Scratched, torn, and tattered dress shoes can take away from your impeccably put-together formal outfit and ruin your entire look (and mood if someone points them out).
Fortunately, you no longer have to rely on low-quality dress shoes that seem worn out after a few uses just because you don’t want to be involved in causing animals any harm for the sake of your fashion and style.
With vegan shoe materials developing, there are many good quality options available. If you need them, whether for yourself or a loved one, read on to know your options for the best vegan dress shoes.
But first, let’s quickly answer a few basic dress shoes questions for those who may be new to veganism or do not know much about vegan shoes.
Why are Dress Shoes Not Vegan?
Although they are made with different materials, most high-quality dress shoes for men are made of leather, which is basically animal skin and is the number one reason for animal killing in the fashion industry.
More than 1.4 billion animals, including cows, calves, goats, sheep, buffalos, and pigs, are killed every year to sustain the booming leather industry.
Most of them are also subjected to different forms of cruelty and abuse before being slaughtered for meat and skin.
While these animals are the primary source of leather, ‘exotic leather’ comes from animals like crocodiles, snakes, deer, camels, and ostriches that are often just killed for their skin.
Several dress shoes also use glue with animal ingredients, making the whole pair of shoes non-vegan, even if the actual material doesn’t come from an animal.
The Best Vegan Dress Shoes Brands
Now that we’ve discussed the basics let’s talk about the best vegan dress shoe brands on the market. While there are many excellent varieties, here are some of my top picks based on the information available online, user reviews, and easy availability:
1. Will’s Vegan Store (LINK)
Will’s was one of the first (if not the first) brands to launch vegan dress shoes for men, filling a huge gap in the vegan shoe industry. The company started in London with vegan work shoes for men but eventually ventured out to other segments of the market.
Today, it makes vegan shoes for women, vegan jackets, bags, and accessories, and has one of the most extensive collections of them.
In the men’s dress shoes category, Will’s Vegan Store offers a range of classic formal styles, including vegan Oxford shoes, non-leather brogues, vegan boat shoes, derbies, and monks.
Will’s shoes are not just vegan but also ethically made and eco-friendly. They are made with high-quality animal-free leather and suede materials created from plants using bio oil from organic cereal crops.
Will’s Vegan Shoes are made in Spain and Italy and meet the Oeko Tex 100 and REACH quality standards. They are also highly breathable and water resistant, ensuring your feet stay dry and cool all day long.
Though it’s a UK-based brand, Will’s has stores across Europe and in the US and offers carbon-neutral shipping, which shows its commitment to environmental protection, adding to the brand’s reputation and credibility.
2. NOAH – Italian Vegan Shoes (LINK)
Love making a statement with your shoes or want to build an exclusive shoe collection? Get your hands on NOAH’s limited-edition vegan shoes exhibiting the classic art of Italian shoe-making!
Handmade at small Italian companies under fair working conditions, NOAH’s vegan dress shoes offer a perfect combination of fashion, quality, and comfort without contributing to animal cruelty, environmental degradation, or labor exploitation.
In terms of style, NOAH makes classic dress shoes, ranging from oxfords to derbies, featuring traditional construction.
The high-quality material and premium construction ensure a comfortable and snug fit without restricting movement.
NOAH vegan dress shoes are the perfect definition of elegance and work well for both work and formal events.
NOAH is a 100% vegan shoe brand. Not only the basic materials it uses (microfiber vegan leathers) for making the shoes are vegan-friendly, but the glue used in the manufacturing is also water-based.
3. Novacas (LINK)
The house brand of MooShoes, a popular vegan boutique in New York, Novacas dress shoes are manufactured in Europe with vegan materials made from fine quality Italian microfibers. The majority of synthetic materials used in Novacas’ shoe manufacturing are sustainable and environment-friendly.
The word Novacas comes from Portuguese and Spanish and means ‘No Cow,’ asserting the brand’s commitment to producing shoes that cause no harm to animals.
