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Shoes, sneakers and general foot wear question !


Monow
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Since going vegan I now find buying new footwear with animal products in them kind of tough to cope with. I will wear out anything I have, but all new stuff I would like to be none leather.

 

So I wondered if there is real alternatives to standard brands out there. I have got so use to Reebok Classics ( a pic here http://www.jjbsports.com/reebok/rbkfw/fwmr/05166707/) with their look and feel, plus they can be bought for under £30 ($60) which is good for the UK. That I'm wondering what my options are.

 

I have had a a look at a few vegan foot wear sites (e.g. http://www.vegetarian-shoes.co.uk/showcategory.aspx?categoryid=18&show=all), but they are £60 + ($120+) a pair of trainers (sneakers), plus you can't try them on before buying. I'm kind of use to walking into one of my local stores and trying them on before deciding.

 

So is there vegan friendly trainers (sneakers) in standard stores ?

 

Are any of the converse footwear ok ? Checking here they seem to be totally man made (http://www.rubbersole.co.uk/Products.aspx?CategoryID=1461) and no leather. Never bought converse before, anyone who's bought any, are they comfortable to wear ?

 

Also if it says 100% man made materials on walking boots, is that OK? I do realise every individual has to choose what level they will take it all to, and that all personal actions will caught reactions whatever. So at this moment I'm just seeing what is what. Which is kind of confusion at this stage

 

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http://www.newbalance.co.uk/

 

New Balance makes great vegan athletic shoes!

 

The company is pretty awesome in general. We have a few threads about them already, but check out their UK site, maybe you'll find something you like.

 

I don't think ALL are vegan, but they have over 100 styles of man-made, non-leather or animal based shoes. I have 3 pairs right now and they rule!

 

Here is an article I just found:

 

New Balance launched its UK manufacturing facility for technologically innovative footwear 22 years ago. Against the trend, which has seen many of its competitors moving production overseas, the company remains committed to manufacturing in Britain, and has now been rewarded for its creativity, ambition and endeavour with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

 

Currently New Balance, which employs over 210 people at its site in Flimby, Cumbria, and produces over 28,000 pairs of shoes a week, derives nearly 90% of sales revenues from exports, with 40% of all footwear sold going to European markets.

 

“Everyone at New Balance is delighted and proud that our design and manufacturing innovation and our vital contribution to the sustainable growth of the UK economy has been recognised with such a prestigious and unique accolade,” said Alistair Cameron, General Manager- Europe, Middle East and Africa.

 

“The ‘Made in England’ cachet, coupled with product quality and manufacturing flexibility has offered us distinct advantages in certain of our export markets - significant examples being Japan and Italy, where we have achieved considerable market penetration.”

 

New Balance shoes have been available to the British market since 1979 when they were distributed by Fleetfoot, a company run by Olympic Gold Medallist, Chris Brasher. Once the brand became established in the running market, it was time to develop domestic manufacturing, a key philosophy of New Balance. Thus, in 1982 New Balance's first factory in the UK opened in the North West of England in the picturesque Lake District.

 

Situated on the coast of Workington, Cumbria, the New Balance production unit initially employed forty people. Work progressed there throughout the 1980's and up until 1991 when the factory was relocated to a larger, more modern premises, at a nearby town called Maryport.

 

The UK factory is a real success story, continuing to grow as demand increases. Currently employing a production team of 220, production runs at around 20,000 pairs of shoes a week with demand for even more.

 

In 1993 Modular Manufacturing (teamwork) systems were introduced, which meant more efficient production and better quality control. With this, system versatility was improved with employees trained on more than one job in the factory, which meant a more varied day's work for them, and tighter quality control for the product.

 

When the factory moved in 1991, production was around 2-3,000 pairs a week. Production has steadily increased as demand for New Balance shoes has grown throughout Europe. The factory handcrafts almost all New Balance running shoes and heritage classics, and has recently introduced the technology to begin manufacturing styles from the popular cross training fitness range. More and more styles are increasingly becoming 'UK made' as factory capacity expands, currently making over 80% of all New Balance shoes on sale in the UK.

 

In 1993 the factory was making 4,771 pairs of New Balance shoes a week. This increased to 7,403 by 1996 and to 9,787 by 1998. It is currently making around 20,000 pairs of shoes a week with demand for even more and will break the one million pair per year barrier in 2003.

