What’s an eco-conscious, vegetarian-leaning gal to do when she loves leather shoes? We don’t need to wax on about the positives or negatives of leather; both are well known and both sides are valid. We can’t imagine a scenario in which leather is considered “humane”, but we’re also hard pressed to think of a better material for shoes that will last for ages and continue to look great. Not to mention, leather is far more “natural” than many of the things vegan shoes are made out of, and thus when and if they were to end up in a landfill, they would become one with the earth faster than polyester or what have you. Theoretically. In sum, there are ethical quandaries on both fronts.
Option one is to stick to vintage. The only trouble with vintage is that, though fun, it’s a vastly unpredictable experience: if you want something specific you may have to wait years to amble across the perfect size and style.
Option two is a more fun from a shopping perspective: find people who create designs from scratch but who use recycled leather. You may have to fight with them over an aged motorcycle jacket at a vintage store, but the result is a brand new pair of shoes, in your size, that is made out of one heck of a durable material. This week’s edition features shoes made strictly from pre-loved or salvaged leather.
Ballet flats from The White Ribbon (pictured above)
Seventy percent of the leather The White Ribbon uses to make it’s all leather ballet flats is the excess material from furniture shops. This particular pair, among others, goes a step further, and is made entirely of recycled leather.
Leather slippers from Unu
Admittedly, we weren’t feeling that torn over whether or not to abstain from leather slippers, but we’re glad to be spared the dilemma. Unu’s house slippers are sold flat-packed—all of the components are punched into a sheet of recycled leather—and it’s up to their owners to breathe them into three dimensions.
Platform sandals from Ms. Wood via Ecouterre
Ms. Wood is the husband and wife-run team behind these towering platforms, made out of salvaged Douglas Fir and recycled leather. The winner of Portland Fashion Week’s Best Emerging Designer, designer Alicia Wood also creates flowy, kimono-inspired garments, recycled leather handbags and collaborates with her husband Ben on a range of wooden jewelry.