A new trend that has been taking the marketplace by storm are vegan shoes. These animal-free pairs of footwear are a great alternative to the traditional leather brands. Leather is one of the most widely used animal skins in the world. And even if you don’t purchase leather shoes or boots, chances are there is some part of the shoe that is made of leather. So for a vegan wanting shoes that fit their lifestyle, it can be a difficult task. At least, it used to be a difficult task. But now there are a wide range of fashionable, functional and trendy vegan shoes available all over. And even if you’re not subscribing to a totally vegan lifestyle, there are reasons that you may want to at least cut back on the animal products you consume. And we don’t just mean the food.

A vegan lifestyle is one in which absolutely no animal products are used or consumed. This goes for food, shoes, clothing and anything else that may be a part of one’s daily life. It’s actually quite a sustainable and healthy way of living. But even if you’re not interested in fully committing to a vegan lifestyle you should still be concerned with the reasons vegans choose to live the way they do. Most designer shoes (and even normal brand-less shoes) are made from leather or different types of animal skins (i.e. snake skin shoes, etc.). But the conditions and circumstances surrounding the production of leather, wool, skins and furs are very horrible. Many farms that specialize in these types of products have very unlivable conditions, especially for animals. That’s precisely why vegan shoes have taken off.

For instance, leather, the most commonly used animal skin, is the product of a reportedly cruel industry. Animals are apparently tortured, confined to crowded spaces and then carelessly executed. They are also branded, dehorned and castrated without any type of anesthetic. Talk about torture – this is a horrible experience for any living creature to go through.

On the other hand things like snake skin shoes are also produced with a great degree of hardship for the animal. Most snake skin shoes are not made from the skins of just any snake. Most designers, producers and manufacturers actually prefer to use a python skin, which is torn off of the snakes while they are still living. This has led to California banning the sale of python shoes in any stores.

Vegan shoes have thus become a very viable alternative to these “chic” shoes. One can get very trendy, fashionable vegan shoes that are not made from any type of animal product. These types of shoes are entirely synthetic and man-made. So you can be sure that you’re not contributing to the torture or harm of any animal while still staying fly in your designer dress shoes. That is, as long as they are vegan shoes. Shop around your local shoe stores for some great vegan options. If you’re unsure, simply ask!