Wills Vegan Shoes

I have been on the hunt for a pair of well-made, water-resistant, vegan, ethically-manufactured black boots for months. I mean MONTHS! And there are several brands out there, but none that totally had me sold and were within my budget.

Along came Wills Vegan Shoes. This London-based retailer prides themselves on producing vegan shoes that are both ‘animal and human-friendly’. I sure liked the sound of that! With plenty of styles on offer, I went back and forth until finally settling on the Aviator 2’s. I was after a boot that was suitable for everyday, but could also be dressed up for an evening outfit and this option seemed to tick all the boxes. The reviews were all beaming too, which helped me make the decision.

Aviator 2s

They are a delight! They definitely feel the way new Dr Martens do – as though they need a good few wears to break them in. But that’s good – it indicates a sturdy boot that is likely to last. These are breathable and water-resistant, so perfect for the British weather. They have a slight heel too, which gives them a healthy dose of feminity. Chic work boots, if you like. Ethically-made and PETA-approved, they tick all the boxes.

I don’t think I can give these a full review until after a few months of wearing, but so far I am so pleased with the size (true to size) and quality. I would highly recommend checking out the Wills Vegan Shoes website if you’re looking for a new pair of kicks. I can’t think of a single outfit that these wouldn’t go with.

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hiking outdoors

Over the past six months or so I’ve been paying more and more attention to where the things I buy are sourced from. This covers everything from tofu to trainers, candles to concealer. I realise that I find myself in a highly detached society: one that thinks Amazon pulls products out the air and ships them to us.

This isn’t a good thing. If we’re unaware of the process of getting whatever item it is to our doorstep, how are we monitoring whether the supplier is doing a good job or not? Just as we don’t think about where our trash goes once it’s collected from the kerb, we’re not thinking of the entire process when we purchase a shirt to wear. At least, not most of us.

This kind of blissful ignorance is what is fuelling bad practices across many (if not all) industries. Consumption is greater than ever and the demand to push prices down also greater than ever. Suppliers want to accommodate and so if this means forgoing ethics, many will unfortunately comply.

I know marketing is a clever industry and it’s aim is to convince us that we need x, y, or z. But I didn’t realise until recently just how wrong I was about one particular industry: outdoor clothing & technical gear.

From the months of March-November (though sometimes in winter too) I look for any opportunity to pack up the tent, don my gore-tex and get some fresh air in my lungs. Whether it’s hiking a mountain or getting some waves, I thrive in the great outdoors.

In order to participate in these kinds of activities, appropriate “technical” clothing and kit is often required. Up until recently, I’ve purchased whatever is on offer in my favourite outdoor chains. I guess I had this idea that brands producing items for allowing one to be more comfortable/prepared in nature must also care about nature. See the link there? Sadly, I’ve discovered that this truly isn’t the case. It seems outdoor brands are closer to the fashion industry in terms of ethics.

This excellent round-up from Ethical Consumer goes into detail about a variety of brands and aspects of  what is considered ethical manufacturing & supply. I highly encourage you check it out.

There are some new items that I’m due to be purchasing very soon. But with this now knowledge floating around my brain, I refuse to simply purchase the next thing I see that looks nice and fits well (or is technically-sound). There’s a lot of research to be done, but watch this space because I’ll be bringing my findings to you. The ethical brands are not the mainstream ones, but it’s important that they get a voice. If we talk about them more, they will become more widely acknowledged.

Photo via Unsplash

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