 

The recent construction of a new 21,500 square foot warehouse enables production to be increased to an amazing 25,000 pairs of New Balance running shoes a week, by the end of 2003.

 

The UK factory is a real success story, continuing to grow as demand increases. However, there are some things that stay the same - many of the associates! New Balance Europe works hard to keep it's employees, and many employees have been with NB since 1982 when the first NB manufacturing facility in the UK opened its doors. New Balance Europe (UK) hopes to continue to experience favourable growth in the domestic manufacturing arena, and plans to continue to provide stable employment for the people of Maryport and the surrounding towns.

 

http://www.newbalance.co.uk/2005/AboutUs/NB-AboutUs-MIE.shtml

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Also if it says 100% man made materials on walking boots, is that OK?

 

Yes. I always look for a "100% man-made materials" or "fabric upper, balance man-made materials." I find a lot of vegan shoe stores have some of the ugliest shoes I've ever seen! Often, it's easier to find nicer looking shoes in other stores.

 

I've found non-leather shoes by Reebok, New Balance, Ryka, Avia and others (and I have a soft spot for Avia, because when I was looking for a pair of non-leather workout shoes years ago, the salesman who was helping me was the first one not to make some snide comment like "You mean PLASTIC?" or to actually know what I was looking for and tell me how the non-leather was actually superior to leather in some ways). Sorry, I'm not sure about Converse.

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i'm not sure if you will find a vegan shoe easily in your area, but if you feel like buying online, there's a brand called ''MacBeth'' and they have a line just for vegans shoes.. i think they're all sneakers.. but they're pretty comfortable and they last a lot.. and they're not expensive.. fair price i'd say..

 

i recommend you buy your shoes online.. there are several brands with good quality and price over the internet.

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Hey Monow,

 

I'm a bit fussy with my trainers, they need to look good.

 

A lot of Adidas and Nike uppers are synthetic.

 

I've got a rather battered pair of Adidas ZX 8000 - http://www.uk-trainers.com/acatalog/Adidas_ZX8000_Trainers.html - if you like your old skool trainers. It comes in a lot of colours, some OK, some hideous like http://size-online.co.uk/product.asp?id=3128, so shop around. Some of this style are made from leather though. I always check the label on the sole - if it's got the diamond logo, that means it's synthetic - if it's got the animal skin logo obviously it mean's it's (part ) leather/suede.

 

I had some classic Air Max too.

 

Even though the uppers can be all synthetic, I'm never 100% sure about glues and adhesives to be honest though.

 

Most running shoes are totally synthetic too, and some are fashionable enough to wear every day. Depends if you just want a vegan trainer, or a vegan trainer that looks half decent as well.

 

My ex-flatmate got some wicked Nike's and Puma's that seemed vegan from TK Maxx for next to nothing - just pot luck what they'e got in on the day in your size.

 

In terms of Reebok Classics, most of the big brands do their own version of it in a similiar style, maybe one of those has a non-leather upper?

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WOW what a big response on this topic. Thanks everyone for the helpful feedback. I will do more searches on your leads.

 

benny boy - Is The Attic a one off store of a small chain of stores that sell vegetarian/vegan stuff, never heard of it before. Is the store quite large ?

 

Robert - Thanks for the heads up on the newbalance trainers, there are 2 stores near me who do them, which is way cool, as I can try before I buy. Checking on the site, there are some that look pretty cool. YAY !

 

Kathryn - I must agree that on the vegan shoe sites there are some extremely ugly looking shoes, as if Homer Simpson designed them (see episode where Homer designs this perfect car, and destroys his brother's company by creativing an abomination of a vehicle). I mean if we have good taste in food, shouldn't we also be able to have a good taste in clothing

 

Andgbr - I'll check out Mcbeth. I think as soon as I am definite on brands and styles I'll just do all my trainer & shoe purchases online, much easier and cheaper. I buy nearly all my books, dvds and CDs on line now, along with supplements, so why not go one step further and get all my clothing on line.

 

CollegeB - Thanks for the heads up on the 2 sites. I will check them out. They are american based I see, but that is no problem as I hope to be coming to America early this year, so can have stuff sent to my friends house waiting for me. I love America for its cheap clothes, I can get 3 shirts for the same price as 1 in the UK.

