Footwear made of purely vegan materials is now in great demand – more and more manufacturers are becoming aware of this new trend and are launching their own collections and designs onto the market. Currently, there is a whole range of high-quality substitutes which are comparable to conventional materials and have similar, if not better, properties. The market for vegan shoes has experienced rapid growth in recent months.
Stacey Chang, founder of the sustainable footwear brand Veerah, says that vegan shoes are becoming more and more mainstream despite the slow pace of change. In an interview with the online portal Footwear News (FN), she commented on this change and the reasons for it: “The purchasing power of the millennial generation is driving demand in this direction and therefore requires manufacturers to take stock of their practices and be more environmentally conscious. Social media and sustainable fashion icons such as Emma Watson, Natalie Portman, Petra Nemcova and many others are pushing for greater environmental awareness and putting this in the spotlight.”
At present, leather is still the most commonly used material in shoe production – but other alternatives are clearly on the rise. According to market analysis by Grand View Research Inc. from 2017, the global market for synthetic leather is expected to reach a volume of 85.05 billion USD by 2025. For the footwear category, an annual growth rate of 9.7% is predicted by 2025.
Joshua Katcher, founder of the vegan fashion line Brave GentleMan, also sees these future trends positively and predicts clear growth for the industry: “Vegan shoes are no longer seen merely as an alternative. We see more and more designers using vegan materials to create designs that are both innovative and cool – very desirable.”
Many well-known manufacturers have already extended their range to offer vegan alternatives. These include Ethletic, Hugo Boss and the German brand Birkenstock, which was voted the most vegan-friendly shoe brand in 2017. Other smaller start-ups such as PHINOMEN or Kat von D are also in the mix, and impress with their innovative designs and materials.