What are the alternative materials for shoes and handbags?
For fashion to be FAIR - shoes and bags should be made from components, which are not harmful for people and animals. Natural leather is considered as durable with optimum ventilation and moisture absorption parameters... But is it really? And is it really the best possible material for shoes? Contrary to popular opinion, natural leather is not an ecological product. This can be stated without even mentioning the whole process of animal breeding, in which leather is not always a by-product but usually it is the only one product - especially in case of exotic leather and fur. It should also be added that in the preparation process a massive amount of chemicals is used. In many cases, people (and often children) working in these processes are directly exposed to this chemicals and, therefore, they suffer from many skin diseases, respiratory problems which can even result in premature death.
Fortunately there are fantastic vegan alternatives! Here are some of the most popular ones worth presenting:
Microfiber - today it is no longer 'artificial leather’, which used to be comparable to wrapping your feet in plastic. Modern microfiber perfectly imitates leather or suede but it can also have many other forms and textures. Microfiber can be soft and delicate but also thick for very durable footwear. The technology used in its production allows for higher parameters than natural leather, if it comes to durability, moisture absorption and airflow. Some microfiber can even be washed in the washing machine which would be a disaster for the leather. Microfiber is very easy to take care of - just water and a cloth / brush, sometimes impregnate - if the material is not one of these completely waterproof. Read more here.
Piñatex - material made from pineapple leaf fibers. Its production does not come with the exploitation of the environment because it is derived from existing pineapple crops. Quite recently, the leaves were a waste in the production process of pineapples but people have invented technology which helped to create breathable and waterproof material with very original look. Read more here.
By the way - thanks to this technology many new jobs were created!
Natural cork - another material created without harm to the environment. It is derived from special oak plantations respecting the natural development of trees - only the outer, dead part of the bark is collected. Trees are peeled off by removing the bark without damaging the inner part that regenerates itself. What is important - the extracted cork is 100% harnessed. Read more here.
And the cork shoes are ... WOW! And they are completely waterproof!
Organic Cotton - great, breathable material when we are looking for shoes for the warm and dry season. We can find a lot of models but still the most popular are the classic trainers. Standard cotton differs from organic one. During the production of organic cotton harmful substances are not used, what is good for people and environment.
Rope - yes! There are sandals made from rope. The most durable rope in the world. And it is from recycled waste. Furthermore, the sandals are produced in Nicaragua by the small village inhabitants, who did not have stable income. Shoes from rope are very original, comfortable, light and noiseless. (That's what Nomadic produces).
PET - recycled PET bottles can have many functions. For example, they can be processed into the material for shoes production. This material can look like felt. Plastic is very durable so you do not need to worry about the life of such shoes.
Rubber - it is durable, easy to care material which can be very soft and very comfortable (in the form of shoes). It can be dyed to endless colors which make your mood better.
Recycled car airbags – great looking, durable and waterproof material. Perfect example of reusing something that was about to end up as waste!
Various kinds of upcycled materials such as car belts and advertising banners are also used to the shoes and accessories production.
All materials are carefully examined to be good for our health. Most products have quality certificates and typically vegan certificates which ensure that the product was produced without any animal components.