After diving head-first into veganism 5 years ago, I began slowly replacing my non-vegan hiking and backpacking gear. The first item I searched for was a great pair of vegan hiking boots. However, I soon realized it would be tough to find quality boots that were also vegan. There always seemed to be a bit of leather on the upper part of the boots or hidden in the details. Even hiking boots that appear to be made with zero animal products can be deceiving.
The good new is that since then the vegan clothing industry has exploded and it’s much easier to find vegan friendly hiking boots. Many companies offer a vegan specific boot, and some have done away with animal-based products completely!
So how do you know if hiking boots are vegan? And where can you even find vegan hiking boots? And how do you know if they’ll stand up to the test of time? Well that’s exactly what I’m covering for you right now in my 2021 vegan hiking boot guide!
How Do I Know If My Hiking Boots Are Vegan?
There are a few things you can look for to determine whether or not the hiking boots you want are vegan. First, check the label (usually located inside the shoe) and read the list of materials. If the label doesn’t say 100% synthetic there is a good chance an animal product of some kind was used. If you see that the label lists “other materials” then check with the company directly or just assume these are not vegan boots. You can also go to the company website to look up the materials used in almost any boot. Bonus points if the company has a dedicated vegan page like REI.
Many reputable outdoor brands carry high quality hiking boots that are made from synthetic materials, but not all of these are certified vegan. Although it’s rare, some boot designs use a glue that is made of animal bi products. Vegan boots use a glue made from petroleum or even a plant-based glue called gum arabic. If you’re interested in learning more about vegan glue check out the 2020 vegan glue guide from Imgoingvegan.com.
What Are Vegan Hiking Boots Made Of?
While different outdoor brands use different materials to create their vegan hiking boots, typically they are designed with synthetic materials such as polyurethane, microfiber, gore tex, rubber, and nylon.
What is Vegan Leather Made of?
Most vegan leather is made from a polymer called polyurethane, however some designers opt for more sustainable materials like recycled plastics. There are many natural alternative substances that can be made into a leather-like material such as fruit waste from pineapple leaves, apple peel, and cork.
Are Vegan Hiking Boots Durable?
Just because these boots are not made from leather doesn’t mean they are not as durable. Many vegan hiking boots are made with abrasion resistant materials, such as Keprotec, that will hold up for thousands of miles. Synthetic materials also dry much faster, which is ideal when hiking in wet climates or crossing rivers.
Where Can I buy Vegan Hiking Boots?
Vegan hiking boots are sold at many outdoor retailers around the world. I prefer to do my research online and try them on in store if possible. Many outdoor retailers have wonderful return and exchange policies, which makes ordering online much easier. Whenever possible, consider supporting your smaller local outdoor retailers! Here in Portland, Oregon I like to shop at Next Adventure. If they don’t have what I’m looking for I will go to a bigger retailer with a good reputation like REI.
Are Vegan Shoes Bad For Environment?
Whether or not vegan shoes are bad for the environment is somewhat debatable. While the synthetic materials used in vegan leathers and micro fibers are not exactly eco friendly, their impact on the environment seems to pale in comparison to real leather.
When you examine the process of producing leather, you see a long line of environmental damages like deforestation, Co2 emissions, and the cruel treatment of living animals. When searching for vegan products of any kind, I would suggest buying from companies with high ethical standards who take steps to reduce their environmental impact and treat their employees fairly.
Which Brands Carry Vegan Hiking Boots?
Are you exhausted from just the thought of going from store to store to check labels or scrolling through multiple websites? Thought so. Save yourself the time and use my vegan hiking boot chart to get an idea of what options are on the market for 2021. Rest assured that each boot on this list is vegan certified!
|Altra||Lone Peak 4||1lb 2oz||Y||$$|
|Adidas||Terrex Hiker Boot||12oz||N||$$$|
|Topo Athletic||Trailventure||1lb 10.2oz||N||$$|
|Merrell||MQM Flex 2||1lb 7oz||Y||$$|
|La Sportiva||TXS||1lb 13.6oz||Y||$$|
|La Sportiva||Stream||1lb 15oz||Y||$$$|
|Lowa||Innox Pro||1lb 10.1oz||Y||$$$|
|EVS||All Terrain Pro||1lb 10.2oz||Y||$$|
|Will’s Vegan||Sport Waterproof||1lb 15oz||Y||$$|
|Will’s Vegan||Cross Trail||1lb 15oz||N||$$|
These vegan hiking boots are designed to mimic barefoot movement with their zero drop heel and wide toe box. For anyone who has foot and toe pain after every hike, these might be the answer to your problems. They are made of a nylon/mesh upper that is breathable and waterproof.
