Hot Cruelty-Free Sandals for Summer

By Aurelia d'Andrea May 11, 2012 Categories: Fashion

My New Old Shoes

A couple of weeks ago, I experienced what I’m going to go ahead and refer to as a “fashion miracle.” It happened in Paris, where, strolling along an old cobblestone street on a sunny spring day, I was drawn toward the retro-cool window display of a tiny second hand boutique. Popping in for a quick poke around, my eyes instantly settled on an unexpected sight: my favorite sandals (pictured, above)!

They were identical, in size and color, to a pair I’d once purchased back home in San Francisco half a decade earlier, had lived in until they collapsed from wear, and had pined for ever since I had reluctantly tossed them into the garbage bin after several years of good use.

Without a moment’s hesitation, I snapped up the tawny t-straps, plopped them on the counter, shelled out a small handful of euro, and walked out the door a very happy customer. Why the excitement over a pair of cheap sandals, you ask? Well, these weren’t just adorable, comfortable, and functional, but leather-free, too.

All those years ago when I bought the original pair (at vegan-shoe hotspot H&M), fashion-forward footwear not made from animal hides was slightly trickier to source. Today, though, possibilities galore exist for trendsetters interested not only in vegging-up their diets, but their wardrobes, as well.

Have you started your search for the perfect summer sandal? While scouring second-hand shops is always a (super-eco) option, these retailers are a sure bet for securing your go-to pair of cruelty-free summer sandals:

1. Cri de Coeur This 100-percent animal-free brand offers a heaping dose of style in the form of pumps, sandals, boots, and wedges. Most shoes register a few bucks over the $100 mark, but check their online sale rack for super savings on a slew of snazzy styles.

HOT PICK: Cri de Coeur Wild Criss-Cross Strappy Mini-Wedge in black ($150)

2. Neuara 
This brand’s ethical-hipster designs support the idea that you can be cruelty-free while maintaining your cool-kid cred. I’m hot for these gladiator-sandal-meets-saddle-shoe that I’ll wear with everything this summer.

HOT PICK: Neuara Ivy shoe in Pine green ($90)

Neuara 1

3. Olsen Haus 
This line, launched by a vegan entrepreneur, gives compassionistas an ethical alternative to chemical-laden leather.  A tad spendy but definitely chic, these shoes are guaranteed to elicit compliments galore—just ask clients Emily Deschanel and Anne Hathaway.

HOT PICK: Olsen Haus tri-colored Fate Sandal ($140)

Olsenhaus 1

4. Beyond Skin Brighton, England-based Beyond Skin is committed to the sustainable production of non-leather shoes, using eco-friendly materials whenever possible. They ship world-wide.

HOT PICK: Beyond Skin Minnie shoe in blue square print (£159)

Beyond Skin 1

 5. H & M This mega-retailer offers a hip variety of vegan styles that won’t bust your budget. Visit your local store to find just the right pair for every occasion, from office-savvy to picnic-perfect!

HOT PICK: H & M Wedge Heels in black printed fabric ($34.95)


More Sources for High-Style Cruelty-Free Footwear:

Alternative Outfitters

Cow Jones Industrials




SHARE WITH US: Have you already scored the leather-free shoes you plan to live in this season? Tell us where you found them!

Aurelia d’Andrea has devoted a disproportionately large part of her life to scouring thrift stores, vintage boutiques, and flea markets in search of sartorial treasures, and has a closet full of frocks to prove her passion for the hunt. Going veg taught her to sharpen her style skills, and confirmed what she’d suspected all along: It really is possible to develop a fashionable point of view and keep your ethics intact, too. 

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Very nice selection. I really love the sandals by Neuara.

Ruhrstyle - 2015-07-09 18:51:33

Hi, Lee Anne! It's true: Heels (or wedges) aren't for everyone, but hopefully these examples will help point you toward leather-free possibilities that are comfortable *and* fashionable. If you stumble upon brands/styles that look simultaneously comfy and stylish, please share!

Aurelia - 2012-05-29 20:21:40

They may be "cruelty free," but they look like they would be really cruel to your feet.

Lee Anne - 2012-05-28 14:44:44

Hi, Jill! What a great resource--thank you so much for sharing details on Compassion Couture! I'm in love with the Hearts of Darkness cork pumps. So many shoes, so little time. (Sigh.)

Aurelia - 2012-05-22 11:44:02

Hi Aurelia - Love the selection! Check out my new e-boutique, Compassion Couture ( all cruelty-free handbags, shoes & accessories! My faves are these Mink sandals:

Jill - 2012-05-20 18:08:42

Great idea, Amber. Check back soon for more fashion-forward, eco-friendly, cruelty-free ideas--including handbags!

Aurelia - 2012-05-18 16:55:35

Love the selection! Can you also do a similar post for Handbags??!! xx

Amber - 2012-05-17 05:44:38