Vegan Moccasins From Brands Innovating For More Sustainability

Moccasins are a shoe design that has been around for thousands of years. Today, it has evolved and changed into various different styles and substyles, all made for varying purposes.

As comfortable and versatile as moccasins might be, they’re traditionally not vegan. They are usually made of leather or suede, which are as far from vegan as any textile can be.

The good news is that there are now a plethora of vegan moccasins available. From machine washable ones to plant-based options, your choices are steadily increasing for the better.

We created a list of the best stores where you can buy vegan moccasins. They come in different styles and colors, so you are likely to find something you like in this round-up.

Note: To preface, we feature moccasins that are listed as loafers. Scroll down to our section on moccasins vs. loafers for more information on how the two are similar, but ultimately still different.

Rothy's - USA

Rothys vegan moccasins
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Rothy’s is all about doing better business. Not in the sense of economic gain, but in prioritizing the environment and all that’s in it.

They create various wardrobe staples and classics that you can experiment with. However, Rothy’s is not a fully vegan brand. They use merino wool in a couple of their shoes, which is not a vegan material.

About The Moccasins

The Driving Loafer is a super comfy pair of driving vegan moccasins that come in 4 different colors and designs. We really like it in navy, although it’s also available in camo styles.

You don’t need to wear socks with this pair (although you still can). It comes in a perfect fit that requires no breaking in period and should hug your feet comfortably.

And unlike leather and suede, and even vegan leather, this pair is completely machine washable. Just remove the insoles, place both insoles and uppers in the machine, and you’re good to go!

When Rothy’s develops their products, they machine wash it 60x and test it up to 8 times to ensure that the shoes hold up to both maintenance and wear. In terms of comfort, this is definitely one of the best vegan moccasins you can buy. Plus, it’s incredibly resistant and durable, not to mention that cleaning is super easy.

Unfortunately, it’s only available in men’s sizes. Rothy’s does have a section on women’s loafers – have tons of unique designs and colors – but they don’t really resemble moccasins.

Materials

This pair of shoes are made from Rothy’s own knit made from recycled plastic bottles. They take discarded plastic bottles and use them to make the thread, which is then knit into the uppers for these moccasins.

Their use of recycled materials plays a huge role in the brand’s goal of closing the loop. So, while recycled is still plastic and could end up in landfills again, the producer taking on added responsibility helps with this issue.

The company plans on a fully circular production process by 2023. They plan on making end-of-wear solutions for all the shoes they release—a feat that will bring the industry further towards closing the loop. Read more about it here.

On the other hand, the removable insoles are made from 20% bio-based PU. The outsoles are made from 31% natural rubber and 29% natural materials (sand).

You can see a full list of all the raw materials they use right here.

Brand Values

From what we’ve seen on this company’s practices, they really are set on making shoes better. From making them machine washable, using sustainable components, and in how they plan on closing the loop.

It’s clear that their promise for something better is not just lip service. They’re actually backing it up with action.

All their shoes are made in a factory in Dongguan, China. And before that raises alarms in your head, continue reading. The brand fully owns and operates the entire factory; no other manufacturers play a role in making their shoes.

They even plan on making the entire factory zero waste by 2022! Their upper production has 75% less carbon footprint than industry standard methods. Check out the details on how they make their shoes here.

We love seeing that this brand manifests a mix of innovation and initiative to make its processes more sustainable. It’s admirable how they go the extra mile and actively look for ways to beat the system and create a better one instead.

Noah - Germany

Noah vegan moccasins
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Founded in 2009, Noah is a vegan shoes and accessories company based in Germany. They have over 12 years of shoewear experience on their belt and they’re using it to forward the ethics they believe in.

With multiple awards received over the years, their shoes are made in the traditional Italian style— merging comfort with quality.

About The Moccasins

Noah has several vegan mocassins in their shoe collection, but our favorite has to be the bestseller Tony Suede.

It is a pair of driving moccasins made entirely of vegan materials. It comes in 5 lovely colors that are all easy on the eyes and relatively simple to style.

This versatile pair is comfortable and elegant all at once. Whether you’re wearing with a semi-formal ensemble or wearing casually on errands, this pair will keep your tired feet comfy throughout the day.

It also has a removable insole that you can replace with orthopedic soles for those of you who need a little extra support.

The style is gender-neutral and anybody can wear it. We personally love it in navy blue and taupe, but you can also get it in black, white, and night blue.

If you want something with a little oomph, you might want to check out the Tommy Razza. It comes in stingray-style vegan leather and comes in bolder colors like red and green.

Materials

All Noah raw materials are completely vegan, durable, as well as non-toxic, and hypoallergenic. For the feature vegan moccasins above, the main material is microsuede.

This type of material is vegan leather very similar to suede except that, unlike real leather suede, it doesn’t fall apart with water contact. It is super breathable and will give your feet room to breathe.

However, microfibers are still made of plastic. We only recommend certain textiles, such as microfiber, under particular conditions. Namely, when they’re incredibly durable and can be worn for years on end.

