All the info you need to pick the perfect pair of vegan hiking boots for your adventures!
Whether they’re for hiking, backpacking, camping or just general exploring, hiking boots are often the most important piece of outdoors gear on your packing list and a seriously worthwhile investment.
Fortunately, for us ethical adventurers, it’s frickin’ awesome that 100% vegan hiking boots, made using synthetic or plant-based materials, are now available. Not only that, they rock! Nowadays, so many vegan boots are better than their cruel leather counterparts, even non-vegans are making the switch.
As with all outdoors footwear, finding a pair that are suited to you and your adventures is damn crucial.
The right ones will last a lifetime, keep you on your feet in the harshest conditions and make your time outside a rewarding experience. The wrong ones can have you slipping and sliding, covered in blisters and needing to buy a new pair before the year is out…
Before we get ahead of ourselves, we’ve gotta admit that finding completely vegan options ain’t so easy. Whether it’s confusing labelling, changing materials or even brands who aren’t completely sure what’s in their boots, finding a solid answer can be… a challenge.
But, we always like a challenge, especially when vegan outdoor gear is concerned!
To research this article, all of the vegan shoe brands featured were contacted to check their boots were 100% free of animal products (unless specifically stated). That means, no leather, no pesky gelatin products and no fish-laced glues either!
This guide is designed to help you answer all your questions and highlight the best vegan boots which are specifically designed for the outdoors. In it, you’ll find:
- Why go for vegan hiking boots?
- How to find actually vegan hiking boots and what to look for
- How to pick perfect hiking boots for YOU (size, materials, fit, waterproof, uses and features etc)
- The best vegan hiking boots on the market for 2020
At Veggie Vagabonds it’s our mission to help people spend more time outside and make that as easy as possible for the vegan community. We’ll be bringing out plenty more guides and vegan outdoors gear advice – make sure to sign up to our mailing list to find out when it’s released!
This article may contain affiliate links. If you make purchases through these links we may make a small commission – this is never of any extra cost to you – but helps support Veggie Vagabonds, thank you!
Why go for vegan shoes?
Besides the fact vegan shoes are often better, most people choose vegan because of the materials used in regular hiking shoes.
Traditionally, hiking boots are made from leather e.g animal skin typically from cows. And, it’s not just a few cows, more than 240 million cows are killed every year for leather, a number expected to rise to 430 million by 2025.
Whilst not all cows are killed directly for their leather, they are kept in cruel conditions and killed before their time. Many are branded and abused, some cows are even skinned alive. It’s not nice stuff folks.
Leather aside, there are other materials used in shoe production which are also not cruelty-free. Many brands use glue to bind materials which might be derived from fish or gelatine, and some parts of the sole may also use animal-products.
Do you know, there’s a really simple step to avoid this animal cruelty? Go for vegan hiking boots instead of leather! It’s pretty simple really.
Besides being cruelty-free, vegan-friendly hiking boots are generally:
- Lighter weight
- Have better breathability
- Dry quicker
- Don’t need as much maintenance
- Quicker to break-in
- More and more research is being done to constantly improve the materials and design of vegan options
- Often better for the environment
Are there any negative points to vegan shoes?
It wouldn’t be fair to just tell one side to the story. As a material, leather is typically harder-wearing and more durable. Also, synthetic materials break down in a shorter amount of time so it’s especially important to buy a good-quality vegan pair which will last.
Just to note: with so much research, synthetic materials are often just as hard-wearing as leather – now there’s no reason not to go cruelty-free!
This is how to look for 100% vegan hiking boots
Sometimes, shoes are clearly labelled as vegan, making things nice and easy. If the shoes have a vegan stamp or specifically say 100% vegan, vegan or synthetic etc. then it’s almost certain you’re safe.
Other brands may say vegan leather shoes, non-leather hiking boots, leather-free hiking boots, organic boots etc. and with these, you should have a bit more caution. Whilst they might be organic, fairtrade or not use leather, they can still use animal products.
The main areas for concern are the upper part of the shoe, the glue and sometimes the sole.
