As we launch our first-ever Vegan Shoe Collection, we take a few minutes with Sara Driscoll, Head of Buying and Product at Start-Rite Shoes, to find out more about the story behind the shoes.
Why the move into Vegan footwear?
More Brits than ever before are choosing a vegan lifestyle. The UK non-meat market is now worth £740 million and in the first five days of Veganuary 2021, Lyst, the global fashion search platform, reported a 63 per cent spike in searches for ‘vegan leather’ and ‘eco-friendly’. New data suggests that 35 per cent of Generation Z aim to be meat-free in 2021. Added to this, we’ve definitely seen a rise in enquiries from customers that are interested in vegan-friendly shoes - our new Vegan School Shoe Collection couldn’t be timelier.
Tell me more about the Vegan Collection
We’re really proud of our new Vegan Collection. At this stage, it focuses on school shoes - fans of Start-Rite may even recognise the styles as they are already proven best-sellers or from long-standing lines.
At this stage, the Collection consists of only a few styles but that’s because we want to get it right. This is our first attempt at anything in this market and we were determined to make a collection of shoes that comes with our hallmark high standards when it comes to testing, quality and style. The shoes have passed our trusted rigorous testing on factors such as surface abrasion and wet and dry flex testing in our on-site laboratory as well as in active wear trials.
What are the shoes made of?
Our new upper material mimics the natural characteristics of cowhide – it’s not just a synthetic, PU or textile substitute. It is lightweight, breathable and water resistant.
Can you guarantee the production process is Vegan friendly?
Yes, we have sought assurances that we are using a production line that is vegan friendly – even down to the glue we use.
Are the shoes more expensive than leather?
No, quite the opposite. Despite all the innovation that has gone into this collection, the price of our Vegan shoes is the same as their leather counterparts. So not only will customers struggle to tell the difference between our leather and Vegan shoes – they really do look and feel the same – but the price also won’t play a part in their decision-making. Being ethical doesn’t have to come at a price.
What does the future hold?
We will be adding further styles later in the year so watch this space!
Why don’t we have swing tags or a Vegan Society sticker?
Our collection of Vegan shoes meets all of the necessary criteria and pending on market reaction, we may look to get Vegan Society Certification in the future.
Where can customers buy the Vegan Collection?
The Vegan Collection is available to purchase on our website HERE