It’s not very often that I find myself feeling proud to be British. The combination of an ignorant government, history of colonisation, and our obsession with toxic masculinity makes me question my own relationship to this weird island we live on. But every so often comes an occasion when I think to myself “being British isn’t actually that bad” – whenever I hear an Arctic Monkeys track, whenever I think of that “Gary Linekar shags crisps” flag, whenever I see a Reebok classic. Reebok classics are the most iconic British trainer to ever exist, and I absolutely love them. However, after going vegan I realised that I can’t buy leather trainers anymore. I can’t refuse eat an animal but wear it’s skin on my feet in the name of fashion. This sent me on a mission: to find a decent vegan trainer.
I’m gunna be honest – it’s bloody difficult. An organic search for “vegan shoes” just brought up loads of weird hemp boots and flip flops – the kind your white mate with dreads and an LSD complex wears. I don’t wanna walk around wearing them, I want to find a trainer that is still fashionable without utilising leather or suede.
Next I searched specifically for vegan trainers, and filtered by the main brands (Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Puma and Fila). I found a lot of results – but almost all of the trainers were running shoes, and as someone who refuses to run for the bus, it’s pointless me blowing £140 on a pair that I’ll only be wearing to walk to the shops and back. A lot of the patterns were gross – weird mixes of blue and brown – and just not something that I was here for.
Feeling snervous that I’d be destined for a life of wearing hemp boots and slipper socks, I took to ASOS and filtered by “non leather”. I was delighted at all the amazing trainers that were listed – until I clocked that the majority had leather in them at a 50% ratio, so still used it. ASOS – what are you playing at? Sort it out!
After an hour of searching and stressing, I found a couple of trainers which were vegan friendly.
Other vegan-friendly trainers include certain Nike Roshe, a selection of Vans – but not Old Skool – and most trainers that are made of velvet.
Currently, you cannot buy a Reebok classic in fake leather, nor can you buy a Superstar or an Air Max. The vegan population has gone up by 360% in the last decade, and many of the major food and drink companies are now providing vegan options. Cosmetic brands are pushing towards cruelty free make up – so why is the fashion footwear industry lagging behind? Not only is using faux leather better for the animals, it’s better for the environment. We only have one planet (in case you didn’t know), and major fashion brands need to be doing more to ensure they are creating trainers that are sustainable.