Microfiber is a textile prized for its durability and versatility. So if you’re going to go for synthetic materials, you might as well choose one that lasts. After all, durability is an important aspect of sustainability.

You can read more on the different vegan leather types vegan leathers in a separate article.

The outsole is made of non-slip rubber. The brand notes that they used recycled rubber on their soles as much as they possibly can.

All shoes are sent out in cardboard boxes (mostly recycled) with recycled paper fillers. Remember that opting for earth-friendly packaging shoes that the brand is going the extra mile in terms of genuine sustainability values.

Brand Values

Noah’s philosophy has always been rooted in high-quality Italian craft. But it’s not just that. They are dedicated to responsible manufacturing that considers animals, people, as well as the environment.

All their shoes are manufactured in Italy, where they partner with factories with apt compliance with relevant regulations for worker protection.

They also make it a point to use recycled materials where they can. This is extremely positive for the environment since using recycled means old materials get a chance to becomes something new and fewer virgin resources are used up for new products.

Overall, they’re a pretty good brand to buy your vegan moccasins from. They have a decent collection with a good amount of choices in terms of color and style.

Will's Vegan Store - the UK

Wills vegan moccasins
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Will’s Vegan Store is a PETA-approved brand selling, not only shoes but vegan accessories and groceries as well. They even stock vegan lifestyle items!

They are a completely vegan brand, right from the raw materials to the adhesives. In their way, they strive to create a better, more positive impact on the world.

About The Moccasins

Our pick from the collection is this pair of moccasin-style boots. A bit different from your regular vegan moccasins, but they’re still versatile and comfortable. This pair comes in three colors. Brown, dark brown, and cream.

Our personal pick from the three is the tan brown shade, but all three of them look lovely. These shoes are breathable, which is an excellent feature to have in boots. Keeping your feet warm during cold days doesn’t have to mean giving up breathability!

They’re also water-resistant, so you don’t need to worry about water damage to the surface. These vegan moccasin-style boots were made in a traditional moccasin fashion with a distinct seam at the top of the shoe and a singular sole.

If you’re not feeling the boot design, the store also stocks penny loafers in chestnut brown and black. They’re great driving vegan moccasins that you can use even in more formal scenarios.

Materials

The uppers are made from Italian vegan suede. This material is Ecolabel certified and is compliant with Oeko Tex 100 and REACH regulations.

A deeper dive into product details indicate that their vegan suede is wholly made of PU. However, we do appreciate that the brand acknowledges that there’s still work to be done in making their products more sustainable.

In that vein, many of their shoes are now made from bio-based vegan leather made from organic cereal crops. It’s not fully biodegradable as there is still some PU involved, but it is a good start.

The lining in the boots, however, is made from the bio-based material that we just mentioned. Both soles (inner and outer) are made of rubber.

In the grand scheme of things, PU is far from our favorite vegan leather. It’s petroleum-based and does not break down well. However, high-quality PU can last very long. That, coupled with the brand’s recent initiative of closing the loop, makes it a more viable option than conventional market standards.

Brand Values

Will’s fashion apparel items are all made in Italy and Portugal, following EU regulations. They approach cruelty-free through a lens that doesn’t just avoid harm to animals, but to human beings as well.

All their workers have rights covering discrimination, maternity and parental leave, working hours, health and safety, and plenty more.

They also operate in a carbon-neutral process. Note that this doesn’t mean they don’t have any carbon emissions. Only that they offset these emissions through investments in carbon-related projects. If you want, you can even get your shoes shipped carbon neutral. However, this does come at an extra fee.

Ahimsa - Brazil

ahimsa vegan moccasin
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Ahimsa is the only company that operates a fully vegan shoe factory. In the business since 2014, they’ve made it a habit to make high-quality footwear laced with love and care.

All their products are completely vegan in an effort to respect all life and support sustainable manufacturing.

About The Moccasins

The Irene is daintily-designed pair of vegan moccasins. It comes in 3 color options ranging from neutral to bold. Navy really caught our eye and it’s the perfect color for those who love earthy tones.

This style will keep your feet comfy throughout the day, no matter the occasion. It works great with business casual as well as casual outfits. It comes in the classic moccasin style with stitching at the top. However, it does come with a very small heel.

You’ll find below that moccasins aren’t supposed to have a separate heel, so this is something out of traditional design. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a moccasin anymore! It still has all of the classic moccasin features that many of us are used to.

As we talk about below, there are no longer hard rules applied when it comes to moccasin designs since they’ve evolved plenty over the years.

You can maintain this pair of vegan moccasins for longer by cleaning with a damp cloth every now and then. Make sure to air dry and store in a well-ventilated area.

Materials

The faux leather used to make these moccasins are made from PU. PU is not the most eco-friendly material, and it’s important for us to get that out of the way. As explained previously, It’s petroleum-based and does not degrade well, creating issues with end-of-life treatment and disposal.

You can read more about Ahimsa’s choice to use PU here. But there is one important point mentioned there that we have to contest.

