Happy Winter Solstice, everyone!
This time of year always makes me think of the smell of wood smoke, walking through snowy, muddy fields in the winter sun, and coming in from the cold to have a hearty vegetable stew by a roaring fire.
Of course, I live in the city, so I hardly ever get to do these things. When I do get to walk through the fields I wear wellies, cause I’m not going to destroy a perfectly good pair of designer vegan shoes by dragging them through the mud and snow.
But as we all know, city life offers plenty of opportunities for country living too – parks, farmers’ markets, those rustic-looking hipster cafes that have wooden crates instead of shelves and, of course, Wholefoods (beggars can’t be choosers!)
So to honour my favourite Pagan holiday and our connection to nature (whatever form it takes) here are four vegan shoe and boot picks in gorgeous natural tones, made by ethical, sustainable companies. They’ll make you feel more in tune with the earth even if you live in a concrete jungle.
Ello-C Natural Cork Vegan Flats by Po-Zu
Made with natural materials from sustainable sources, these lovely flats are smart, feminine and sensible all at the same time, so if you’re also, smart, feminine and sensible, you’ll probably like them.
If you live in a hot country, you can obviously wear these pretty much all year round, even though they are from the spring / summer collection.
Po-Zu is an ethical company that makes a big deal out of sourcing eco-friendly materials. They’re not 100% vegan (they use wool an some eco-tanned leather), but they do have a massive vegan range, including some nice cork trainers for men. You can get them here.
Frida Vegan Military Style Boots by Beyond Skin
Beyond Skin’s vegan, ethical take on the classic Dr. Martens style boot is similar enough to fit in with the trend, but different enough to be unique. The polished burgundy colour is absolutely gorgeous, too. You probably know Beyond Skin already, but if you don’t, you should check out the information on their site. Apart from being 100% vegan, they use lots of recycled materials in their shoes and all their shoes are made in the EU so you’re not getting any slave labour crap. They cost about the same as regular DMs, but you’d be supporting a 100% vegan company, plus the vegan cherry DMs are not quite as bright and not as tall.
Get these from the Beyond Skin site.
Action 3 Vegan Knee-high Boots by Vegetarian Shoes
Made by Vegetarian Shoes, which have been around since forever and are ethical, eco-friendly and, obviously, vegan. I’m not sure if they’re called “Action” because they’re ready for action or because they look like something that could go with a superhero outfit, but they do look like boots you could walk around in all day. I don’t own these boots, but I expect they are sensible, comfortable and hard-wearing like all Vegetarian Shoes products I’ve ever owned. Apparently the soles have good traction, so these would probably do OK in mild to moderate countryside conditions. They also come in black. You can get them here.
Exeter Shoe by Green Shoes
These timeless, earty, unisex shoes are actually handmade to order in the British countryside in a small artisan business, so you could probably take them for a walk in a field without fear.
They’re made out of hard-wearing lorica in a range of colours and will basically last you a lifetime, as they can apparently be resoled when worn out. They have a price tag to match, but when you divide it by a lifetime of comfortable wear, that’s actually very reasonable. They come in a range of earthy colours, as well as muted brights like red and purple. Hippies definitely love the look, but these also fit in perfectly well with the urban bohemian style. If these are too sensible and manly for you, there are some girlier shoes in the range, too.
Green Shoes are not 100% vegan but are sustainable and ethical, plus pretty much all their shoes and boots can be made in vegan materials.
Get these from the Green Shoes website.