Shoes made of cork or bamboo, trainers made of organic cotton and recycled PET surfaces with recyclable soles, the shoe market is also affected by demands for ecologically sustainable production. Even big fashion chains like Esprit are focusing on vegan approaches and with success. A women’s trainer from Esprit received the 2015 Vegan Fashion Award from the animal welfare organisation Peta.

But how is the trend developing in the mass market? Can shoes work if they are completely without leather? One thing is clear: consumers in the e-commerce age are increasingly inquiring, becoming more critical, and are well-informed before they make a purchase. Children’s shoe manufacturers, such as Ricosta, find that more and more mothers want to receive specific answers via social media channels regarding questions about the origin and material composition of the products.

“I believe that leather is still a high priority for consumers if the leather is high-quality, soft, flexible, and breathable. It is clear, however, that the origin of materials generally plays an important role, especially with children’s shoes,” explains Dr. Claudia Schulz from Germany’s Federal Association of the Shoe and Leather Goods Industry HDS/L.

Manufacturers of high-quality children’s shoes now increasingly seek to use materials that come from Europe and to work together with certified companies that are committed to the sustainable manufacture of their products. “In addition, these manufacturers get all their shoes inspected by batch testing at independent testing institutes,” says Press Officer Claudia Schulz.

In the shoe trade, vegan shoes are currently more in demand than in the past. However, this demand does not yet have a broad commercial base, says Stephan Krug, Managing Director of Sabu Schuh & Marketing GmbH, of the developments.

Accordingly, there is still just a small offer of vegan shoes in general and vegan shoes for children in particular. Due to the increased standards for raw materials and production, the prices for vegan shoes are also well above the average prices.

The French trainers label Veja is still decidedly sustainable, if not always vegan. For the upcoming spring/summer 2018 season, Veja will surprise its customers with a collaboration with Deyrolle, the Parisian cabinet of curiosities. Since 1831, Deyrolle has been a reference point in France for nature lovers, scientific awareness, and pedagogical values.

From March 2018, the Veja x Deyrolle shoe with a butterfly print will be available to buy for €65. The children’s shoe with a Velcro fastener is decorated with poppies. The inner material is organic cotton, while the outer material is made of a mesh produced from recycled PET bottles. According to the manufacturer, the children’s shoe is breathable, and the PET bottle mesh is robust and water-repellent. Veja will therefore be absolutely on trend, because the wearing properties and material stability are still a special quality feature for parents.



Image: Veja