(the upper is the main body of the shoe, not the sole, lacing or inner lining).
Checking the main materials and upper for leather products
If the hiking boots are not vegan, they’ll likely use leather of some sort, which is normally in the upper area. Fortunately, as leather is more expensive it tends to be clearly stated.
There may be a leather symbol (shown in the photo below) or say things like genuine leather, leather upper, leather, coated leather, suede, nubuck (a type of leather) or suede leather. This can be written on the sole of the shoe or inside under the tongue – this is not vegan-friendly.
Vegan hiking boots instead may use a variety of different materials, with some brands having their own specific technology. Look for things like breathable mesh, manmade materials, synthetic materials, synthetic mesh, thermoplastic urethane, polyester, nylon and so-called “synthetic leather”. These are all leather alternatives which are vegan-friendly.
Animal-derived glue & other issues
Many boots which don’t use leather may still contain glue which isn’t vegan-friendly. For this reason, be careful assuming that hiking boots labelled as leather-free are in fact completely vegan. Unfortunately, this can be harder to spot and might require a bit of investigating. Some hiking boots might also have animal products in the sole.
Some tips for finding vegan hiking boots
- If you’re shopping online then look for the details, features or product info section to see if leather is listed and lookout for vegan materials
- Online, search for vegan on a brands website – normally this shows information if available
- If you’re shopping in-store, ask one of the shop workers or look on the shoe themselves for the leather markings listed above
- Some hiking shoes will now be labelled as vegan or vegan-friendly
- It’s important to note that organic or fairtrade does not automatically mean it’s vegan
- To be 100% sure, contact the companies (we’ve done that for you below!)
How to pick the perfect hiking boots for you
Finding the right boot will really depend on what you’re wanting to use them for and your body type. All the top outdoor brands know how to market shoes, so, rest assured, no matter what you’re looking for you’ll be able to find it. Check out the points below to help you find the right thing.
No. 1 tip!
Pick a pair of hiking boots that are completely suited to your needs, are comfortable and will last. Don’t prioritise looks or brands, and, whilst it might be appealing to save £20, you’ll regret going for a bargain on the hiking trail if they’re not right for you.
What activities do you want them for?
Are they for one activity or do you need them for a variety of things? Are you looking for all-day comfort… something flexible for scrambling… boots to wear with crampons… something really lightweight… something with extra ankle support?
Feet getting too cold is horrible but if your feet get too hot this can also cause chaffing and athletes foot. Hot conditions are better tackled with more breathable shoes, whilst cold conditions might benefit from an insulated lining.
Looking for more vegan outdoors gear?
Waterproof or not waterproof
In our opinion, if you’re going to be in only very hot conditions you can do without the waterproof lining. Generally, this lining makes breathability worse and you can end up with very hot, clammy feet. If the weather is hot the shoes will naturally dry.
For most people, however, weather conditions will change.
If you’ll be hiking in cooler conditions with a chance of getting wet, then buying boots with a waterproof membrane is a very good idea. And, If you’re even thinking about going near snow or below freezing conditions then don’t even think of doing it without waterproof boots!
Narrow or wide
Everyone has slightly different feet: thick ankles and heels, long flat feet, very arched heels etc. Outdoor brands are smart and have boots to fit every type of feet. Take a long, hard look at your feet and decide what style shoes will fit best.
Hiking boots for men Vs hiking boots for women
Typically, men’s hiking footwear will be slightly wider, heavier and larger, particularly in the heels, with women’s normally having more traditionally feminine colours. There’s nothing wrong with women wearing men’s shoes and vice versa, remember the first point: prioritise comfort and practicality.
High ankle or mid ankle
Boots won’t have low ankle options but you can find high or mid ankle choices. Higher ankles offer more support and protection from the elements, however, this comes with extra weight. If you’re going to be moving fast, appreciating extra movement and less weight, then mid-ankle boots might be better for you.
You might even want to think about vegan hiking shoes or trail runners – check out our guide here.
The best vegan hiking boots on the market!
