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HELP! There's a VEGAN Coming For Dinner!


Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Posted 3/25/2014


I, like many other people, love shoes. High heels, flats, ankle boots, tall boots, sandals (not so much so), dance shoes, travel shoes, winter shoes, spring and falls shoes. Love ‘em. Now don’t get me wrong here - I don’t actually like wearing them - I’m much happier running around in bare feet - but when they call to me from the shoe shops saying “Look at me! And I’m on sale!” they can be hard to resist. But how many of these pieces of footwear ever actually leave the house on my feet? Very few. Just my favourites. My precious ones. Usually the old, battered, low heel, black leather ones. Last night I left the house wearing a knee-length dress and black army boots. The same army boots I wore to the grocery store in my jeans, and to go out for dinner wearing a skirt. I love my army boots - they don’t really go with anything, but they’re just But they used to be someone else. Someone who ate hay and said moo. And that’s where the problem begins. As a newly reformed as-close-as-I-can-get-vegan I’m beginning to question the ethics of some of my footwear choices. Is it right for a girl to continue to wear her cow and horse (yes, horse) shoes after she makes the dietary switch from a dairy-free-fish-free-vegetarian to a self-proclaimed vegan? I know that whatever I say at this point will be met with disagreement from somebody, but let me tell you what I’m thinking.....



While I have fewer shoes than many ladies my age (the big difference is that the other ladies actually wear their purchases!), I still have more than I need, and a lot more than I actually wear. Some were bought for a job (which unexpectedly only lasted a month), and others were bought when I visited England and went out shopping with my mother-in-law as some sort of bonding experience. Others I’ve had for years (and these are the ones I usually wear) and some were bought in the last 5 years, mainly because they were on sale. I have two pairs of horse leather shoes, the first of which were sold to me by an assistant who said “think of it as recycling little Sally’s pony” when I flinched at the thought of horse footwear. But then logic kicked in. If I thought it was OK to wear Bessie-the-Cow on my feet, why couldn’t I wear a horse? And yet, it still feels odd when I see them in the closet.




When I took the time to actually look at my shoe collection, I had a happy surprise. A considerable number of my shoes and boots are not actually leather at all, despite my parent’s constant advice when I was young to buy leather shoes so that they can “breath”. Weird really, when you think about it. The animals actually used to breath before they got turned into footwear, but they stopped breathing when they became shoes. I’ve also discovered that my feet, lovely though they are, get equally sweaty regardless of what my shoes are manufactured from. I’ve got faux leather and canvas footwear sitting on the closet shelves. Hurray! But nestled among the more ethical shoes are the leather beasties. What to do....what to do....

At this point in my life, I’m not ready to throw my leather away. I don’t think it’s respectful towards the animals who died to make the shoes, and I don’t think it’s a financially or environmentally responsible response to my dilemma. So here’s my solution (although I admit it doesn’t immediately solve anything!)....

To start me down the road to more comfortable (physically as well as ethically) feet I’ve made a decision which I hope is respectful towards the animals who died to make my shoes, kind to the environment, non-judgmental towards people who are happy to wear leather (as was I until recently), and financially sensible. I’m going to down-size my shoe collection, keeping only what I actually wear. If these are leather, I’ll keep them until they fall apart, then replace them with non-leather footwear.

I’ve given myself a “shoe season” (from the last snowfall in spring until the first snowfall in autumn) to work out what I actually put on my feet, after which I’ll be selling the rest. I won’t be giving them away because 1) I’ll need the money to buy new (vegan) shoes and 2) I want them to go to people who will actually wear them and are willing to prove it by handing over cold hard cash. Then the new owners can walk a mile (or more) in my shoes. Is this an ideal solution? No. But it’s a start. I’d love to hear comments about what others would do / have done in this situation, but please keep it polite.

Karen :)