In 2008, I purchased and wrote about my very first pair of vegan shoes: a pair of red Macbeth sneakers. It marked the beginning of an exciting personal journey of incorporating cruelty-free choices into my day-to-day and also the birth of what has become the Cruelty-Free Faves site, a storehouse of information regarding cruelty-free alternatives in everything from food to cosmetics and household products. And let’s not forget about fashion! A quick browse of the Fashion category proves that choosing vegan does not mean having to cramp your own style. Beyond that first pair of sneakers, my closet is now packed with clothes, shoes, and accessories that range from casual everyday to haute couture.
As fall is getting into full swing and you’re perhaps looking for that perfect heel, boot, or ballet flat to complement the season’s wardrobe, let me share Coral 8 with you. This shoe design house offers stylish options for your casual day, the workplace, or Friday night’s cocktail party. I love my Zooey pumps — the cream and black combination add the perfect accent when I wear one of my wrap dresses. For the fall, I wanted to find a bootie with a wedge heel, which will go as well with jeans on the weekend as it will with sweater dresses at the office. Hello, Olivia Bootie! Stylish, quality construction (so it won’t fall apart when that rainy/snowy weather hits), and comfortable for all the walking this New Yorker does just going about her day. And, at under $100 a pair, Coral 8’s shoe selection won’t bust the budget.
What Are Vegan Shoes Made of?
“So if it’s not leather, what is it?” This question always comes up when people find out my shoes are vegan, and with good reason: cruelty-free should mean it’s as planet-friendly as it is animal-friendly. Coral 8 has this to say: “Let’s start with what it’s not: we never use leather or PVC, and rarely use non-organic cotton. Our shoes contain PU (polyurethane). Let’s be honest – PU still uses petroleum to be made and it’s still a plastic, but its much better than PVC and way better than leather, environmentally speaking.” Furthermore, Coral 8 is planning to soon launch a new line of organic, biodegradable shoes made from 100% recycled content, manufactured using no solvents or toxins, and using minimal water and energy in the process. Can’t wait to see those designs!
The Coral 8 web site was sold out of the Olivia Bootie, but I was lucky enough to find it available at my tried-and-true MooShoes — which, by the way, is where I purchased that first pair of Macbeth sneakers… and countless vegan shoes since then. The Coral 8 customer service seems to be lacking, so I actually recommend that you buy the shoes from MooShoes or somewhere else online that will be better about facilitating any necessary returns or exchanges.