To put this list together, we reached out to all of the brands listed below to ask about their vegan options (unless specifically shown to be 100% vegan). It’s fantastic to see that many of the biggest outdoor companies now have awesome vegan hiking boots and were proud to tell us about them. Each year the selection just gets bigger and bigger!
A number of the brands we spoke to were in the process of bringing out exciting new vegan hiking models, which aren’t listed below yet. They’ll send details once they come out and we’ll make sure to update the list as soon as they do.
This list is intended to be a constantly growing and updated resource, filled with options for us ethical adventurers. To stay in the loop, make sure you’re signed up to our mailing list for the latest news.
Note. whilst this is a fairly certain way of checking the hiking boots are vegan, it’s also open to potential human error. This information is relayed from brand representatives, and, to the best of their knowledge, these shoes are 100% vegan.
La Sportiva Vegan Hiking Boots
One of the best-respected brands for outdoor footwear. La Sportiva has produced groundbreaking technology in hiking and mountaineering boots, trail runners and approach shoes, with gear designed for the hardest conditions.
It’s great to see that La Sportiva currently has three models of vegan hiking boots, which you can be sure will be ready for anything you throw at them. All are available in both men’s and women’s cuts so you can find the perfect fit.
Shoe: La Sportiva Blade GTX
Weight: 864g men’s pair, 700g women’s
Features: Gore-Tex, mid-ankle support, for mid-width feet, foot brake system designed for trail running
Best for: Fast hiking and trail running
If you’re looking for something lightweight and versatile then the Blade is a sure choice. You’ll find impressive breathability whilst still being completely waterproof and highly durable. The mid-ankle support and All-terrain Frixion® sole with breaking systems means, there’s plenty of protection for hiking whilst still being light enough to run in. Designed with fast hiking and mountain running in mind.
Buy La Sportiva Blade
Shoe: La Sportiva Stream GTX
Weight: 820g men’s pair, 700g women’s
Features: Gore-Tex Surround for waterproof breathability, mid-ankle support, Impact Brake System™
Best for: Highly versatile and breathable shoe for hiking or trail running
Another La Sportiva option designed to keep you light on your feet, perfectly suited to hiking, running and general fast-paced adventuring. These boots use new Gore-Tex Surround technology which keeps your feet watertight but guarantees breathability throughout the shoe. A good option for warmer conditions or an all-day summer hiking boot.
Features a Stability control System™ and a Vibram XS Trek outsole, designed to give the best grip on hard, soft or muddy terrain. Combined with an Impact Brake System™ for added traction if you’re moving fast on uncertain terrain.
Both men’s and women’s designs are completely vegan and give a snug fit for mid-width feet.
Buy La Sportiva Stream GTX
Shoe: La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX (this is what I own!)
Weight: 1,150g men’s, 920g women’s
Features: Gore-Tex, 3D Flex for increased ankle mobility, Vibram® Mulaz outsole give great traction for scrambling
Best for: Hard hiking and scrambling
One of the most popular vegan hiking boots on this list, and for good reason!
The Trango TRK GTX is an all-out, hard-wearing hiking boot marketed as a technical backpacking option. You’ll find plenty of technology from La Sportiva mountaineering boots thrown into a lighter, sleeker package that can be worn all day.
Technical routes or scrambling can be managed easily thanks to the Vibram® Mulaz outsole which have increased traction and stability with great edging capabilities.
I still own an older Trango model and can attest how comfortable and rock-solid they are!
Buy La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX
Lowa Vegan Hiking Boots
Lowa is one of the few outdoor brands which clearly labels their shoes as vegan – which is great! They’re dedicated to creating and researching hiking products and have specifically designed men’s vegan hiking boots and women’s. Plus, they’re bringing out more cruelty-free products in just a few weeks, so we’ll update this list when they do.
Weight: 1,200g (pair)
Features: Gore-Tex waterproofing, mid-ankle support, medium width shoe
Best for: Great stability at a lower price
Designed in collaboration with alpinist Ralf Dujmovits, the Iron GTX are hard-wearing trekking boots with a lighter and more agile design. The Gore-Tex waterproof lining and mid-ankle height make them great for colder weather or worse conditions and the athletic fit helps to keep a spring in your step throughout the day.
