Most people know veganism as a type of diet where followers forgo any food products that come from animals. However, many vegans also refuse to use or purchase any form of animal product. For example, they won't wear any clothing that includes wool, fur, silk, or leather.
That last material is unfortunately a primary component in many shoes. Vegans don't have to go barefoot, though. There are plenty of shoe manufacturers that have replaced leather with a wide variety of non-animal products.
You can find vegan sneakers women's products that contain rubber, plastic, canvas, cork, plants, fruit waste, and more. And these products just keep getting more popular and numerous. Read on to learn why this is so.
A Rise in Concern for Animal Welfare
Thanks in part to education initiatives by animal welfare nonprofits, concern about the welfare of animals has been steadily growing over the decades.
In 1960, there were only about 600 animal welfare groups. Now there are close to 20,000. Also, animal protection funding per capita has increased from 20 cents in 1910 to more than 10 dollars in 2018.
One of the largest concerns of these groups is factory farming. The animals raised here for food and other products are kept in very inhumane conditions. Not only are they kept in small, confined spaces for most of their lives, but they're also often mutilated and psychologically tortured in other ways.
Cows, one of the main sources of leather, are often taken away from their mothers too soon after birth. This causes the mother cow to cry for days. These animals are also commonly tail-docked and castrated without anesthetic.
As the production of leather also often requires factory farming and other brutal practices, those concerned about animal welfare are choosing to not wear it. These can include those who practice a fully vegan lifestyle, but veganism is certainly not a requirement. These individuals will choose men's and women's vegan sneakers, jackets, and other products instead of ones with genuine leather.
A Rise in Environmental Concerns
Other concerns that directly conflict with the leather shoe industry are ones about climate change and other eco-conscious issues. Like animal welfare, public awareness and worry about these problems have also risen.
Pew Research Group found that over half of those surveyed in 20 countries see climate change as a serious issue. Almost 71% of this same group say they'd choose environmental protection over job creation. Around seven in ten also report seeing the effects of climate change in their area.
Another environment-related concern that's gaining popularity is recycling. According to the EPA, recycling efforts were less than 7 percent in 1960. Now, they're more than 32 percent.
As the eco-conscious are learning, industries that produce sustainable sneakers for women and men can help lessen these issues.
Environmental Destruction and the Leather Industry
What does the leather production industry have to do with environmental destruction? The facts show that this industry causes a lot of environmental damage regularly.
The livestock industry which usually has a hand in creating leather is a major creator of environmental pollution. For a start, cows and other livestock produce the chemical methane after they've fully digested their high-fiber meals. Methane is one of the most destructive greenhouse gases or chemicals directly involved in climate change.
Then there's the matter of livestock waste. The feces and urine produced by livestock animals often wind up in rivers, lakes, and other water bodies. There, it can cause health concerns not just for animals but humans as well.
The leather industry also causes a lot of damage to the environment. The process of preserving leather often includes environmentally destructive chemicals like chromium dust.
Environmental Sustainability and Leather Alternatives
Multiple leather alternatives are produced via upcycling and/or sustainable practices.
Many food-based leather alternatives are created from the waste products left behind by farmers after harvesting fruits and vegetables. Included in this group are leather alternatives made from the remains of corn, apple, orange, mango, pineapple, and many more crops. Without this creative usage, all of this material would just go to waste.
Another benefit that plant-based leather alternatives have is to find uses for materials that are causing environmental damage. A rise in global temperatures has caused algae to grow and cause damage. By using the plant in men's and women's sustainable sneakers, it can be gathered and used without waste.
Many companies are also upcycling old materials into shoes. Old rubber tires and PET plastic bottles and nets are two such materials receiving this treatment. With these actions, the companies keep these plastics from polluting the environment.
The Materials Are Just as Good
One of the concerns of people on the fence about following the recent men's and women's vegan sneakers trends is quality. They may still care about animal cruelty and the environment, but fear that more sustainable sneakers for women and men won't be as good as leather ones.
However, this isn't the case. While leather alternative materials don't have the same qualities as leather, they can still be as good or better than it in several areas.
Cork, for instance, is waterproof. This is a trait that leather doesn't have. Leather tends to dry out and crack after it's exposed to water.
Pineapple also has a higher tensile strength than leather. Corn fabric is easier to clean. Hemp is six times stronger than steel.
All of these benefits and more are convincing more people to purchase vegan sneakers for women and men.
Our Hemp Vegan Sneakers Women's Choices Will Help You Stay on Trend
In sum, the current men's and women's vegan sneakers trends are mostly due to rises in concern for animal welfare and the environment. The benefits of these types of sneakers also make it easy for those who still want high-quality shoes to wear and buy them.
If you're interested in jumping on the vegan sneakers women's and men's trend, consider our hemp-based shoes. They're good for you and good for the planet. Check out some of our women's sustainable sneakers on this page.