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Stylish Leather-Alternative Shoes for Fall – Rolling Stone

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The temperature has finally started to drop, and if you’re shopping for a new pair of boots to rock this season, it’s easier than ever to find a great-fitting pair to keep you warm in style. But if you’re looking for the best vegan leather boots to buy online, more brands have started to release sustainably made options that are better for the environment — without lacking in style.

Vegan leather boots might appear as other names like synthetic leather, pleather, polyurethane (or PU leather), and leatherette. But the goal is the same: No animal parts or products are used, resulting in a more sustainably made pair of kicks. Different brands have different approaches, as well as how far they’ll go to be completely animal-product free, as some still use renewable resources like wool where no animals are harmed. Looking for a new pair? Consider this your new boot buying guide for the year. 

Vegan Leather Boots Buying Guide

Here’s what to consider when looking for new fall and winter footwear that’s vegan or leather-free.

Material: Leather is tough, but it’s also heavy, and on long hiking treks your feet will feel it. But it also affects your whole body in a chain reaction, from your ankles up to your neck. Synthetic or vegan leather boots are noticeably lighter, and while both have varying strengths and weaknesses, faux leather can still hold up for normal everyday use.

Conditions: This is a big one when choosing the right boot — where will you be using it and in which types of weather? A boot that can handle trudging though town on snowy winter walks is way different than icy hikes and going off-grid. Unless they’re Gore-Tex lined, they’re most likely not waterproof, so it’s always best to check. Vegan and synthetic leather boots tend to be best for mild falls and winters.

Water-Resistance Level: Another shopping factor to consider when buying the best vegan leather boots is if your boots will be fully submerged in water, such as crossing rivers and streams. While waterproof leather may be able to keep your feet dry, getting authentic leather wet is something you’ll need to take care of immediately, drying it quickly and correctly. Vegan and synthetics, meantime, can avoid this altogether, and keep on going even after getting soaked. Check ahead of time to make sure your boots have a solid water-resistant design. Our picks in this guide can handle wet conditions overall.

Breathability: Leather boots don’t tend to breathe as easily as other materials, and that can prove to be a real problem, especially in warmer weather, leading to things like sweaty feet and wet socks. Vegan leather tends to be more breathable in extreme cold conditions, so keep that in mind when shopping for your next pair.

The Best Vegan Leather Boots

We picked our favorite pairs of vegan leather and faux-leather boots to rock this season and into the colder months. 

Native Shoes Johnny TrekLite Boots

These boots from Native are impressively all vegan: The upper is Sustera corn-based polyurethane that’s water-resistant, with a two-part algae-infused outsole that provides traction and grip (while still being flexible for your feet). Up front, the flat-style laces with metal eyelets hold tight and ensure your heel isn’t slipping out, with a secure fit that you can customize, along with colorful laces, too.

Inside, these keep feet warm and dry with their microfleece lining, providing a cushioned foam footbed that’s comfortable with each step. They’re rigid and sturdy, and hold up well in rain or snow. And when you’ve finally worn them out, the company can recycle them into playground materials. 

Buy Native Shoes Johnny Treklite Boots

Spring Step Vegan Winter Boots

Amazon

Spring Step’s boot checks all the boxes of cool and stylish, but this pair can also hold up in wet weather. The flexible, synthetic outsole absorbs shock with every step, with an inside zipper closure for a snug fit that keeps out water. The opening at the top is plenty wide for easily slipping onto your feet, and the boot stretches up high past your ankles, with another couple inches of heel height on top of that.

Buy Spring Step Boots $99.95

Kamik Momentum Boots

Amazon

Kamik has been constructing boots for over a century. These boots are not only 100 percent synthetic, but are designed to retain warmth in -25 degrees Fahrenheit and feature 200g Thinsulate insulation. There’s room inside to wear extra-thick socks, and the traction on the rubber soles holds steady in slippery conditions. On top of creating this excellent vegan leather boot, the Canadian company’s factories are also hydro-powered, relying on smaller amounts of fossil fuels as time progresses.

Buy Kamik Momentum Boots $89.95

Bogs Bozeman Waterproof Boots

Amazon

As the name suggests, Bogs’ boots are ready to get mucky, all while being 100 percent synthetic. They’re also built to take on extreme cold temps, all the way down to -72 degrees Fahrenheit. These reach up high too, about 13 inches from the arch, with a 15-inch opening for easily slipping them on and off. The interiors are also lined with sweat-wicking material to keep your feet comfortable all day.

Buy Bogs Bozeman Waterproof Boots $111.99

Journee Collection Comfort Foam Boots

Zappos

These are armed for colder weather, and can plow through snow, slush, and sludge while keeping your feet dry. The two-tone duck foot design and cozy fleece lining inside is super comfy, and the smooth, completely vegan leather shaft locks in extra heat, with moisture sliding off the rubber outsole.

Buy Journee Comfort Boots $84.99




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