Part III: Specific Items

Posted on: Thu, 08/25/2005 - 23:02 By: Tom Swiss

Athletic Shoes

Men's: Addias - materials listed on box; call (800) 448-1796 for information. Asics GT-2010. Avia Stability Trainers and Defenders (possibly also those with hydrolite or HLT2, the 141 crosstrainer, the 2000 series running shoes, the 333, Arc 351, and Arc 383 walking shoes, and several basketballs shoes, but that's all based on old information). Brooks Vangaurds. Converse All Stars ("Chuck Taylors") and canvas One Stars. Etonic Stableairs. K-Swiss canvas sneakers. New Balance - most running and some walking shoes, read labels or write to 61 N. Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02134 for a current list of non-leather shoes. Rob Spray likes his Asahi MY-3 tennis shoes. Nike - call (800) 344-NIKE for a list of animal product-free shoes; many of their non-leather shoes use a synthetic called Durabuck. Saucony G.R.I.D. Sensation II, possibly others. Vans canvas, flannel, linnen oxfords; (800) 750-VANS for more information.

Women's: Addias - materials listed on box; call (800) 448-1796 for information. Asics GT-2010. Avia Stability Trainers (and possibly the 680 and 525 aerobics shoes, running shoes in the 2000 series, the 333, 383, and 351 walking shoes, but that's old information). Converse All Stars and canvas One Stars. Etonic Stableairs. Keds canvas shoes. New Balance - all running shoes and the 590 walking shoe; read labels or write to 61 N. Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02134 for a current list of non-leather shoes. Nike - call (800) 344-NIKE for a list of animal product-free shoes; many of their non-leather shoes use a synthetic called Durabuck. Reebok canvas sneakers. Richard Simmon's line from Payless Shoe Source. Saucony G.R.I.D. Sensation II, possibly others. Tretorn canvas tennis and walking shoes. Vans canvas, flannel, linnen oxfords, mules, and Mary Janes; (800) 750-VANS for more information.

Children's: Attack Force. Converse All Stars. Nike shoes with Durabuck (that number again, (800) 344-NIKE). Pro Wings. WJ 900.

Aesop and Vegetarian Shoes carry leather-free athletic shoes from various manufacturers.

Kim Laurie on rock climbing shoes:

In addition to the LaSportiva 'Tao's which I posted mention of some years ago there are now a few more to chose from. The La Sportiva 'Tao's are a popular shoe. They are of 'slip lasted' construction and made from Lorica. The advantage of the Lorica over a conventional leather shoe is that it will not stretch and this is very critical in a climbing shoe where fit is everything. In addition EB of France produce a 'board lasted' technical boot called the 'Tropicana' As the name suggests it is brightly colored. Pretty standard construction using fabric and rubber. They look good (which is important in this sport!) but I found that the rubber soles are only average in grip. These I found in Ellis Brigham Sports in London ph. [+44 (0) 171 240 9577]. A much better slipper I found is the US made 5.10 called the 'Anastasi'. This is slip lasted for good feel and features the best sticking rubber soles in the game, their own Stealth 5.10 rubber which sticks like a bugger(sp? we say boogy) to your finger. They are available in a Velcro strap model which I find really convenient for bouldering as you can get them on and off quickly when your feet are crying out in pain. They have an off-centre toe point which is really smart when you think about it because so does your foot! I got these at Snow and Rock in London at 150 Holborn St. EC1 Ph. [+44 (0) 171 831 6900] or for mail order [+44 (0) 1753-830 868]. In the USA I believe that you can get them from Western Mountaineering in Cupertino CA, La Sportiva 'Tao's available here too. In fact most good climbing shops will carry the 5.10s and the Tao's.

She also says that Palladium and other 'knock-offs' from Asia and India produce Chuck Taylor-like canvas and rubber shoes and boots.

Allen Schubert notes, "As best I can tell, Asics makes nonleather/sythetic footwear. Whenever they _do_ use leather, it is labelled as such."

Hiking Boots

For "serious" hiking boots, your best bets are probably the Ethical Wares (available from them directly or from Aesop) or Vegetarian shoes (direct or from Pangea or Heartland) lines, or the Garmont Vegan.

  • Aesop and Heartland both carry quality leather-like hiking boots.
  • REI carries the Garmont Vegan, made with synthetic leather and Cordura nylon.
  • Rugged Outback: Leatherlike hiking sneakers. Available at Payless Shoe Source.
  • Your mother can wear combat boots even if she's vegan. There's an Israeli desert combat boot made of canvas. One surplus catalog I've seen them in is Mass Army Navy.
  • In the U.K.. Michael Traub says that non-leather hiking boots are available from Cader Idris Outdoor Gear, Eldon Square, Dolgellau, Gwynedd LL40 1PS, Phone +44 (0) 1341 422195.
  • Kim Laurie told me about Ethical Wares, who carry heavy-duty hiking boots.
  • Vegetarian Shoes has several models of hiking boots; I had a pair of Doc Marten "Rangers" which were quite nice until my dog ate them.

