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Dr. Martens or Docs have been a staple in so many closets for decades. They are before the time vegan boots were even on the market. These shoes started in 1901 in England and immediately became the go-to work boot. Since then, the design has been refined a few times. It ended with a collaboration that birthed the Dr. Martens shoes that you know today. They’ve been on runways, on punk rockers, models and everyone in-between.

So what’s the deal? What’s wrong with this iconic shoe that everyone knows and loves?

Well – to be frank, they’re bad for the environment. When it comes to sustinablity in their facilities, they have some work to do. They have no guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions or water waste management. They use little to no eco-friendly materials. They also use resource-heavy leather to make their shoes. They do mention their leather comes from Leather Working Group. But, their commitment and certification level is not clear.

In regards to labor, they could also up their game. Docs were being produced in the UK for about 50 years. In 2003, they moved to China & Thailand because the labor was cheap and they wanted to avoid going bankrupt. They do have a Supplier Code of Conduct to pay a living wage. Although there is currently no transparency whether that is happening.

In short, they aren’t great. There are better options, and we’re here to bring them to you. Read on to discover sustainable Doc alternatives!

Nae stands for No Animal Exploitation. Nae is a Portuguese company that stands behind protecting the environment and animals. They focus on using natural and ecological materials. All their products use synthetic/natural materials with no animal skins or fur used. They aren’t into fast fashion – they are a Portugal Brand that is also made in Portugal factories. They have a plethora of different styles of vegan boots to choose from. On of their most popular styles that resembles Docs is the Harley Black Lace up boot. These boots are made of ecological microfiber. They are also unisex, and the zipper are metallic and free of nickel.

Sustainable Materials

Vegan Leather, Pinatex, Organic Cotton, Ecological Microfiber,  Metallic

Price Range

$143- $173

Brave GentleMan was the first vegan lifestyle brand in the world. Founded by Joshua Katcher, who is an educator, an author, and a leader in the ethical fashion world. They are 100% behind the slow fashion movement and embrace doing things their way. Their way is different and sustainable. Joshua is a believer that animals do not belong in the production of clothing. He also believes the people making clothing deserve to be compensated fairly. He’s into innovation and providing products that do not harm the earth in the making. Their Standard Boot is made with hi-tech Italian future leather. This boot is also water resistant and durable. All shoes are made in Portugal under fair labor conditions.

Materials:

Future-leather, a supple, durable, Italian-milled, EU Ecolabel Certified, Hi-Tech PU, superior to animal leather.

Price Range

$280 – $310

The company started in 2012 by the founder, Will. Will created this company for vegans and non-vegans. He believes it is the consumer’s journey, but he is there to assist and make great vegan products. Will’s Vegan Shoes is Vegan Society registered. They are also an award-winning PETA approved company. All their products are made in Portugal. This means they go under European Union Employment, discrimination and health & safety law. In case you don’t know what that means, it means the workers making the shoes are treated well. They have time off and annual leave. They also have maternity leave and pay, parental leave, compensation for people if they are victims of discrimination, health and safety, and more.

They also are as green as possible. They don’t use any plastic bags or packaging. Everything that is shipped is recyclable. Will’s is Carbon Neutral Certified. This means for all the carbon emissions they produce, they offset them. They do this by investing in renewable energy such as wind, hydro, geothermal, solar, and biomass.

Materials:

Italian Vegan Leather, suedes, recycled rubber

Price Range

$105 – $135

Robin Webb started Vegetarian shoes in 1990. He was making every shoe by hand for the first few years and only had one style. He first was making shoes for himself and then he realized he had a gift. Since then Vegetarian shoes has come a long way. After he became an expert with one style, he made vegan boots, sandals and even belts.  Now the shoes are made in a co-op English footwear factory and made to order. He decided to stay in Europe so he could ensure fair working conditions to those making his shoes.

Materials:

Cork, Hemp, Pinatex, organic cotton

Price Range

$60-$200

Ahimsa in Sanskrit, the language of yoga means non-harming. This company lives by that motto. Ahimsa is one of the most inspirational brands we have found. They are all in when it comes to sustainability and not harming anyone in the process. At first, they tried to find a factory to produce these shoes. They soon found no factory shared the same beliefs of sustainability. They went as far as to open their own factory in Brazil so they could hand-make their shoes. Ahimsa does it all from sneakers to boots to moccasins. Their vegan boots are our favorite. They have a timeless style, many colors, and are water repellent.

Materials:

Vegan Leather

Price Range

$160 –  $200

Native Shoe’s motto is “Live Lightly”. This speaks to how Native Shoes does everything to lighten their carbon footprint. They strive for innovation and sustainability. Our favorite part about Native is their “Remix Project”. The remix project creates a closed loop for these shoes. All Native shoes can be recycled. When broken down, it turns into the perfect material for flooring for playgrounds. By 2023, every pair of native shoes will be 100% life cycle managed and recycled. You can learn more about where to recycle their shoes on their website.

Materials:

Microfleece, Rubber

Price Range

$90 –  $130

Now that you’ve discovered some of the best vegan boots, we hope you feel empowered to go make a difference. One step at a time, we can change the way the world looks at fashion. Goodbye fast fashion, see you never!

Want to talk more about eco-friendly fashion or anything else on your mind? Get in touch! We love to talk about all things indie garb-related!

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About Author

Kristen Such

Kristen Such

Passionate about living consciously and inspiring others to do so in the process.

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