They’re also resolable which helps give them a longer life, making them a good eco-friendly option.
Shoe: Women’s Lowa Lyxa GTX Mid Ws
Weight: 940g (pair)
Features: Gore-Tex waterproofing, mid-ankle support, specific women’s fit
Best for: Super comfortable 3-season trekker
The Lyxa from Lowa has a similar spec to the men’s, however, the cut is specifically designed for women. They’re nearly 300g lighter with a women’s medium fit (this is narrower than the men’s) and are intended to be slightly more flexible and comfortable.
Arc’teryx Acrux TR GTX Boot Men’s & Women’s
Weight: 1100g men’s, 940g women’s
Features: Gore-Tex, technical boot, highly grippy sole for wet or dry conditions
Best for: Multi-day routes on challenging terrain
Arc’teryx really have the reputation of creating only the highest quality outdoors gear. Having tested out a number of their products, we can only confirm this.
The Acrux has designs for men and women, being designed for technical multi-day trekking routes in challenging alpine conditions. If you’re planning on tackling mountain ridges or more serious climbs, these tick all the boxes.
They’re highly flexible and surprisingly lightweight, especially considering the support and protection they provide. Gore-Tex and weatherproof, with a Vibram® Megagrip outsole and aggressive lug geometry give you confident traction in wet or dry conditions – perfect for alpine adventures!
Buy Arc’teryx Acrux
Merrell Thermo Rogue 2 Boa Mid
Features: Gore-Tex, insulated, traction on ice and snow
Best for: Ready for serious cold but without the additional weight
Merrell is another brand which has long been known for its ethical options. You’ll find a large variety of Merrell vegan shoes and boots, clearly labelled and easy to find.
Their latest hiking boots, the Thermo Rogue 2, has Gore-Tex lining and a new BOA® Fit System, designed for a quick and easy, yet precise, fit. Despite being impressively lightweight, these boots also have 200g of Primaloft® Gold Series synthetic insulation and added over-the-toe protection, making them awesome for colder temperatures.
On the sole, you’ll find a Vibram® Arctic Grip All-Terrain outsole, created for confident grip on wet ice and packed snow. The 5mm lug depth also helps to keep you warm whilst standing in freezing conditions. Altogether, this is a serious vegan winter boot!
Buy Merrell Thermo Rogue 2
Vivobarefoot Magna Trail Men’s & Women’s
Weight: 670g men’s, 500g women’s
Features: Eco neoprene sock-style fitting, natural foot form and sensitivity
Best for: Eco vegan shoes with a natural feel
Vivobarefoot is an incredibly unique barefoot shoe brand. This means they allow your feet to keep their natural form by being thin, wide and very flexible. Altogether this is meant to enable you to walk, run and hike in the way your feet naturally intended you too.
This is all wrapped up in a sleek package which is clearly labelled as vegan-friendly and super sustainable.
Instead of your traditional shoe build, there’s an Eco neoprene ankle sock to put your foot in which gives 360° foot freedom. This has a truly unique and free feeling, which also helps keep out dirt flicked up from the trail.
Considering the thickness, they can be worn year-round and come with additional inner sole for cooler conditions.
Also, we’ve got to highlight eco-efficiency! Webbing and laces are made from 50% recycled PET material, the heel lining is recycled microfibre and the nylon upper from plastic waste – top marks Vivobarefoot!
Buy Vivobarefoot Magna Trail
Astral Halestorm Hiking Boot
Features: Duck boot style, hemp and canvas upper, waterproof
Best for: Eco-friendly comfortable vegan shoe that are ready for adventure
A true performance-casual hybrid, The Halestorm combines Astral’s aggressive Trail Grip™ outsole with a hemp canvas upper to balance waterproofing and breathability.
