The Ethics of Footwear…
Whew! Life has been kicked into major high gear these past few days! I am working 6 days a week plus planning for the impending move not to mention cooking and being a cat/bunny mom! Yesterday Maddie and I took a much needed break and enjoyed some of what our lovely little Carrboro has to offer.
One of the shining moments were these little babies right here:
vegan sandals woo hoo! These are Sanüks– 100% vegan, ethical, and comfortable to boot! Er uh, to sandal! Maddie and I have fallen head over heels for this company and I’m already fantasizing about a new pair of shoes for the fall… (If you have a wide foot like me these shoes are great!)
Shopping for some new shoes brought up several really good vegan issues for me as I searched for just the perfect pair. I had a much harder time than I anticipated weeding through all of the cute shoes at our local outdoors store. So many of them contain leather! (Even Toms, which I love, have leather soles even if most of the shoe is made from canvas. Only their shoes that are actually labeled “vegan” are well, actually vegan…)
Shopping around at a great local business that I love and still having trouble finding vegan shoes really got me to thinking about animal products in the things we wear. It was a great opportunity for me to show Maddie some of the ins and outs of uncovering hidden leather in shoes and other products. These days animals in consumables is almost a given. Shoe manufacturers are so good as disguising leather behind colorful prints, vinyl, and canvas that it’s hard for even the most trained eye to pick out the vegan from the unethical.
Maddie and I both wear old leather shoes from our pre-vegan days. Many of these were secondhand to begin with, either thrifted or given to us from family members as lucky cast offs in search of a new home. The new shoes we buy are ethical and vegan, and we try to get them as locally as possible. We’re still in talks about our feelings regarding recycled leather. Is it ethical or still representative of the systems we’re fighting so hard against? I really have mixed feelings on this subject. Part of me feels that recycling and not allowing materials to go to waste is the best option here, but part of me also feels unsure about wearing animal products at all- new or thrifted. By purchasing or receiving these products secondhand we’re still taking our dollars away from those larger systems that ultimately create a demand for animal based goods.
So is thrifted leather vegan or not? I’ve opened up the dialogue, now share your thoughts!