Work Boots

  • Heartland Products carries a leatherlike boot with a steel toe.
  • LaCrosse Timber Boots: Rugged all-rubber boots, 12" high with felt midsole, foam insulation and knobby soles.
  • I've seen synthetic steel-toed boots at places like Payless and Pic 'n Pay.
  • WearGuard Work Clothers carries rubber steel-toe boots.
  • Kim Laurie again: "Caterpillar of the USA produce a range of industrial looking leather 'walking machines' but also make a heavy duty canvas model in black or baby poo brown. They have padded collars and a chunky sole. Do check carefully though because I found the same model to have either leather or synthetic trim around the collar. I don't know what is the current choice of material."
  • Vegetarian Shoes and Ethical Wares have several models of work boots.

Snow/Cold Weather Boots

Kim Laurie: "ROHDE of Germany and PRC of Italy produce walking boots designed for snowy conditions. Both of these are synthetic fleece lined and look comfortable. Water resistant but not waterproof. Synthetic fabric construction claims to breathe. Designed with warmth and comfort in mind more than ruggedness. The PRC boots called 'Kampus' are available from Ellis Brigham Sports in Covent Garden, London Ph. [+44 (0) 171 240 9577]. The RHODE models were spotted down in Penzance in the far corner of England, the name of the shop eludes me but I am certain they are a popular brand around Europe."

It's not hard to find rubber and fabric snowboots. L.L. Bean has some types.

Dress and Other Shoes

(Tom Billings reports that non-leather narrow width men's dress shoes are just about impossible to find. Any information on sources for such shoes would be appreciated.)

Shari Dawson tells me that Naturalizer shoe stores carry a variety of women's shoes in imitation leather and suede, including narrow sizes.

Vegetarian Shoes in the UK. Michael Traub says they "make synthetic shoes which will easily outlast leather shoes. They also require less maintenance (i.e. no need to polish them)." Their line is quite extensive.

Val Voorheis reports that Kenneth Cole's UNLISTED line "has a lot of non-leather shoes. They are all clearly marked (and the non-leatherness is part of the advertising). They have a toll-free number, 1-800-UNLISTED, for information on retail locations that carry these products. In addition, some of them are pretty stylin', they are pretty good quality, and moderately priced (not Payless prices, but not terribly out of line.)"

Birkenstock makes leather-free versions of some models - the Arizona, the Milano, and the Florida. Note that other sandals may have non-leather straps but still have the suede liner; those in the Alternative line have "Birko-Flor" straps and "Birko-Lon" liners, and are leather-free. They are also a lot less expensive! Available from Birkenstock Express.

Aesop, Ethical Wares, Heartland Products, Pangea, and Vegetarian Shoes have plenty of shoes.

If all else fails, try Payless Shoe Source, Fayva, Kinney, K-Mart, Sears, J.C. Penny, Pic 'N Pay, Woolworth, Thom McAnn, Wal-Mart, Marshalls, and other inexpensive chains and read labels (aren't most vegetarians compulsive label readers by now anyway?); look for the words "All man-made materials", or for shoes made from canvas or other obviously non-leather fabric.


Belts: Aesop, Ethical Wares, Heartland Products, Pangea, and Vegetarian Shoes are good sources. The belts that sometimes come with pants are almost always non-leather. Canvas belts with the brass slide-through buckles (like Boy Scouts use) can be found at any outdoor sports store; they last just about forever! Military BDU belts are also canvas but have a different style of buckle; you can often find them at military surplus stores, or from Mass Army Navy.

Briefcases: Inexpensive briefcases at office supply stores are often non-leather. Aesop carries both a business attache and portfolio. Land's End has a canvas briefcase. (Or ditch the briefcase and get a nice backpack or satchel - they're easier to carry on the bus or subway.) Mass Army Navy sometimes has canvas military style briefcases, or even aluminum attache cases that look like they should be handcuffed to someone's wrist.

Handbags and wallets: Most department stores carry some non-leather bags and wallets. Sporting goods stores often carry nylon or canvas wallets.

Specialty Items

Ballet Shoes: R.G. Barry Corp., Box 129, Columbus OH 43216; or Capezio, (800) 533-1887 to find a store near you. Grishko's website says they have vegan ballet slippers available.

Balls and Gloves: Spalding Sports offers a synthetic leather volleyball, basketball, and soccer ball. The Vegetarian Resource Group says that Spalding makes a vinyl baseball/softball glove, but one netter says he called Spalding and they didn't know what he was talking about. (800) 225-6601 to find stores in your area that carry Spalding products. Dudley makes a synthetic softball: (800) 523-5387. Heartland Products carries a non-leather glove made from poly-vinyl.

Biking Gloves: REI carries Novara Lightning Gloves and Novara Lifeline Lyrca Gloves, made from Nash - a fabric that looks and feels like leather but wears even better. No leather palms on these gloves. Cotton/spandex "skiing" gloves have also been recommended. Joe Clark found a non-leather brand of winter bicycling gloves called "Paris" at a store up in Toronto; he also recommends "Pearl Izumi Lobster Therma-Dores" for warmer weather.

