I’ve always had a thing for Italian shoes, but when I stopped wearing leather (and for many many years afterwards, frankly) there was pretty much nothing available that wasn’t made of dead animal. Italian footwear is known for its high quality, so if you think quality = leather, you’re not going to “cut corners” by using anything else. Thankfully, the vegan wave has arrived in Italy as well, and there are now quality shoe manufacturers who consciously avoid the use of leather without compromising on quality. I was therefore very happy when I was contacted by Risorse Future and asked whether I would like to review a pair of their shoes for this blog. After some internal debate (there are so many pretty shoes on that site) I went for the “Martin Pyramid“, a low Oxford shoe with a brilliantly unusual, bold pattern (of pyramids).
About the brand
Risorse Future is an environmentally-conscious, 100% vegan footwear brand from Italy (the word “risorse” means “resources” in Italian) that uses materials like hemp, cotton and REACH-certified microfibre (a synthetic material that uses no harmful chemicals in the production process). They’ve been making shoes since 1955 and making 100% vegan shoes since 2010.
Risorse Future make shoes, boots and trainers for men and women. There are classic trainer and boot varieties for guys (desert boots, walking boots, various types of popular trainer styles), and those plus lovely Oxfords and brogues for women. We’re talking sensible, comfortable, but stylish, rather than break-neck heels or red carpet shoes. They also make bags and belts. Their main attraction is, I believe, the use of bright, bold patterns. There are plenty of offerings in more classic, subdued tones, but the brightly coloured shoes and boots are definitely what makes this collection stand out. This is not a cheap collection – the shoes cost over 100 euros, so basically the same as what you’d expect to pay for good quality shoes from medium to high-end leather footwear brands.
The Martin Pyramid
Design and construction
The Martin shoe is a classic Oxford, with a name that made me wonder if it’s a wink or a nod to Dr Martens. The pyramid pattern caught my eye because I figured it hits that sweet spot between versatility and brightness. It’s loud, but not too loud and I can be lazy and wear it with black (which is frankly what I wear most of the time) or match it with a whole load of different solid colours. It also goes really well with jeans. The patterned version offers an almost 100% natural upper as far as I can tell, including the lining (though the back might feature some sort of microfibre). There is a small “leather look” logo on the tongue, which I assume is synthetic. The shoes are super lightweight and breathable. Unlike Dr Martens Oxfords (and some others) there is no visible stitching (welting). I can’t tell whether they’re cemented or welted without taking them apart and that’s not going to happen any time soon. Suffice it to say they look solid.
I used to be a 38 EU (5 UK) and am now usually more of a 5.5-6 UK, so I went for the 39, as there are no half sizes. I’d say these are a bit on the larger side, so are quite roomy on my fairly narrow feet and around the toes. This was quite noticeable when I wore thinner socks, which is what I assume most people would wear these with. I don’t think they are a full size larger than what I’d expect, though, so am happy with my choice.
Comfort and durability
I wore the shoes for two days straight. Once with thick socks and once with thinner ones. They are overall very comfortable to wear, though the backs of the shoes are pretty stiff, so it will take some time to break them in properly. I generally see this as a good sign, because all my most durable shoes took some time to break in. Nowadays I worry about shoes that don’t, because it means they won’t last very long. That said, if you’re like me and usually get new shoes rubbing your heels the wrong way, plaster up in advance until they’re broken in. Apart from that, no issues at all, and I walked around for several miles both days. They are certainly light enough to allow for a lot of walking (or dancing, seeing as they look like party shoes to me!) without making your feet feel tired and sore.
These are pretty shoes with a funky pattern that will definitely get you noticed. I was getting comments everywhere I went with these (including from male friends who’d happily wear them, so it would be neat if these went up to bigger sizes, too). I’ve not seen anything remotely similar apart from some limited edition Dr Martens (and apparently the canvas Dr Martens are not always 100% vegan because of the glue) and I’ve never seen this or any of the other Risorse Future patterns anywhere else. These shoes look like they will last for quite some time, but I’ll update this post as I continue to wear them.
Vegan Shoe Addict is always happy to receive vegan shoes to review. If you’d like your vegan or vegan-friendly brand featured or shoes reviewed, please do get in touch.