 

PelicanAndrew - OK, so Zappos gets a thumbs up again, will definitely do a major check of the site soon then. Slightly off topic here - but after are brief chat on the forum about your Ska Band, I recently had to get a hit of the old SKA and ordered some old skool Ska (80s) of The Specials and Fun Boy 3 from Amazon, so should get them tomorrow. Ska'd 4 life !

 

Tarz - So Adidas and Nike do suitable trainers that's cool. My options just seem to be getting bigger And lots of old school stuff too. And yes the Adidas ZX8000 are pretty hideous, they remind me of 80s fashion of lycra, leg warmers, head sweat bands and work out videos (Mr motivator, Mad Lizzy etc). When you say diamond logo, what colour diamond are we talking ? And is the logo universal to all trainers or just one brand ?

 

Thanks again, now I can be happy in the knowledge that I don't have to wear terrible shoes

 

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Oops Forgot to say CollegeB - Preston is a city in the North West of England. About 45 mins drive or so from Liverpool and Manchester. And is suppose to be the originating place where the term "Tea total" is from, meaning to not drink alcohol. But I don't see that happening around here any more

 

Also the actor Kenny Baker (R2-D2 - Star Wars) lives here. Some times I see him in the local super market....And no C-3P0 isn't with him.

 

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Hmm tea total...interesting I heard it came from the prohibiton era (I assume only the US had such a time) and they had cards, I dont know if it was gov't or what but they would check off a "T" which meant total abstainer. The term "t-totaler" is what came about. I often thought it was tea totaler. either way thanks for letting me know. I want to look into this.

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  • 2 years later...

OK, back to looking for new footwear. Went the New Balance route last time, but would like to open my options up. Kind of looking into boots as well.

 

Just to clarify, going off this shoe label chart from this site http://www.whatapair.com/UnderstandingShoeLabels.aspx

 

Which specifies this :-

 

 

Textile: This means fabric, the list is endless. This is one of the symbols the vegans, vegetarians and eco-friendly consumers look for because it means all natural or man made materials are used for the construction.

 

Textiles

Other Materials: This is still man-made materials just a little different because these materials usually refer to the sole of the shoe. The most common of these materials are Thermoplastic Rubber, PVC, Rubber Compounds, Crepe, and Composition. All of these materials are friendly for the Vegan, Vegetarian and Eco-Friendly consumer.

 

If I go for any shoes with the "hash" sign and/or the Diamond shape on it, I can purchase the shoes with confidence ?

 

Sorry to labour the point, but I just want to make sure I get it right.

 

Kind of off topic.....but how to people go about buying jeans......As they have those darn little leather brand patches on the back of them Grrrrrr!!!!

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A quick word on MacBeths. I LOVE them, I have 4 pairs just now, and have had 3 previous to that. However they don't have any wear time at all. You'll be lucky to get 6 months of regular wear out of them, very lucky.

 

I've always had a horrible time finding shoes because I always buy online. Last 2 pairs I've had to send them back for a different size.

 

I still haven't found a pair of vegan skate shoes that I like enough to spend the usual £50-65 on. All the vegan styles from non-vegan companies are always the worst in their catalogue, in the worst colours.

 

Kind of off topic.....but how to people go about buying jeans......As they have those darn little leather brand patches on the back of them Grrrrrr!!!!

I had a stressful time the first time I went out to find a pair of jeans. Make sure you actually feel the patches though, a lot of them won't actually be leather!

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Thanks chewybaws & Tarz for your feedback.

 

Seems I have a lot of options then. I will look out for both of those brands, as they both look pretty cool looking trainer brands.

 

I will also use the footwear symbol system to back up my search.

 

When I became Vegan I thought eating was going to be the hardest part of it all, but I have now come to realise that it's the other stuff like clothing that offers just as much of a challenge, but it does make you become more aware at least.

 

The Search continues....

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Most K-Swiss though will be made with leather/suede, so they're no different to any other brand in that most of their trainers will be unsuitable, so as a rule I wouldn't particurly look-out for K-Swiss. With the big brands though, now and again though you do come across some good trainers....

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