The sustainability potential of a material is not merely dependent on how it is disposed of by the customer. As much as proper disposal and recycling are valuable, the manufacturing process and the resources used also play a significant role in how sustainable a product is.

That said, it’s up to you whether you want to go for PU. Just make sure to take care of the footwear properly to extend its life. Last note, the breathable lining is made from a similar material.

Brand Values

Ahimsa’s manifesto revolves around doing no harm, being transparent, and questioning bad habits, and breaking them. They are a PETA-approved vegan brand and much of their processes are rooted in making items consciously and ethically.

All their footwear is made in their own factory in Brazil. They chose to open their own since they weren’t comfortable with partnering with a manufacturing company that did not share their values.

If you want to know more about how their vegan shoes are made, check out their footwear development process.

Tastemaker Supply - USA

Tastemaker Supply is a PETA-approved shoe brand based in California. They use 100% vegan raw materials in their handmade shoes, showing that excellent shoes do not have to come at the expense of animals and the environment.

About The Moccasins

Taste Convenience is this brand’s signature set of vegan moccasins. It is a suede loafer that comes in three colors: black, olive green, and brown.

It is super breathable and incredibly comfortable. It’s clear from the make and design of this pair that serious effort was put into making sure these shoes kept your feet comfy and well-supported throughout use.

It is also really lightweight and does not need a breaking-in period, which just adds even more to the comfort factor. These moccasins run true to size but if your feet are half size, you should size up for maximum comfort.

Unfortunately, this style is not available for women and thus only comes in men’s sizes. The men’s collection also has elegant penny loafers if you’re willing to go for one with a heel.

For women, they do have loafer styles, like the Knowledge loafer, but these come with a separate heel.

Materials

These shoes are primarily made from microfiber suede. It’s a lightweight and durable textile coated with PU to make the material more robust. Again, not the most eco-friendly material, but very workable if you take care of it well.

It also has good cushioning from the insole padding. The extra comfort from the padding and the breathable material will help keep your feet well ventilated and cozy throughout the day. Lastly, the outer soles are made of rubber.

Brand Values

Tastemaker Supply focuses on good design and durability to make shoes with an incredibly high standard of comfort. Because of this, this brand provides some of the best vegan moccasins around when it comes to comfort.

All their shoes are handmade in factories located in Greece, Portugal, and Taiwan. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any relevant certifications or policies regarding their factories.

As they advertise that their footwear is for people, it would have been appropriate to see more information on how they compensate their workers and how ethical the conditions are.

Mocassins vs. Loafers

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the differences between mocassins and loafers. While making this list, we found that as the style has evolved over the years, strict standards on what moccasins are have also faded away.

We can trace moccasins back to the Indigenous people of North America, where the style was used and designed in a variety of ways by different tribes [1].

Today, however, moccasins look very different from the way they did when they were first popularized. In fact, they look pretty similar to loafers, with the distinction that seams seemingly hold the uppers together.

loafers
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But the clearest distinction would be that moccasins don’t usually have a separate heel.

Moccasins today may have different types of outsoles, but they still generally don’t have a heel. Loafers, on the other hand, can have a heel. Some loafers even have high heels that add to the overall style and elegance of the design.

Still, both terms are used interchangeably often enough that the difference between the two has blurred together. Exploring the differences as they are today could have the tendency of taking on a pedantic tone.

Some brands will refer to moccasins as loafers, making it a bit challenging to draw the line between the two. So, the best advice we can give you is that if you’re looking for a heelless pair, look for moccasins. If you’re alright with a heel, go for loafers.

What Are The Best Vegan Materials For Moccasins?

Moccasins are frequently made from leather, and many vegan moccasins available today try to emulate that fact. However, not all vegan components are the same. Some are far more sustainable than others while some might even be worse than using real leather.

Ideally, we like to choose materials that are plant-based and biodegradable. But those are not often close to industry standards yet in terms of price, so those might not be possible for everyone.

Though further down the eco friendly scale, you can also go for durable synthetics. If the shoes can be repaired, then that’s even better! Usually, the high-quality components are made of microfiber—although this is not a hard rule.

Both micro leather and suede are viable options provided that they are of excellent quality. While we try as much as possible to search for more eco-friendly solutions, it does not always seem possible (yet).

We highly recommend reading our guide on vegan fabrics for a better understanding of the different kinds of sustainable, cruelty-free materials.

mocassins
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Final Thoughts

Moccasins are comfy, versatile, and overall just a great style of shoes. You can even use them as house slippers (though not all styles accommodate this use).

Today, there are now tons of variations available. Moccasins with faux fur lining, boot moccasins with cotton canvas, and so much more! The market for vegan shoes has truly grown (and we’re definitely here to see it).

In your search for comfort and quality, it’s always good to remember to choose the most eco friendly option available. The number of choices can be overwhelming at times. But brands that do good should always take precedence.

If you didn’t like any of the pairs we featured in this list, you can still find the best vegan moccasins for you by using our guidelines and following our thought process.

For example, consider buying second-hand items: it reduces your carbon footprint while cutting the price in two or three.

Resources:
1. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/moccasin

loafers
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