Converse was one of the first shoe companies in the world to develop basketball shoes. They released their first high-top canvas basketball shoe in 1917, which took the world by storm.
Today, most converse models are loosely based on the company’s original iconic basketball shoe. As a company, Converse is also known for being very progressive.
However, are Converse vegan?
Although Converse isn’t specifically a vegan company, most of the shoes they produce are 100% vegan. Most Converses are made using three simple materials: canvas, rubber, and nylon.
While Converse does offer several non-vegan leather models, these are clearly labeled and easy to avoid.
Converse is, by far, one of my favorite shoe companies. Converse kicks are affordable, stylish, modern, classic, and iconic – all at once! I’ve been wearing them since middle school and I haven’t stopped.
I love the fact that most of their shoes are made from simple, sustainable materials. They’re comfortable, well-built, and easy to replace once you finally wear them out. What’s not to like?
In today’s post, I’m going to review Converse as a company. I’ll start by answering some of the most common vegan-related questions that I’ve been asked about the company, show you which shoes to avoid, and break down all of the materials used to make their iconic canvas shoes.
Let’s get to stepping!
Is Converse A Vegan Company?
If you look at the majority of Converse shoes, shirts, and jackets, you’ll notice that almost everything the company sells is vegan-friendly. The majority of their clothing line is made from organic fabric, rubber, and the occasional synthetic shoelace or threading.
That being said, Converse is NOT a certified-vegan company. They also sell some leather goods, which automatically disqualifies them from being listed as a vegan company.
Personally, I’d categorize Converse as a vegan-friendly company. Overall, their ideals as a company align with the vegan motto of, “do no harm.”
Yes, they do sell a few leather items… However, these makes up less than 10% of the company’s entire product line. It’s also not what the company is known for. So personally, I’d classify Converse as a vegan-friendly company, even if it’s not a fully vegan company.
Since we’re on the topic, it’s also worth mentioning that there are lots of other vegan-friendly companies that aren’t certified vegan either.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the convenience of shopping at certified vegan companies. However, I also recognize that there are loads of great vegan products that aren’t certified. You just have to know where to look!
From a business perspective, getting your products certified as a vegan can be a bit costly.
Not only do you have to pay money upfront to test each product, but you have to pay annual dues to the certification organization, based on your yearly profits. It’s kind of like paying even more taxes, which is why many businesses avoid it.
It’s also the reason why certified-vegan products cost more than other vegan products that aren’t certified!
As far as I’m concerned, this is just another great reason to start learning more about the materials used in clothing. The more you know about what you’re wearing, the easier it will be to identify great deals on vegan-friendly clothes and shoes, without having to shop for specific brands!
Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to forego your sense of style either.
There are a number of great companies that are making vegan “leather” belts, shoes, jackets, and more!
Is Converse Animal Cruelty-Free?
For the most part, Converse is animal cruelty-free.
They don’t test any of their products on animals. It’s worth noting that animal testing isn’t common practice in the clothing industry.
It’s more commonly seen in the cosmetic industry, which is an immense force for animal cruelty. This is why I only buy cruelty-free cosmetics and hair care products.
However, Converse is not 100% innocent.
As I mentioned, Converse does use leather to make some of their limited edition shoe releases. I’ve also seen the company use leather to make winter jackets.
The leather industry is, by definition, a source of animal cruelty. Male cows are raised from birth for two purposes: meat and leather.
Once they reach adulthood, they’re slaughtered and used up for everything they’re worth:
- Their flesh is used for meat
- Their skin is used for leather
- Their bones are used to make bone char, which filters sugar
- Any other fatty tissue remains are used to make gelatin, stearic acid, and tallow
Even though Converse may not be killing their cows directly, they do purchase pre-made leather from companies who do slaughter cows.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide what you want to do with this information.
The majority of vegans I’ve met (including myself) are okay with Converse. As long as they’re not purchasing leather items, there’s no problem with buying a great pair of canvas Chucks.
However, some vegans take a stricter approach to their consumer habits and completely avoid any and all companies that even remotely participate in animal cruelty or use animal goods.
Which Converse Shoes Aren’t Vegan?
If you visit the Converse website and look at their featured collections, you’ll almost never see any leather shoes. You have to go out of your way to find the few leather options that they offer.
That being said, they are there. So, it’s best to know which shoes to avoid, so you don’t accidentally buy them.
