An excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts who want to abstain from using animal products is vegan hiking boots. Unlike conventional hiking footwear, they don’t contain any animal substance. Although built with different materials, they are still designed to improve the way you hike without sacrificing comfort or performance. Also, vegan hikers are constructed to keep your feet safe from various trail challenges while you’re outdoors.
The pros and cons of using vegan hiking boots for your hike
Best vegan hiking boots - May 2019
Just like any piece of outdoor gear, a pair of vegan hiking boots has a set of qualities that can be both beneficial for and detrimental to your hike. Here are some of them.
Light. Vegan hiking boots feature an upper made of synthetic materials, making them lighter and more flexible than conventional hikers. Their lightweight construction prevents your feet from getting over-fatigued during a hike.
Affordable. Vegan hiking boots are relatively more affordable than authentic leather footwear. Synthetic materials are easier and faster to manufacture, cutting their overall cost. On the other hand, acquiring animal byproducts and transforming them into useable leather for hiking footwear consumes more time and resources.
Animal-friendly. Vegan hikers forego the use of any material that comes from animals. In its place, synthetic materials and free-from-animal-substance adhesives are used to build this type of gear. The purpose of this construction method is to lessen the need for animal slaughter.
Less durable than authentic leather. When it comes to durability, vegan hiking boots are noticeably weaker than their leather counterparts. Premium full-grain leather footgear is subjected to an intricate process, making it the toughest material you can use for a hike. In comparison, the synthetic material found in vegan hiking boots is more prone to damage caused by wear, tear, and the elements.
Weaker against the elements. There’s a big chance the trail you’re going to explore is filled with wet trail conditions. As compared with the best leather hiking boots, vegan hikers are more susceptible to water and moisture. Footwear manufacturers have addressed this concern by coating the gear’s upper with a water-repellent finish or equipping it with a waterproof liner. Even though these additions help keep your feet dry, they still don’t match up to the natural waterproofness of real leather.
They aren’t as stable as leather boots. All-leather hiking boots are known to provide impeccable ankle support. They also adapt better to the shape of your foot while you’re traversing challenging trail conditions. Vegan hiking boots don’t have this quality, making them less stable on uneven terrain.
How to get the best fit from the finest men's and women's vegan hiking boots
Getting the right fit from your vegan hiking boots is the key to getting the most out of your pair. Before buying a pair, here are some essential tips to remember.
Certain outdoor brands offer an assortment of vegan hiking boots to male and female adventurers.
Vegan hiking boots are available in standard men’s and women’s sizes. They are mostly sold in regular width.
Always consider the added width your hiking socks will contribute to the overall fit. It’s better to wear your preferred socks when fitting a pair of vegan boots.
If you’re going to try these hikers in a store personally, it’s a good idea to walk around in them for a few minutes. This practice will give you an idea of how these boots feel.
How the finest vegan hiking boots are constructed
A vegan boot’s synthetic upper is often paired with mesh panels or textile fabric. It’s also coated with a water-repellant finish to counter the elements. This design choice keeps the gear as light as possible while maintaining an ample level of protection against water.
Premium vegan hiking boots are equipped with waterproof liners for optimal protection against wet trail conditions. The most popular technology used in select vegan hikers is a Gore-Tex membrane. This specialized material uses a microporous surface to effectively block water out while allowing moisture to pass through, making it both waterproof and breathable.
Although they are less durable than leather hikers, vegan hiking boots can still take a beating. The best vegan footwear is reinforced with rubber toe caps, rands, and heel guards to improve its toughness against abrasion.
How can I verify if the vegan hiking boots I’m planning to buy are truly animal-friendly?
Although these hikers may be advertised as animal-friendly, there may be some instances when this isn’t entirely true. Here are some tips to help you determine if the boots you’re planning to purchase is truly vegan.
Examine the vegan pair you want via the brand’s website. The specifications of your target pair can be found in their respective brand’s website. You can access this information and examine the materials and technologies used in the construction of these hiking boots. More often than not, manufacturers will indicate if certain models use vegan leather. This information will help you determine if the gear you’re planning to buy is animal-friendly.
Contact the manufacturer. In some cases, the information found on the footwear brand’s website may be incomplete. Rather than make a blind purchase, the wisest course of action is to contact the manufacturer to clarify whether the pair you’re going to buy uses vegan materials or not.
Check the footgear model’s reviews. Another way to determine if your planned pair is using vegan materials is to read product reviews. All you need to do is search for the footwear’s corresponding reviews on consumer and expert review websites. These links will give you information on how these vegan hiking boots are constructed and how they perform on the trail. Also, you can ask those who already have your coveted pair to confirm if they are truly animal-friendly.
Notable outdoor brands that offer vegan hiking boots for men and women
Various footwear brands sell several vegan hiking boots in their catalog. Here are some companies you can choose from if you’re going to buy a vegan pair.
Merrell. Vegan hiking boots made by Merrell are mainly designed for day hikers. These footwear models use synthetic uppers and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) midsoles to make them as light as possible. Some vegan boots also feature waterproof liners to keep the user’s foot dry.
Arc’teryx. Arc’teryx’s vegan hiking boots use a seamless thermolaminated fabric to construct the upper. This material is entirely synthetic, making it animal-friendly.
Lowa. Lowa’s designers equipped their vegan hiking boots with synthetic uppers and reinforced them with thermoplastic urethane (TPU) guards. This construction allows the company’s boots to endure harsh backpacking conditions.
Salewa. Salewa’s vegan hiking boots employ uppers that contain coated synthetic fabric, mesh panels, and Gore-Tex membranes. These materials all come together to make the company’s vegan hikers light, waterproof, and breathable, making them suitable for speed hiking.
Xero Shoes. Xero Shoes’ vegan boots are configured specifically for day hikes. This gear embodies the company’s natural movement philosophy by prioritizing lightness and flexibility in its construction. Also, a pair of Xero Shoes vegan hiking boots can also be used in casual settings.
La Sportiva. This company’s line of vegan hiking boots doesn’t contain any animal byproducts, including the adhesive used in these products. La Sportiva’s best vegan hikers are equipped with one-piece synthetic uppers that boast remarkable waterproofness and breathability.
Frequently asked questions about the best vegan hiking boots
How can I maintain my vegan hiking boots in good condition?
Your vegan hikers need to be cleaned regularly. Otherwise, their quality will deteriorate, and you’ll be buying a new pair sooner than later. Here are some tips to keep in mind when cleaning your boots:
Get a soft-bristled brush or a piece of cloth to wipe away traces of dirt or mud on your vegan hiking boots.
Once you’re done with the previous step, you can rinse your gear under a faucet. Get some mild detergent and mix it with water. Use this mixture to clean your footwear.
For a more thorough wash, you need to remove the boot’s laces and footbed. Taking these components away will help wash those hard-to-reach areas.
After cleaning your vegan hiking boots, you should leave them in a well-ventilated area to dry off. Never use a direct source of heat, such as a blow dryer, to speed up the drying process. Don’t place your boots near anything hot or where the sun’s rays can hit them. These practices will affect the quality of your gear.
What’s the ideal piece of gear to complement my vegan hiking boots
Nothing beats a pair of gaiters if there’s a chance of encountering unpredictable weather during your hike. They are worn over your pants and prevent water from trickling down into your hiker’s collar. They’re also made of a special fabric that can repel water so your legs can stay dry.
You should also consider pairing your vegan hiking boots with merino wool socks. This material wicks excess moisture and prevents your foot from smelling. Merino wool socks dry faster than cotton after being exposed to sweat or water. They are also great in trapping heat if you’re about to hike in low temperatures.