The full WEATHERGUARD® shield protects the bottom of the foot from rain, slush, sleet or snow, while the sustainable hemp upper provides comfort and durability. A herbaceous twist on a classic duck boot. Definitely a one-of-a-kind boot from a company with inspiring sustainable initiatives.
Buy Astral Halestorm
Inov8 Roclite 345 GTX Men’s and Women’s
Weight: 700g Men’s & Women’s
Features: Gore-Tex, Graphene G-Grip soles, lightweight
Best for: Award-winning boot for all-day stability and comfort
We were so glad when Inov8 told us:
“I can confirm that all our in-line hiking boots are 100% vegan – from the glues used to the knits and leathers”
Their Roclite 345 GTX is going down a storm and has recently won The Great Outdoor Gold Footwear award. These super-light boots (700g) offer the optimal combination of the world’s toughest grip (graphene G-GRIP), climate comfort and protection.
The Graphene G-GRIP technology has a unique multi-directional design, with a wide contact area, giving unrivalled grip on challenging terrain. Combined with an impressive midsole that gives awesome shock absorption and energy return, they’ll keep you going for miles.
One of the few brands to have specific vegan hiking boots for women and men. Both have similar specs but the women’s are designed for a narrower foot. Make sure to check out Inov8’s website for more vegan footwear, colour options and discounts.
Buy Inov8 Roclite 345 GTX
XPETI Thermator Women’s Vegan Hiking Boots
Features: High ankle, insulated lining, waterproof, cold conditions
Best for: Affordable vegan shoes ready for serious cold
Another up-and-coming brand that has created some of the best vegan winter boots for its price range.
The Thermator from XPETI is one of the few high ankle boots on this list and also features a Thinsulate thermal lining for added warmth. Combine this with a Hydroshield waterproof lining, non-slip grip and good breathability, and you’ve found yourself the perfect winter or snow hiking boot!
We like the added toe cap protection and they’re designed to be worn in -30 ℃, so bring on the snow!
To note: we’ve been recommended that these come up slightly smaller than your average shoe.
Buy XPETI Thermator
Baffin Hiking Boots
A small footwear brand from Stoney Creek, Canada who specialise in cold weather and full-season options. Oh, and they’re vegan range is pretty awesome! Both have a similar spec but the boot design will be suited to different hikers and needs. All of there vegan options come up slightly small so consider going half size up.
Features: Waterproof, mid-ankle support, suitable for cold temperatures
Best for: Cold weather hiking
A mighty tough pair of waterproof hiking boots which still retain good breathability. These guys really are kitted out for the cold, and you’ll be fine in temperatures from 10ºC to -20ºC. The high ankles give extra support and protection from the elements whilst having a multi-buckle fastening system and enclosed tongue to keep the conditions out. Think frozen landscapes and snowshoeing!
Buy Baffin Charge
Features: High-ankle boot, waterproof, insulated, suitable for extreme cold
Best for: Seriously protection and warmth in cold or snowy conditions
The Zone has a similar tech spec to the Charge, however, the build is completely different.
With the lower ankle and lighter build, it makes these better suited to faster hiking or when flexibility is preferred. Still suitable for up to -20C, so don’t even worry about getting out in the cold!
The body of the shoe is foot-hugging and also has an anti-microbial insole, as well as a speed lacing system.
Buy Baffin Zone
Footwear from 100% Vegan Companies
Over the last half-decade, veganism has gone through the roof! This has given rise to plenty of 100% vegan companies creating faux-leather products and cruelty-free alternatives, with vegan shoes being particularly popular. Some of these companies have also started producing vegan hiking shoes (listed below).
This is awesome for two reasons. Firstly, because veganism has grown so much that completely vegan footwear companies are thriving and, secondly, that there is enough demand from the vegan hiking community for them to make specific hiking shoes!
Vegetarian Shoes Hiking Boots
I’ll admit, we overlooked Vegetarian Shoes for quite some time, thinking their shoes were vegetarian and not vegan. This is, in fact, not the case. All of the awesome shoes from this independent UK company are 100% vegan-friendly, they’re vegan stamped and they’ve won plenty of awards.