The vegan hiking boots in the Terrex line from Adidas are made from recycled plastics that have been pulled from our oceans. These boots are actually designed to be used on long-distance hiking trips. They are ultralightweight and water repellant. The boot is designed to fit snug on the foot like a sock.
Rainy summer hiking is just what these hiking boots are made for. The Vibram megagrip outsoles offer great traction in wet conditions. There is a breathable and waterproof bootie liner that keeps your feet dry. The zipfoam cushion above the sole provides more protection than traditional EVA soles.
The MQM design is inspired by trail runners but designed to be used in the backcountry. They’re lightweight upfront and supportive in the heel and ankle. The Gortex mesh makes these boots totally waterproof. The toes are covered with thermoplastic PU cap for extra protection for your toesies.
These boots have a stratafuse exoskeleton and a knit upper that create glove-like fit, making them lightweight yet stable. The exclusive Merrell air cushion design creates a comfy layer between your feet and the sole. On top of that they are waterproof!
The high-cut style of these vegan hiking boots create the ultimate ankle stabilization for extreme hiking conditions. The Vibram rubber sole combined with the Ortholite insert creates a very cushy journey for your feet. These boots are breathable and fully waterproof.
The 360 Gortex wrap of these boots has nano cells built within the material that allow for full waterproofing and totally breathability. The La Sportiva Streams have a Vibram rubber sole for absorbing shock. Vibram is the gold standard when it comes to the soles of hiking boots.
Astral | TR1
The upper material on the Astral TR1 is made of a quick-dry material, making it great for soggy mountain hiking and creek crossings. The zero drop geometry of these boots is designed to imitate a barefoot position. The rubber on these outsoles is softer than most, allowing increased grip on rough, uneven ground.
When you want to move fast in warm weather, the Lowa Innox might be the perfect vegan hiking boots for you. They are designed to be lightweight, slim, and highly stable. The Monowrap design creates a lot of ankle support while the injected sole absorbs much of the impact.
EVS is a vegan shoe company based in the Netherlands. Their shoes are built with anti-slip tread patters and the pu coated outsole will withstand many many miles. EVA claims that you don’t even need to “break in” these hiking boots, they will be comfy from the first wear.
Alice + Whittles – Weekend Boot
These Boots by Alice and Whittles are vegan AND virgin plastic-free! That means the plastic has been recycled and repurposed. In this case the plastic has been collected from trash in the ocean. The weekend boot is water resistant, non-slip, and it has a cozy synthetic wool liner to keep you feet warm in cold temps. I love the style of these boots the most. Check out their entire vegan + sustainable line of shoes!
These vegan hiking boots from Native are super cozy with their micro fleece lining. The PU coated upper creates a water resistant seal and the deep tread will keep you from slipping and sliding. While they may not be the most technical boot on our list, I personally think they are the cutest!
Will’s Vegan | Sport waterproof
WV has created some serious vegan hiking boots that are waterproof and super durable with their abrasion resistant cordura materials. The soles are injected with Vibram rubber which creates shock-absorbing properties. Will’s Vegan Boots is a carbon neutral company and their products are delivered in 100% recyclable packaging!
The Cross Trail Hiking Boots from Will’s Vegan Boots are totally breathable while at the same time being water resistant. The vibram rubber sole creates a shock-absorbing effect which prevents impact on your feet and joints. WV shoes are carbon neutral and they deliver their products in 100% recyclable packaging.
These hikers from Xero are designed to give you a barefoot feel while on the trail. There is a lot of science behind the benefits of being barefoot these days. Xero shoes give you the opportunity to experience barefootness while keeping your feet protected from the elements. As a bonus, the Xcursion is fully waterproof and ready for river crossings galore.
If you found this article to be a helpful resource in your search for vegan hiking boots, please consider sharing it with your vegan and non-vegan friends! There are tons of vegan hiking boots on the market, so please share your favorite brand in the comments below. Tell us why you love your boots and let us know where you can find them online. I will be back to update the chart every few months with reader suggestions!