However, this doesn’t compromise its shoes’ quality. Despite being made with faux leather, Novacas dress shoes look and feel similar to real leather shoes and offer the same high quality as well.
In terms of designs, Novacas shoes cater to the group of vegan customers with a more refined and discerning taste.
4. FAIR Shoes (LINK)
If you’re looking for vegan dress shoes that are also ethical and trendy, FAIR is a good choice. In addition to 100% animal-free construction, the Portuguese brand also takes pride in using sustainable materials made with high-quality Italian microfiber and providing fair and friendly working conditions to their employees.
FAIR vegan dress shoes for men are also Oeko-Tex certified, which means they are free of all harmful materials and aren’t just safe for animals, but for users and the environment, too.
5. Brave GentleMan (LINK)
Established in 2010, Brave GentleMan is a newer addition to the vegan footwear industry. It’s also one of the few vegan companies making products for men.
As a footwear brand for men, Brave GentleMan promises supreme quality and comfort and incredible versatility. From classic styles to trendy ones, Brave GentleMan has got all your vegan dress shoe needs covered.
The company is based in the US and is 100% vegan. Its shoes, however, are made in Brazil under guaranteed fair working conditions, using certified microfiber vegan leather.
Apart from shoes, Brave GentleMen also makes vegan suits for men, bags, jackets, and vegan men’s accessories.
6. NOHARM (LINK)
Handcrafted in Italy by expert local artisans, NOHRAM dress shoes are high-fashion vegan footwear for those committed to the animal-free lifestyle and are also ethically and environmentally responsible.
They meet the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship without complying with or contributing to the cruel, harmful, and hazardous practices of the modern shoe industry.
All the materials they use to make shoes at NOHRAM go through meticulous research to ensure they meet all the vegan and sustainable requirements, and shoes made from them would conform to the highest (strictest) standards of veganism.
7. Bourgeois Boheme (LINK)
Bourgeois Boheme is a luxury vegan footwear brand that guarantees premium quality and exclusive designs, along with ethical manufacturing, vegan construction, and fair working conditions.
The brand also warrants stylish designs with a unique spin on fashion trends and releases new collections regularly to meet the needs of those who like to stay up-to-date with the latest fashion.
Bourgeois Boheme is a brand where style, opulence, ethics, sustainability, and a responsible lifestyle meet, resulting in super chic, stylish, and one of the best-looking vegan dress shoes on the market.
As far as materials go, Bourgeois Boheme vegan dress shoes are made from microfiber, Italian vegan leather, cork, and rubber.
They are completely free of harmful chemicals, so there’s no need to worry about that, either. Several of Bourgeois Boheme’s vegan shoes also boast antibacterial and fire-resistant properties, making them all the more desirable.
8. Matt & Nat (LINK)
If you have a hard time trusting brands’ claims of providing safe working conditions and fair wages, you should shop from Matt & Nat. The brand ensures compliance with fair labor policies and ethical manufacturing practices by conducting regular audits at its factories.
A Canadian vegan brand, Matt & Nat makes vegan footwear from eco-friendly vegan leather and recycled materials in classic lace-up style and a variety of colors.
The variety of Matt & Nat vegan dress shoes may be limited, but their quality and timeless designs make up for the lack of options.
9. NAE Vegan Shoes (LINK)
Based in Portugal, NAE is a 100% vegan company with a wide variety of men’s footwear, including dress shoes.
NAE is a Portuguese 100% vegan footwear brand with a growing collection of men’s dress shoes. All NAE shoes are locally made in Portugal at factories that enforce fair working conditions and refrain from using animal products or ingredients in any form.
In terms of manufacturing materials, the brand uses a variety of them across all categories, i.e., natural, recycled, and synthetic.
Some of the vegan shoe materials NAE uses include Pinatex (a vegan and eco-friendly leather alternative made from pineapple waste), cork, ecological microfibers, and recycled airbags and plastic bottles.
