To me, being vegan is easy. I like to tell people “don’t over complicate things”.
- Being vegan is easy because I am not depriving myself of anything. This isn’t a punishment, it is a choice. I feel GOOD about what I’m doing. If I crave a non-vegan food then I acknowledge that, I’m ok with that, but I still choose not to have it. I don’t really want it because of what it meant for that animal. And in making that choice I am strong and empowered and compassionate and true to the person I want to be. Which shouldn’t be hard.
- Even transitioning vegan can be easy. You may think you would NEVER go near a vegan meal but chances are you’ve had one. Peanut butter sandwich? Spaghetti with tomato sauce? Lentil soup? Hummus and pita? Falafel? Chickpea stew? Cucumber or avocado sushi? A bag of ready salted crisps? It’s not hard. Many many things we know and love are vegan. You don’t necessarily need specialty food or hours in the kitchen to feel healthy and satisfied.
But there are two areas that bug me.
- Shoes. And wine.
Because I love wine this doesn’t bother me so much. It’s a great excuse to talk to vintners and learn about winemaking and has led me to try some delicious drinks I would never otherwise have picked up.
But I don’t love shoes.
It exhausts me trying to find something ethical. So much so that when I found out my old Asics were vegan ( all Asics shoes with an ‘N’ in the product code are vegan) I wore the ugly things continuously, not caring how I looked, just glad to be comfortable and moral. But that wore off and I needed to get something at least a bit pretty, for my own self esteem. And so began the search.
Shoes are either vegan by design – and therefore usually expensive – or “so cheap they’re vegan” in which case the manufacturer won’t pay for leather and spares an animal, but is likely to cause suffering by employing slave labour. So I prepared myself to splash out but still… There are brands I like, Will’s Vegan Shoes springs to mind as well as Novacas, Ohlsenhaus and Bourgeouis Boheme. But none of them had the sort of comfy, everyday, casual shoe I wanted.
Ethletic didn’t fit, nor did Macbeth. I was beginning to despair. But when I was recently in Malmo I found a shop called Hi On Life and, wandering in, found my shoe sole-mates (excuse the TERRIBLE joke but I couldn’t help it). Veja are a Brazilian company and whilst some of their shoes do use “sustainable” leather, two styles are leather-free. They use organic and fair trade cotton and wild rubber (to avoid the widespread deforestation fo the Amazon for rubber plantations). Plus they are GORGEOUS, fit perfectly and are super comfortable. Mine are Taua, in blue which must be last season as it’s not online, but I quite fancy a pair of Mediterranees. OK, maybe I do like shoes…
Do you have a favourite vegan shoe brand? Please do share any of your own discoveries with me! What items/product have you found make being vegan a challenge?