Group of people hiking, showing legs of person in foreground

Vegan Walking Boots: The Top Shoes for Hiking & More

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Vegan walking boots can make your wintry walks much more enjoyable. Whether you’re looking for vegan waterproof boots for wet and windy autumn walks, or vegan hiking boots for country walks, I’ve put together this list of the best vegan walking boots for you.

Having experienced the frustrations of trying to find vegan shoes many times since going vegan in 2008, I know that your local sporting goods store is unlikely to have any shoes that are (labelled) vegan. Hence putting together this list for you!

Insulated black vegan leather boots with tread soles

Wills insulated waterproof vegan walking boots (mens)

Ever feel like you need a cross between walking shoes and rain boots? These mens vegan walking boots are water-resistant and come up to mid-calf to provide extra protection, but are still comfortable

These men’s vegan waterproof walking boots have outsoles designed for traction and grip for wet and muddy conditions and the uppers are ballistic welded to the soles so they’re durable.

These Wills vegan walking boots are made to feel like walking in trainers but with extra water resistance and protection as they come up mid-calf. Customers love them, with them receiving 5/5 stars in customer reviews.


Black lace up hiking boots made of vegan materials from Will's

Will’s vegan waterproof boots (men’s + women’s sizes)

The Wvsport waterproof hiking boots from 100% vegan shoe company Will’s Vegan Store are rated by many customers as being comfortable and great for walking, but some complain they’re not fully waterproof. These boots are abrasion resistant as well as water-resistant and breathable.

Available as womens or mens vegan hiking boots in terms of sizing, they have a special waterproof membrane – critical when you’re walking in wet or wintry conditions.

They also have a cushiony midsole filled with air bubbles for cushioning. They also have a grippy sole with deep lugs for traction.

Will’s started out making vegan men’s shoes before transitioning to making women’s shoes too, as well as bags and clothing, and they use sustainable materials as much as possible. They also use certified carbon-neutral shipping and utilise recycled cardboard packaging.


Vegan black leather lace up boots with vegan wool cuff

Will’s vegan snow boots

Need vegan winter hiking boots?

These are my top pick for best vegan hiking boots for winter as they’re designed for freezing conditions, down to -22C / -7.6F.

They are made in duck boot style, with a waterproof membrane and extra elements to keep you warm in winter. First, there’s the collar made of vegan wool. Secondly, they have a vegan shearling lining for comfort and warmth.

They have Vibram soles and the outsoles have extra grip and traction, though if you’re wearing them in icy conditions they recommend adding ice spikes.


Vegan leather grey and black cross trail boots from WIlls

Will’s cross trail women’s vegan hiking boot

Designed for all terrains, these vegan walking trainers have uppers made of Lyliane 3DMX, which is abrasion-resistant, breathable and water-resistant.

They also have grippy Vibram soles which are both durable and have plenty of traction.

Customers are happy with them, rating them 5/5 stars and praising their comfort and how light they are.


Brown vegan leather lace up vegan leather boots with white vegan shearling interior from Will's

Will’s waterproof vegan hiking boots (women’s)

These Alpine waterproof vegan walking boots are made for hiking in cold conditions. They’re insulated with Primaloft (made with 90% recycled materials) and sealed with waterproof construction.

Thanks to the Primaloft insulation, they’re rated down to -22C/-7.6C temperatures and they’re lined with faux fur for warmth and cosiness.

The D-ring lacing system ensures they are supportive and secure, with an easy-to-adjust tension system. The padded ankle collar also adds to their comfort.

Weighing in at just over a kilo, they’re lightweight enough to be comfortable, yet substantial enough to provide grip and traction (thanks also to the deep tread outsoles).


Will's insulated waterproof hiking boots in black with black laces

Will’s women’s vegan hiking boots (waterproof + insulated)

When it comes to vegan waterproof hiking shoes, Will’s comes out trumps, as you can see from this list.

Perhaps even more so than brands of non leather walking boots, Will’s focus is on using high-quality and durable materials and crafting good sports shoes.

These womens vegan walking boots are insulated up to -22C/-7.6F (or you can get a non-insulated version if you need them for spring or summer).

The vegan waterproof hiking boots also have good traction and stability and have removable cushioned insoles.


Grey vegan leather hiking boots with black laces

NAE Adar vegan hiking boots (mens + womens sizes)

These are unisex hiking boots from vegan brand NAE. The non leather hiking boots have a vegan suede upper.

They are breathable and antibacterial and they have a moisture-wicking footbed. The footbed is also anatomical, providing arch support.

NAE is a 100% vegan brand from Portugal. All their shoes are manufactured ethically in Portugal.


Brown vegan leather boots with black detailing and laces from NAE

NAE Gadea unisex insulated mountain boots

These womens and mens vegan walking boots are my top pick if you want shoes that are comfortable for walking but pair just as well with jeans worn for a day out or for a walk in the countryside.

These non leather walking boots are made of soft vegan microsuede, and lined with a soft and cosy faux fur made of organic cotton.

These vegan leather walking boots are antimicrobial and breathable and have a moisture wicking footbed.

They close with a secure lace system using brackets on top in addition to tradition shoelace holes.


Vegan leather hiking boots inblack with black details from Vegetarian Shoes

Vegetarian Shoes unisex walking boots

For long hikes over long distances, these vegan outdoor boots boast the use of Vibram soles for extra durability.

These non leather hiking shoes are water resistant and have good traction. They also have angled heel cleats for downhill grip on rugged terrain.

These vegan winter boots have microfibre vegan leather uppers that are breathable and water-resistant, with an insulation layer to keep your feet warm.


Vegan minimalist hiking boots with black, teal and hot pink detailing

Xero minimalist vegan womens walking boots

If you are after barefoot shoes rather than traditional hiking boots, Xero is a barefoot shoe brand with vegan options.