10. Ahimsa (LINK)
Handcrafted by a small team of skilled workers in a vegan facility in Brazil, Ahimsa vegan dress shoes meet the highest quality standards. They exude excellent craftsmanship and guarantee durability without contributing to animal abuse and cruelty.
The brand’s commitment to veganism, quality, and ethical manufacturing can be determined from the fact that it has its own (private) shoe factory in São Paulo, Brazil, to make sure there’s no compromise on vegan ideals and its workers are treated fairly and compensated well.
Despite being so strictly committed to its philosophy and mission, Ahimsa vegan dress shoes (or any shoes, for that matter) are affordable. They are also super comfortable.
What are Vegan Shoes Made Of?
Vegan shoes can be made from natural plant materials, like bamboo, pineapple leaf fibers, cacti, banana plant stem fibers, apple peels, grapes waste (leftover from wine production), mushroom caps and roots, mulberry leaf pulp, cork, paper, wood, jute, and cotton, synthetic materials like polyurethane, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), rubber, and microfiber, or recycled materials like plastic bottles and coffee grounds.
Is Vegan Leather Durable?
Similar to animal leather, not all varieties of vegan leather are created equal. Their quality and durability vary depending on what material(s) they are made of.
A pair of vegan dress shoes made from PVC or PU will have different properties than one made from natural plant material. There are also differences among materials within each category.
All in all, there are high-quality varieties of vegan leather available that can last a long time. However, when compared to real leather, vegan leather is significantly less durable. Since it is thinner than animal-leather, vegan leather is more prone to wear and tear. It also discolors easily.
On the bright side, vegan leather is easy to work with, water-resistant, and available in a variety of types.
But the biggest factor of them all, giving vegan leather a significant edge over real leather, is that it’s ethical and cruelty-free. The manufacturing of vegan leather doesn’t involve animal abuse or killing, which is its most desirable property.
How to Care for Vegan Dress Shoes?
Despite the fact that vegan leather shoes are infamous for being more prone to wear and tear than real leather dress shoes, they are easier to care for than those made out of animal skin.
Just make sure to store them in a dry, well-ventilated area away from sunlight and stuffed with tissue or newspaper to retain their shape.
When cleaning stains, use a mixture of water and vinegar.
How to Tell If a Pair of Dress Shoes is Vegan?
There are a few ways to tell if the pair of dress shoes you’re considering buying is prepared the vegan way or not.
The first and safest is to simply check with the company. Most often than not, the company’s website has this information. If that’s not available, talk to the company’s customer service representative through live chat or write an email to them.
Don’t rely on salespeople in the store, even if you’re buying directly from the brand’s outlet (and not a retail store), as they are not always knowledgeable about construction materials and methods.
If asking the company is not possible for any reason, check for symbols and labels. Some shoes carry symbols of the materials used in their manufacturing, whereas others carry labels or tags that indicate their manufacturing and/or materials they are made of.
Look for terms like Vegan, 100% Man-Made, 100% Synthetic, and Made from Animal-Friendly Materials when buying vegan dress shoes.
Do you struggle with finding the right dress shoe size? Check out the following video to know how men’s dress shoes should fit and get tips on how to find your right size both in stores and online…
You don’t necessarily have to dress up formally daily to buy a good pair of dress shoes. They are a must-have in every man’s shoe collection. You just can’t do without them.
However, you can’t also buy any pair that you like. As a vegan, you need to do some research to ensure the ones you like are animal-friendly. This article is specifically written to help with that only.
Shop from the brands I have listed above to be assured you’re not contributing to animal cruelty, environmental degradation, or labor exploitation with just a pair of shoes.
All these brands are 100% vegan, use eco-friendly materials and procedures, and follow fair practices at their manufacturing facilities. Along with all of this, these vegan brands also check the box for producing shoes that are stylish and fashionable.
Are you a shoe enthusiast who loves adding newer varieties to your collection? Check out my article Best Vegan Sandals to know your best brand options for these comfy shoes.