More people than ever are turning to greener food alternatives, fuels and beauty products.
Alongside these more obvious switches, the fashion industry is also experiencing an increased demand for more sustainable clothing. Shoppers, especially those from the younger generations who tend to be more environmentally conscious, now want to spend their money on brands that promote ethical, organic and chemical-free pieces.
Vegan-friendly shoes, in particular, are more popular than ever. In 2018, vegan footwear accounted for 16% of the total UK market, which has continued to rise since. However, despite their ubiquity, finding the right pair can be tricky because companies aren't always transparent when it comes to materials used.
That’s especially true if you work in a job as demanding as nursing, with many roles requiring you to be on your feet and moving about for long periods. Not to worry! To make things easier, we've put together a handy guide explaining everything you need to know about vegan nursing shoes before making a purchase.
What are vegan shoes?
To put it simply, vegan shoes exclude all animal materials, including animal-derived glue. Excellent vegan-friendly brands also prioritise sustainable manufacturing techniques which lessen human and environmental harm.
What materials are used?
There's a wealth of vegan material out there. However, some options are more environmentally friendly than others, so it pays to do your research.
For example, faux leather is often made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is non-biodegradable and non-recyclable thanks to the presence of lead and cadmium. Ultimately, it contaminates recycling streams and poses a threat to small animals who often mistake it for food.
In contrast, certain vegan leathers fare much better and contain cork, kelp or a blend of cotton and polyurethane. While polyurethane is far from the greenest option, it's less problematic than PVC.
If you're uncertain about the impact of vegan leathers, here are a few alternative materials to choose from:
How do I know if nursing shoes are vegan?
Finding vegan nursing shoes isn't always easy, despite the increase in vegan-friendly options. Sometimes, the tags or boxes omit the materials used, and brands aren't always honest about their manufacturing process.
While some brands claim their shoes are vegan, they still might use animal-derived glue (made from an animal's connective tissue or bones) in the production process. If you're unsure, contact the company's customer service team before making a purchase.
What are the advantages of vegan footwear?
Every year, the global leather industry kills more than a billion animals for their skins and hides, turning them into wallets, handbags and shoes. Tragically, many of these animals endure extreme crowding, deprivation and other malpractices such as tail-docking and branding. Ultimately, by opting for vegan footwear, you’re minimising your part in the suffering of these animals.
Often more environmentally friendly
The process of turning an animal hide to leather isn't simple. After removing and cleaning the skin, it's tanned to prevent decomposition and then thinned, lubricated and possibly dyed. The process is chemical-heavy and uses toxins such as ammonia formaldehyde and lead. Some of these products are carcinogenic, and all are pollutants which compromise air, soil and water quality.
Improved durability and comfort
The recent advances in microfiber technology mean vegan shoes are more durable, comfortable and breathable than ever. The canvas material is easy to clean and much lighter than leather alternatives, which is especially handy if you're on your feet all day in an occupation like nursing.
Perfect for sensitive skin and those prone to fungal infections
The breathability of vegan material means you're less likely to suffer from nasty fungal infections like athlete's foot and other ailments associated with being on your feet all day such as plantar fasciitis, bunions and cracked heels. Plus, vegan shoes are less likely to use chemical adhesives which irritate sensitive skin.
Where can I find vegan nursing shoes?
At Toffeln, we believe in pain-free, vegan-friendly and fashion-forward footwear that represents your values while providing maximum support during your busy life. Our passion has led us to create an exceptional range of ergonomic shoes, trainers and boots for healthcare professionals, led by the latest biomechanics research.
What makes our vegan-friendly footwear so unique? Well, our SmartSole range features customisable insoles that make your working day much more comfortable, no matter your shape or size. Other key features include slip-resistant soles, stretch lining, raised heels, breathable uppers and lightweight material that’s ethically sourced. Finally, unlike some other vegan-friendly shoes, our designs are aesthetically pleasing and stylish.
Watch this video to learn more about the SmartSole range:
To find your perfect fit, browse our full range of footwear today.