Vegetarian Shoes Veggie Trekker MK5 (Unisex)
Features: 3-season boot, Vibram sole
Best for: Sturdy winter hiking
The Unisex Veggie Trekker MK5 is one of the few vegan leather hiking boots on this list, giving them a very traditional look. They’re designed to take on any environment, with Wind-Tex breathable technology, a water-resistant membrane and an insulating layer for added padding and warmth. The padded faux-leather collar and tongue sections also give added comfort and protection.
Dual Density Vibram soles have an aggressive pattern and angled heel cleats give strong traction and stability on uneven surfaces. This is whilst a protective rubber rand helps increase water-resistance, rigidity and durability.
Vegetarian Shoes Snowdon Boot (Unisex)
Features: 3-season boot, Vibram sole
Best for: A sturdy all-round boot for people wanting a leather look
Similar to it’s the older sibling, The Veggie Trekker MK5, the Snowdon adopts much of the same technology but in a smaller, lighter package, with hard-wearing and water-resistant materials.
The Vegetan Micro faux-leather is exceptionally like high-quality leather in performance and has a distinctive grain, also featuring a speed lacing and ski-hook combination.
Will’s WVSport Waterproof Hiking Boots (Unisex)
Features: Waterproof, mid-ankle, mid-width design
Best for: carbon-neutral boot from 100% vegan company
Another inspiring brand from the UK leading the way in completely vegan shoes. Will’s Vegan Shoes are vegan certified, a carbon-neutral company and this is a carbon-neutral product!
The WVSport vegan walking boots are everything you need for a hard-wearing, year-round option. You’ll find an advanced ballistic welded construction with abrasion and scuff-resistant material, Vibram rubber injection outsoles for incredibly grippy traction and a special waterproof membrane. This all allows for reliable fresh breathability and long-lasting waterproof protection.
Also, 70% of the power used to produce these boots is from solar energy – hell yeah!
Buy Will’s Vegan Shoes
Any extra vegan hiking options?
To put this list together, we scoured high and low, through forums, reviews and the deepest corners of the internet. Whilst the number of vegan hiking options are definitely increasing, it’s still no easy job finding out if they’re 100% suitable.
Out of all the companies we looked at, two were completely vegan companies (Will’s and Vegetarian Shoes) and only a handful of others explicitly labelled their products as vegan.
The best way to dig deeper was by contacting the companies themselves. Below are a list of other shoe brands who don’t stock vegan-friendly hiking boots. We’ve put this here to save you some time if you do some investigating on your own in the future!
All of this information is accurate as of 14/1/20 and will be updated if things changed. Many brands told us they were working on new models and would contact us when available.
Scarpa – Bringing out fully vegan hiking boot in February – subscribe to find out when
Adidas – “At the moment our vegan range hasn’t extended to our hiking products with our key product being our vegan running shoes”
KEEN – “we have shoes which are leather-free but unfortunately, they are not certified vegan as KEEN might uses gelatin in the sole”
Vaude – None, many sustainable options but can’t confirm vegan
Meindl – None, working on eco-materials
Decathlon – Easily contactable, leather-free shoes use animal-derived glue
Altra Lone Peak Hiking Boots – Not contactable to confirm vegan-friendly
Columbia – No vegan information and no response
North Face – No vegan information and no response to contact
Salewa – No boots available
Zamberlan – No boots available
Salomon – No boots available
Know of any other great hiking boots for vegans, or want some extra advice? Drop us a comment below!
Vegan Hiking Boots: The Best Vegan Hiking Boots and Buyer’s Guide
There are so many cruelty-free boots, tough enough for anything you throw at them, we can all ditch the leather and nasty stuff. With the ethical adventure community constantly growing, it only means more and more vegan hiking boot options for the future.
We can all help support this by backing the vegan outdoors gear that’s available now. Tell your friends, share articles like this, tell the outdoor brands you love their vegan products… let’s try and make every adventure an ethical adventure!
Want some more advice finding vegan gear or just tips on getting outdoors? Drop us a comment and get in touch!