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Vegan Sneakers & Casual Shoes

Looking for vegan hiking boots?

Unfortunately, finding truly animal-friendly sneakers isn’t as easy as it should be, especially if you just want to walk down to your nearest shoe store and grab a pair. Finding non-leather shoes isn’t that hard, particularly with cheaper models, however there is still a question of glue and colour dye used. Even within the same model line, some colourways can be vegan and others not, as the material and dyes change based on the colour.

In contacting some of the largest shoe makers, I got similar replies, in that they cannot guarantee ANY model as vegan, because the source of glue changes per factory location and cannot be verified. As well as a very interesting reply from Vibram on their rubber shoes.

Nike

We do not have a shoe that is 100% animal [free]. The Running and Cross Training silos are great places to start, as shoes that are designed to be lightweight will usually not include full grain leather. Those would be the closest options for you.

Puma

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that any of our shoes are completely “Vegan”. Many of the adhesives and other parts of the shoes may contain animal products.

New Balance

Most of our models are made with synthetic materials. However, we do use different types of glues depending on what is available. Some of our glues will contain animal products as many glues do. Although the shoe may be made of synthetic material we cannot guarantee that any of our styles will be completely vegan.

Skechers

Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that the vegetarian shoes are 100% vegan. the reason for this is the glue which is used.

Vibram

Some information from our chemist:

“The one ingredient that would kick us out is our Stearic Acid, which can be based on Tallow but also on vegetables. We go back and forth between the two sources (as they function the same in the compound), and pretty much all rubber formulas utilize Stearic Acid…

As for the adhesives, all of the ones that I am familiar with are based on petrochem, not animal sources.”

FINDING VEGAN SHOES

So, where CAN you get vegan sneakers?

Well, if you are only interested in whether the shoes consist of any leather parts, you can often find information on the shoe itself. Check on the tongue of the shoe for written descriptions such as “Leather upper” or “Synthetic Upper” and “Man-made materials”. Often there are only symbols listed, either on the tongue or as a sticker on the inner sole or on the base of the shoe. The following is an explanation of what these symbols mean.

shoe material

If you are looking for a truly vegan shoe however, you will have to look a little harder. There are of course a few brands who are exclusively vegan, but they are not as widely available and you may have to order online. Others have specific vegan models, and some are “accidentally vegan”.

Its a little hard to buy shoes online without trying on for size first, but it might be your best bet in finding the pair you want. Sites like zappos have a vegan shoe section, and while they do not deliver internationally, it can help at least in showing available models. Searching Amazon will give you mixed results, and I would only go for ones where “Vegan” is part of the description and or title, don’t just go by the materials listed. The guys at Vegan Kicks try to stay on top of the latest vegan shoe offerings, but sometimes include models from companies that I have listed above as “cannot confirm”, so it can boil down to the sales rep that happens to reply to your email and the information they provide.

VEGAN BRANDS

Vegetarian Shoes
Based in Brighton, UK, Vegetarian Shoes are a great brand and have quality shoes. I also recommended their hiking boots.

Xtrainer Cheeta spider

   
Keep
All of Keep’s products are vegan, and produced in ethical working conditions.

   
VEGAN MODELS
These companies also sell leather shoes, but have dedicated vegan models and are labelled as such.

   

Montrail

Thank you for contacting Montrail. All of our current models are vegan except the Badrock Outdry.

That’s great news from Montrail, as they have a good range of trail shoes! Including the Mountain Masochist II for Men and Women.

   

Etnies
Etnies has a large range of vegan models and each vegan model on their site is clearly marked with their “holy cow!” symbol. Etnies are more common in stores too.

   

Toms
Famous for their “one-for-one” donation scheme, where for every pair of Toms shoes purchased, a child in need will also receive a pair of shoes, free. This is a great charity and lets you help others while treating yourself. Similarly, if you buy a pair of Toms Eye wear, you are helping restore sight for someone. Toms has a selection of Vegan & Sustainable models. You might be able to find these in stores.

   

Emerica
Small range of Vegan models from Emerica, also might be easier to find in stores.

   
Macbeth
Macbeth Sneakers are actually quite widely available, you just have to check for the vegan models, which are labelled on the shoe itself. Personally, I had a pair of Macbeth Elliot’s once and they didn’t last very long. However I think their other models are more durable and I know people who like and own them.

   

Saucony
There are two vegan branded models from Saucony, the “Bullet Vegan” and “Jazz Low Pro Vegan”.

   

Merrell

There are two vegan friendly trail runners from Merrell, the Men’s Trail Glove Barefoot and the Women’s Glove Swift Barefoot.

ACCIDENTALLY VEGAN
Shoes that happen to be vegan, but are not labelled as such or even intentionally vegan, they just happen to be, and only discovered after checking with sales reps.

Onitsuka Tiger (By Asics)

Thank you for contacting ASICS America Corporation. When it comes to
non-leather vegan shoe options, a great place to start looking would be in
our Onitsuka Tiger line. There are many styles and versions made annually,
but below are a few of our most popular models that I know are considered
vegan.

– Ultimate 81
– Rio Runner
– Sakurada
– Mexico 66 Slip-On
– Mexico 66 Paraty

OK, that’s the official response from Asics, however it is only certain colourways within these models that are vegan. Finding out which ones are isn’t that easy, and it changes each season, but you can use the tips above to find out using Zappos and Vegan Kicks.

I am currently on my second pair of Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81s, and bought a pair of the Mexico 66 Paraty at the same time. I like these sneakers and the low profile is quite comfortable.

