The one thing that alt-culture, skaters, artists, rappers, rock stars, and restaurant workers all have in common is a great pair of Vans shoes.
Vans are easily the most popular skate shoe in America, even though they’re not just skating shoes. They’re well-built, comfortable shoes with a decades-long reputation to back them up.
However, are Vans Vegan?
For the most part, Vans is a vegan-friendly brand. Most of their signature shoe styles are made only of rubber, canvas, and polyester, which are all vegan-friendly materials.
However, some Vans shoes are also made with leather, which is not vegan. As a whole, though, Vans is generally eco-friendly and vegan-friendly!
Below, I’m going to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Vans and show you exactly what they’re made of, so you can see for yourself. Let’s kick it!
Do Vans Shoes Use Animal Products?
The original Vans shoes are as simple as it gets. They feature a thick, durable rubber sole and a simple canvas upper. However, Vans has grown into a large company and they make a variety of other models in addition to their best-selling classics.
Some Vans shoes are made with leather. Vans don’t use any plant-based leather, either, so you can be sure that the leather they use comes from animals.
As a company, this automatically disqualifies them from being a “certified-vegan company.” To earn this badge, a company has to only produce and sell vegan-friendly, cruelty-free shoes.
Since Vans uses leather in some of their shoe models, they’re not technically a vegan company.
That being said, I’d still say that they’re a vegan-friendly company. They aren’t gung-ho about using leather and the majority of their products don’t contain any leather at all. Just like most shoe companies, they have customers that want access to both leather and canvas shoes.
Does Vans Use Pig Skin?
Most shoe companies that manufacture leather shoes use cow leather. So, it was a bit odd to discover that the leather shoes that Vans does make are made out of pig skin leather instead.
The main reason why pig skin leather is used instead of cow’s leather is that pig skin leather is softer and more comfortable. Although cow leather is more durable and lasts a bit longer, it’s stiffer and can often cause blisters or take longer to “break-in.”
Since Vans sells most of their shoes to active individuals who are constantly walking and running around, they wanted to create a shoe that was soft and comfortable from the jump.
Is Vans Eco Theory Vegan?
Although Vans uses leather in some of their shoes, they’re also making efforts to become a more eco-friendly company as well. Perhaps the best example of this is Van’s latest Eco Theory line.
All of the products in Van’s Eco Theory line are made from sustainably-sourced materials. This doesn’t just mean that they’re not leather. It also means that the natural canvas and rubber used to make the shoes come from recycled (or partially recycled) sources.
Additionally, they also committed to only using materials that were environmentally friendly! This means that their Eco Theory line isn’t made with harmful plastics that release poisonous fumes into the atmosphere.
This even applies to the ink that the shoes are dyed with! While traditional shoes are dyed with chemicals for a deeper, longer-lasting effect, Vans Eco Theory shoes are colored with water-based ink. This results in less chemical runoff and releases fewer greenhouse gasses.
Are the shoes a little dull compared to some of the brand’s other more vibrant shoe lines? Yeah.
However, the fact that I can walk around with a clear conscience is also worth noting, and that’s something that you can’t put a price tag on!
What Are Vans Shoes Made Of? Simple Materials
If you look at your average pair of Vans shoes, they’re actually pretty simple.
There aren’t a lot of complex pieces, as the creators were skateboarders who wanted to create a durable shoe that wouldn’t fall apart. Doing this required use of minimal materials and using a simple strong blueprint to construct them.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what Vans shoes are made of.
1) Vulcanized Rubber
At the heart of every great shoe is a solid sole. The sole of all Vans models is made with vulcanized rubber. This rubber goes through a hardening process that involves sulfur. As a result, the rubber is extra-strong and able to withstand far more than regular old-fashioned rubber.
Vulcanized rubber is also known for its superior grip strength, which is part of why it’s a favorite among skateboarders! It’s also a vegan-friendly material, as it’s harvested from natural rubber trees.
The majority of Vans shoes feature a canvas upper. Canvas is a thick, high-denier fabric that’s made from cotton, so it’s 100% natural and vegan-friendly.
Canvas is lightweight, tear-resistant, and breathable, which makes it a great material for anybody who’s active, sweating, and needs a durable, lightweight pair of shoes.
Leather is the only non-vegan product that’s sometimes used to make Vans shoes. Leather, of course, is not vegan because it’s literally animal skin.
Polyester is a synthetic thread that’s made from plastic. While it’s not the most environmentally-friendly material, it is vegan since it doesn’t harm or involve the use of animals. Polyester is only used for shoe laces, though, so it’s not a major part of the shoes.
The Verdict – Is Vans A Vegan-Friendly Brand?
If you look at the majority of Vans products, you’ll find that they’re a fairly vegan-friendly brand. Most of their shoes are made from rubber and canvas, while all of their clothing is made from cotton and canvas.
While they do make some leather shoes, these represent a smaller portion of their products than their vegan-friendly products.
Vans are some of my favorite shoes to walk around and run errands in because they’re lightweight and comfortable. However, if you’re looking for something that you can run in, then be sure to check my post listing the best vegan Nike shoes next!