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Why are we still making shoes out of animal glue?

My first pair of climbing shoes were Five Ten Anasazi Pinks.

(and yes, they did get a bit battered after I broke my ankle). 


Because I loved the design? I’d been recommended them?

Well, no.

They were pretty much the only vegan pair of climbing shoes at my local climbing wall.

Luckily, I got lucky. I adored (adore) my pinks. I loved them and wore them so much that my sketchy recovery climbing put a hole straight through them and I had to replace them with some Anasazi Pros.

I don’t know which 13% said no but they’re dead to me now.

And I’ll certainly be buying some more Pinks for long trad days because they’re just so damn comfy. 

As I’ve been vegan some 7 and a bit years, I’m used to avoiding leather and suede and all the usual material suspects. Glue, however? Not something I’d particularly paid attention to when it came to shoes.

Catfished by synthetic shoes

“Yes! They’re all synthetic. No leather, no suede, no animal anything.”



Oh. Take my Salomon trail running shoes, for example. After my disastrous winter-slipping-everywhere hiking sagas, Michael found some synthetic trail running shoes for me.


They were listed as shoes with synthetic material. I tried them on, loved them, and excitedly bought them without checking if they were vegan. Only after contacting them did I find out they weren’t vegan friendly.

My bad. Even after being vegan for years, we fuck up. I put my hands up as I know I should have contacting Salomon before buying them.

But, like, come on Salomon.

Why make a perfectly decent pair of synthetic shoes but fall at the last hurdle by not being quite sure whether the glue contains animals? Or why make synthetic shoes and put a dash of leather or suede for decoration?

(and why are we still making clothes out of animals when we genuinely don’t need to anymore…?)

The world is changing and the synthetic options for just about anything are astoundingly good.

and before you say:

Vegan shoes fall apart

If Five Ten can make world-popular climbing shoes with vegan-friendly ingredients, then the excuse of ‘vegan ingredients are weaker/ not as good’ doesn’t fit. I mean, it never really fit as an excuse in the first place.

It’s essentially a bit of laziness that retailers need to start addressing, especially outdoors brands, because they are alienating an ever-growing, ethically-minded customer base who will just, instead, go to brands they trust.

Finding vegan shoes

🌱 Don’t just go by the materials listed in the shoe description

🌱 Support smaller vegetarian stores and brands

🌱 Check out brands that have vegan sections (thanks Toms)

🌱 Contact the supplier directly before buying

Good to know:

Five Ten‘s new climbing shoes are all vegan (hurrah!) 

If you’re a climber,

here’s a handy list of vegan climbing shoes. 

And when it comes to vegan mountaineering, ice-climbing friendly boots? I am totally in love with my Scarpa Charmoz boots.

Scarpa Charmoz

So far I’ve found them genuinely comfortable, tough, supportive, and, most importantly, they match my bright blue rucksack and helmet.

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