One nice thing that I appreciate about Converse is that it’s hard to confuse their vegan shoes with their non-vegan shoes. Unlike most athletic shoe companies, Converse doesn’t use faux leather.
They either offer leather shoes or canvas shoes. So, if you see a leather Converse shoe, you’ll know for sure that it’s NOT vegan.
So, with that in mind, here are some of Converse’s most popular leather shoes that you’ll need to avoid.
1) Chuck Taylor All Star Leather
The All-Star Leather is an all-leather (with a rubber sole) low-top version of their classic basketball shoes. They’re commonly seen in the food-and-beverage industry, as they make for durable, lightweight work shoes.
2) Chuck Taylor Lugged Platform Leather Boots
At first, these look like they might be made of canvas. However, they’re clearly labeled “leather,” so there’s no mistaking these. They’re made of heavy-duty leather and are designed to handle the winter elements. Unfortunately, the leather makes them non-vegan.
3) Custom Chuck 70
The Custom Chuck 70, as well as the Leather Chuck 70 (classic), are both non-vegan, as the entire upper is made from animal leather. Again, they’re easy to tell apart from their canvas counterparts, so it’s hard to mistake them.
4) Converse Pro Leather
The Converse Pro Leather has a full-leather upper, which makes it non-vegan. Thankfully, the side of the shoe is stitched with the words “Pro Leather,” so it’s easy to avoid this shoe.
5) Converse Weapon CX
The Converse CX is the shoe manufacturer’s more “modern” basketball shoe. It looks a lot more like a Nike shoe than a Converse. Unfortunately, like many Nike shoes, the Converse CX shoes are all made with real cow leather.
6) Converse Artist Collabs
Unfortunately, many of Converse’s artist and athlete collaboration projects are non-vegan, as they’re made with custom leather. That being said, not all artist collaborations use leather.
Just be sure to double-check the specific collaboration shoe you’re looking at before you buy it to make sure it’s leather-free!
What Type Of Material Are Converse Shoes Made From?
Converse has always been somewhat of a minimalist company. If you look at today’s best-selling Chuck Taylor’s, you’ll notice very little difference when compared with the shoes that all-star basketball players were wearing in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
Here’s a quick rundown of the three main materials used to make Converse’s shoes (excluding leather, of course).
The foundation of all good shoes is the sole. The sole provides support for your toes, arch, heels, and ankles. You could put a great-looking upper over a poor sole, and it’d be one of the worst-selling shoes ever made.
Thankfully, Converse knows a thing or two about making a comfortable sole, which is why they’re so popular among athletes and those who work on their feet all day.
Converse uses a blend of rubber and PVC (a type of rubber-like plastic) to make all of their soles. This is specially molded to conform to feet in motion, so it can support your weight and allow you to move freely.
Most Converse soles are also designed to be slip-resistant, which really comes in handy if you work in a restaurant or you’re playing ball on a sweaty floor!
Excluding the few Converse shoes that use a leather upper, the majority of Converse shoes are all made using canvas. Canvas is a high-denier (thick, high thread count) fabric that’s made from cotton.
If you didn’t know, cotton is a natural flowering plant that’s been used for thousands of years to make textiles and clothing. Canvas is the same material that’s used to make tents, ship sails, and tarps.
It’s lightweight, durable, and naturally moisture-resistant, making it the perfect material to use in an athletic shoe.
Cotton is also 100% sustainable since it’s a purely plant-based fabric!
Last but not least, most Converse shoes (and most other shoes, for that matter) are made with nylon laces. Nylon is 100% synthetic and is the perfect material for shoelaces, thanks to its natural elasticity.
Where Does Converse Get Made?
While Converse shoes may be designed in the USA, all of the company’s shoes are manufactured in factories that work in Vietnam and China.
Where Does Converse Get Its Raw Materials?
Most of Converse’s raw materials also come from China, which is the world’s largest supplier of textiles and rubber.
What Is The Converse Logo Made Of?
The Converse logo can be a bit confusing for some. It looks and feels like real leather.
Thankfully, the Converse logo stamp is made from 100% rubber. So, don’t worry – it’s 100% vegan!
The Verdict – Is Converse A Vegan-Friendly Brand?
Yes! Converse is a very vegan-friendly brand. While they may not be certified vegan (due to the fact that they offer some leather products), most of their shoes are made with rubber and plant-based canvas.
If you’re looking for some other great vegan athletic shoes, be sure to check out my list of the best vegan Nike shoes next!