Bought First Pair of Vegan Hiking Boots; also a Warning
After months of searching for a decent pair of hiking shoes/boots NOT made with animal materials I finally went with the Garmont Kiowa Vegan Hiking boots. I ordered them online and received them Thursday. I was worried they would not fit as this is the first time I have ordered shoes online but they fit perfectly! I ordered 1/2 size up due to other reviewers warning that they run small and it worked for me. I got them through Sierrra Trading Post for $78 including shipping and tax. I wear heavy thick socks in my hiking shoes for long distance hikes (also vegan and made from cotton, acrylic, polyester, and nylon and just as warm and sturdy as wool socks) so the extra half size was a good thing for me. They are very lightweigth, soft, and comfortable with nice sturdy good gripping soles. they also have nice ankle support. The only drawback is the color is light (that was their only option) which means the shoes will get visibly dirty quickly. Also, I am finding the arch support is somewhat lacking (I have high arches) but I bought arch supports and plan to walk around all day with these in my boots to test this out. Overall so far I am happy with this product. For photos of my boots see my profile under "naturebound's vegan products". I would insert pics here but am having trouble figuring out how. I am not techno savvy.
Now on to the warning. Be very aware and do your research when shopping for cruelty free hiking shoes. Do not take what the manufacturers or those trying to sell you the product tell you at face value. Ask questions. I have found at least two examples of mistakes and deception of products listed as vegan that were truly not. One was when I looked at Merrills Siren Song Mid Sport gore-tex hiking boots online. One site claimed they were vegan approved and not made with animal materials. People were singing their praises. But I looked at three different online stores that sold these and several listed leather rand as part of the materials in this shoe. The site that said they were vegan approved left out a few of the materials the shoe is made with, including the leather rand. Indeed it turns out the shoe is NOT cruelty free or truly vegan.
Another time I went to a camping store in the city where I live that caters to hikers. I figured I would at least find a decent vegan friendly trail runner shoe if nothing else. They had shoes on display with cards in front of them and check boxes next to items on the card such as "vegan", light weight, heavy duty, etc. I found one pair of shoes with vegan checked off. I thought they looked suspiciously like they had leather in them but I did try them on. The sales guy insisted they were vegan. They did not have my size in stock so were going to order them. In the meantime I went online at home and looked them up (Patagonia Drifters) and indeed they are made with nubuck leather. But the soles are "eco friendly" as they are made with recycled material. I contacted the store via phone and email and it took four tries for them to get back to me. The salesperson I talked to on the phone said the shoes were definitely made with leather and should not have been marked vegan. I suspect they were marked vegan due to the "eco friendly soles". So many people that do not understand vegan think it has something to do with the environment. At any rate I am glad that I didnt get stuck with a $100 pair of shoes and unknowingly support animal cruelty. You really have to be careful before assuming something is what it is.
Anyway I hope this is helpful to someone. Hiking shoes are tough to find when you are on a budget as it is.
thanks! It seems that shoes used to be labeled better, but now I can never tell what they are made from, unless it says 100% manmade materials. There's usually that little picture of a bear skin thing, but it is hard to tell sometimes. I pretty much only buy Earth VEgan shoes/boots now. Makes it easier!
That's good to know about the mistakes in labeling...not too surprising though. Cams really likes Solomon's. I'm going to consider them when I buy new boots. They are really sturdy, but also lightweight.
I know this thread is old, but does anyone know of any reputable vegan hiking boots still being made? Garmont discontinued their boot... sigh..