Made with synthetic materials rather than animal leather, these vegan friendly walking boots claim to be the world’s lightest technical hiking boot. Made with barefoot shoe standards in mind, that means they have a wide toebox, are flexible and are lightweight.

The vegan outdoor shoes have a Michelin sole and lugs for extra grip, plus a breathable and abrasion-resistant upper made of vegan, animal-free materials.

They can even be used as trail running shoes.


Vegan minimalist hiking boots with black, grey and yellow hiking boots

Xero mens minimalist walking boots

These mens vegan walking shoes are the men’s version of the women’s size hiking boots above.

These leather free hiking boots are minimalist/barefoot shoes, meaning they’re lightweight, have a flexible sole and a wide toe box.

Each pair of vegan hiking shoes is made with a Michelin sole and with lugs inspired by Michelin bike tires, with plenty of grip.

They also serve as lightweight trail running shoes, and are breathable and comfortable.

FAQ

Which walking boots are vegan?

It can be tricky if you follow a vegan lifestyle to find vegan footwear. Unlike food, shoes are not always well-labelled.

Thankfully, it’s easier to find vegan shoes online these days, and a number of brands have options for vegan walking boots.

Vegan leather has a lower environmental impact than animal leather, according to the Higgs index on materials. That’s because of the tremendous amount of water and land expended on raising livestock. Not to mention the animal cruelty of the leather industry.

The leather industry is also terrible for workers, who are often children. The materials used in tanning leather are known to cause cancer.

A number of brands like Merrell and Xero barefoot shoes have introduced vegan hiking shoes. Plus there are a number of all-vegan brands I like to support, such as Will’s and NAE.

Which hiking shoes are vegan?

If you’re looking for eco vegan hiking shoes, your options in-store are likely limited unless you’re lucky enough to have a vegan store near you, or a well-stocked outdoor goods store where the staff know which options are vegan (they’re rarely labelled).

 

Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to find shoes online and there are more and more vegan shoes available. I put together this list to help you find them!

What are vegan shoes made of?

Vegan shoes can be made from a variety of natural materials or synthetic materials, from cork to canvas to vegan leather, or a natural rubber outsole.

 

Some materials are superior to others – cork, for example, is one of the most eco-friendly materials thanks to needing little in the way of water or input and since the trees can be harvested without harming them – but isn’t necessarily the best for hiking shoes. Walking boots and hiking shoes tend to be made with high-performance synthetics such as mesh and vegan leather.

They need to be breathable, abrasion-resistant and possibly water-resistant too.

Is Gore-tex vegan?

 

Gore-tex is a popular material to use in walking boots as it’s both waterproof and breathable, as well as being lightweight and windproof. Thankfully, it’s vegan as it’s a synthetic material.

Gore-tex is made of stretched polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), aka Teflon (a fact which I did not know until researching this article!).

Are vegan shoes good for your feet?

 

Vegan shoes, just like any shoe, can be good or bad for your feet – depending on whether the shoe fits properly and depending on the needs of your feet. Vegan shoes are not inherently different to other shoes, though! (In fact, anyone who owns a pair of canvas and rubber-soled sneakers likely owns vegan shoes.)

Make sure your shoes fit properly and consult a podiatrist if needed.

Are vegan shoes durable?

They certainly can be! I’ve had vegan shoes last many years, while others haven’t lasted as long. It comes down to buying quality shoes (budget dependent) and taking care of your shoes.

Shoes tend to last longer when you rotate pairs, which is also recommended to keep smells at bay.

I also recommend looking for shoes that can be re-soled, as that greatly extends the life of the shoes. Goodyear welted soles are the gold standard of boot construction, as these can be more easily changed. I have boots that have last 7 years and counting thanks to being able to re-sole them. Also, find a good cobbler near you!

Some shoes also benefit from adding a waterproof spray if they aren’t already waterproof and if you’ll be using them in wet conditions.. Follow directions from the manufacturer or ask.

Are vegan boots waterproof?

Some are and some aren’t, depending on how they’re constructed. Look for boots with a waterproof membrane if you want to be sure your shoes will be waterproof. Some are only water-resistant, meaning you can’t wear them in puddles, for example.

Do vegan shoes smell bad?

This is an unfortunate misconception based on outdated information. You see, several decades ago vegan leather was made of PVC (sometimes also called “pleather”). PVC is terrible for the environment, and it’s also not at all breathable – resulting in smelly, uncomfortable feet.

These days, things have advanced a lot and very few places use PVC anymore. Most vegan leather these days is polyurethane (PU) vegan leather, which is much more eco-friendly and more breathable. Not to mention the plethora of other vegan materials – hiking boots and running shoes often incorporate mesh for flexibility and breathability, for example.

Plus, the newer generation of vegan leather includes all sorts of more sustainable materials such as cactus leather, grape leather and apple leather, amongst others. These are made from leftover waste from the food and drink industries. Whilst they (and PU) contain plastic, they’re still more eco-friendly than vegan leather. And even newer materials are being developed, like Mirum, the first completely plastic-free and biodegradable vegan leather. I haven’t seen it used in shoes yet, but watch this space.

To sum up, thanks to improved breathability, no – vegan shoes don’t smell bad. But do be sure to rotate your shoes and air them out between wears.

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Pinterest image showing group of people hiking; text above reads "the best vegan walking boots"

 

Looking for more vegan boots? Check out my guides to vegan leather boots, vegan combat boots, vegan Chelsea boots, vegan cowboy boots, vegan Timberlands, and more.

I also have guides to vegan sneakers, vegan designer shoes and more shoe styles.

Find all my vegan fashion & beauty guides here.

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