to the impact of a backhoe inadvertently running over his or her toes. It might not, my friend, but I have an animal-friendly option for you, too. Check out this high-top, steel-toed option from Moo Shoes ( This boot has been standing up to all sorts of wear and tear for years without giving an inch in its stance for animal welfare. You can absolutely kiss leather boots good-bye.

So here’s to happy feet for everyone!