Drums: The following companies carry doumbeks, bodhrans, and similar drums made with synthetic Fiberskyn or mylar instead of animal skins (and other pretty groovy musical instruments too):

  • Cooperman Fife & Drum Co. Outlet: PO Box 276, Centerbrook CT 06409, (203) 767-1779. Mill: Route 121 (PO Box 821), Bellows Falls VT 05101 (802) 463-9750.
  • Lark in the Morning, PO Box 1176, Mendocino CA 95460, (707) 964-5569, fax (707) 964-1979; also South Arcade Building, 1411 First Ave., Seattle, WA (206) 623-3440. They're on the WWW at, or e-mail
  • Mid-east Mfg., Inc, 7694 Progress Circle West Melbourne FL 32904 USA, (407) 724-1477, fax (407) 952-1080. They're on the WWW at, or e-mail
  • Remo, Inc., Customer Service, 12804 Raymer St., North Hollywood CA (818) 983-2600

Ice Skates: L.L. Bean's Bauer hockey skates with nylon and synthetic leather uppers.

Guitar Straps: Planet Waves makes a strap with a funky quick-release "Planet Lock" system on the ends; Pangea carries these. Core One makes the "Kepur" guitar strap made from a synthetic material.

"Leather" Jackets: Avon Products carries a leather look-alike dress jacket. A company called Windbreaker makes a fairly good-looking, but only moderately durable, biker-style jacket, but the only store I knew carries them has closed. Vegetarian Shoes has their own line of "Real Fake" jackets - I have one and love it! Heartland Products and Pangea carry some of the Vegetarian Shoes jackets.

Motorcycle Gear: Carl Olsen keeps a page about vegan motorcycle gear at

Aerostich ( makes motorcycle protective gear from Cordura nylon, ballistic nylon, and Gore-Tex laminates.

In the U.K., the Vegan Bikers Association can be reached at They provide information (mainly clothing related) to vegan motorcyclists. If any U.K. bikers get any info from them, I'd love to add it to the list.

Hein Gericke apparently carries a non-leather motorcycle boot, according to Mike Johnson. Their U.K. mail-order phone number is +44 (0) 1904 679860.

Locally to Baltimore, a friend reports that a store called "Cycle World" (on Ritchie Highway in Brooklyn Park) carries several items of non-leather gear made by a company called "Willy and Max."

Work Gloves: Cotton "jersey" gloves are easy to find, as are canvas gloves. Cotton gloves with rubber coating on the palms and finger have also become very common as gardening gloves, and offer more protection. I found decent synthetic leather "West Chester" leather work gloves at Home Depot, they were marketed as automotive work gloves if I recall correctly. Sadly, I haven't seem them there recently, but some of  Wells Lamont's MechPro gloves look similar. Wells Lamont also has a synthetic leather "sport utility glove".

Warwick Mills makes industrical safety gloves with TurtleSkin, a puncture and cut resistant synthetic.

A good way to locate on-line retailers for these is to search; for example, here's a Froogle search for Wells Lamont MechPro.

(Note that some of the Wells Lamont and Warwick Mills gloves are leather and some are non-leather - read specific model descriptions!)

Adult Toys: ( manufactures hand-crafted vegan bondage gear, whips, belts, harnesses, and other items. Who says veganism is boring?

Raw material: Fabric stores often carry inexpensive vinyl "leather",or leatherette. (Though I can't seem to find one online that does.)

Naugahyde is the best known of the quality fakes. Try the Naugahyde companies' home page - - to find a distributor near you. It looks like these sites sell Naugahyde online:

Vegan Wares ( sells the material they use, "a high-tech synthetic microfibre material which is breathable and, in most situations, more durable than leather." ( carries bulk vegan "leather" material.)

Do you know of anywhere I could obtain non-leather sword scabbards? I'm a vegan blade afficianado, and have a two handed scottish claymore in need of a sheath. Needless to say, most available scabbards out there are animal derived. Any ideas? Thanks!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Good question! I've seen Japanese swords with wooden scabbards, but nothing like that for a big ol' claymore.

I suppose one could be custom made using one of the synthetics. Might even be better for the blade, as I don't think the acids in leather are good for steel.

Tom Swiss - proprietor,

ive been playing softball since i was like 6 and i now realized taht the gloves are leather (no laughing) and softball is coming up and im not using mi glove wich contains leather so if anyone knows of a website or anything could u let me know thanks<3

Thanks for the Naugahyde link, they seem to have a good range, but do you know of anywhere online I can get non-vinyl fake leather fabric? I'm just a bit worried about the outgassing issue. Would fake suede be easier to find?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Vegan Wares carries a microfiber material:

Vegan Erotica carries Lorica, another microfiber material:…

I don't know any reason that these would have some sort of outgassing issues, but I can't guarantee they don't, if you've chemically sensitive, do more research.

Tom Swiss - proprietor,

any idea where from? keeping words to a minimum to avoid useless spamfilter.