Airline comparison for Vegetarian meal options

Below is a table listing major Airlines and which of the Vegetarian Meal Codes they offer. The name of the Airline is linked to the page on their website where the information was sourced. As guessed, Asia based Airlines have the best offerings! Airlines with all seven options are in bold.

Note: American Airlines and Iberia (who uses AA’s information on special meals) have conflicting information about their options. The website states it “May contain dairy products”, yet the #link is tagged as “vegan”. An AA representative told my by phone that their VGML is indeed a “Vegan, Vegetarian meal”, yet an email response stated it may contain Dairy. There are no other options listed. Due to this conflicting information, and myself having varied success on their flights, I have left them out of this table. You can see the vague information on the website here.
Also, I have yet to confirm with Saudi Arabian Airlines if their veg meal is Lacto Vegetarian or Vegan.

Airline VGML
Vegan
VJML
Vegan Jain
VOML
Vegan Oriental
VLML
Lacto Ovo
AVML
Asian Veg
RVML
Raw Veg
FPML
Fruit Platter
Aer Lingus X X X X X
Agean X X X X
Air Berlin X X X X X
Air Canada X X
Air China
Air France X X X X
Air New Zealand
Alitalia X X X X
ANA All Nippon Airways X X X X
Asiana X X
Austrian Airlines X
BA – British Airways X X X
BMI X X X
VGML
Vegan
VJML
Vegan Jain
VOML
Vegan Oriental
VLML
Lacto Ovo
AVML
Asian Veg
RVML
Raw Veg
FPML
Fruit Platter
Cathay Pacific
china airlines X
China Eastern
China Southern X
Continental X X X X
Copa X X X X X
Delta X X X X X
El Al X X
Emirates
Finn Air X X X X
JAL – Japan Airlines X X X
KLM X X X
Korean Air X
Lan Chile X X X X X
Lufthansa X X
Malaysia Airlines
VGML
Vegan
VJML
Vegan Jain
VOML
Vegan Oriental
VLML
Lacto Ovo
AVML
Asian Veg
RVML
Raw Veg
FPML
Fruit Platter
Qantas X
Qatar
Saudi Arabian Airlines ? X X ? X X
SAS X X X X
Singapore Airlines
Swiss Air X X
Thai Airways
Turkish Airlines
United X X X X
US Airways X X X X
Virgin Atlantic X X X
VGML
Vegan
VJML
Vegan Jain
VOML
Vegan Oriental
VLML
Lacto Ovo
AVML
Asian Veg
RVML
Raw Veg
FPML
Fruit Platter

 

Airline Meal Codes for Vegetarians & Vegans

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No one really likes Airline food, but you should at least be able to get something matching your dietary requirements, and there is a “Meal Code” consistency amongst Airlines. Often referred to as “Special Meals”, the codes stand for the type of meal, and are defined by the ingredients and methods that may be used to prepare those meals.

These codes only apply to long-haul flights where meals are complimentary. To get a special meal, you must request it at least 48 hours before your flight. I usually call the Airline about a week before I fly, 2 days before, and then again at the check-in counter to confirm. This may seem overkill, but if it isn’t in the system by the time you check-in, you probably won’t get it, and some times staff simply fail to add it correctly. I’ve been stuck before on long-haul flights with no food, and it sucks.

Also note, that quite often you will get standard (read: non vegan) condiments with your vegan requested meal. For example, butter, margarine or salad dressing. So always check these first.

Budget airlines & short-haul flights that have food “for purchase” have very different meals and snacks, rarely with any vegan options. Pre-purchased meals however, like on Air Asia, may have vegan options, so check when booking.

In any case, as a backup for both short and long-haul flights, I always bring some food of my own. Cold pasta or rice dishes, sandwiches, and fruit all work well. Don’t bring anything with too much liquid or paste or you may lose it at the security check point.

There are seven codes that are of interest to Vegetarians and Vegans, five of which are fully vegan. Emirates has the best descriptions, as written below:

A list of Airlines and which meals they offer is coming soon!

Vegetarian Meal (VGML) – VEGAN

Also known as Vegan, this meal is totally free of any animal products or by-products such as eggs or dairy products. It contains one or more of these ingredients: all types of vegetables and fresh fruit.

It does NOT contain any type of meat, fish, or animal products or by-products.

Vegetarian Jain Meal (VJML) – VEGAN

This meal is for members of the Jain community who are pure vegetarians. It is prepared with a selection of Indian condiments. It contains one or more of these ingredients: fresh fruit and stem vegetables that grow above the ground.

It does NOT contain: animal products and by-products, and any root vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, ginger, garlic, potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes, etc.

Vegetarian Oriental Meal (VOML) – VEGAN

This is a Vegetarian Meal (VGML) that is also prepared Chinese or Oriental-style.

Vegetarian Lacto-Ovo Meal (VLML)

This is a Vegetarian Meal that may also contain eggs and dairy products. It contains one or more of these ingredients: vegetables, fresh fruit, eggs, dairy products, and pulses.

It does NOT contain any type of fish or meat.

Asian Vegetarian Meal (AVML)

This meal is available for vegetarian passengers. It is usually aromatic and spicy, and incorporates flavours from the Indian sub-continent. It contains one or more of these ingredients: all types of vegetables, fresh fruit and milk products.

It does NOT contain any type of meat, fish or eggs.

Raw Vegetable Meal (RVML) – VEGAN

This meal consists exclusively of raw vegetables and salads.

Fruit Platter (FPML) – VEGAN

This meal may be ordered for dietary reasons. It may also be ordered by members of certain communities who eat only fruit while fasting.

It contains one or more of these ingredients: seasonal fresh fruit.

It does NOT contain canned fruit.