My love of brogues is a relatively recent affair. I was somewhat late to the brogue ball, believing for some time that closed-in shoes made my legs look really fat. Thankfully, one day I decided that I just didn’t care and bought a lovely tan pair from Office (in the sale, obviously). Oh how I loved them! They were probably my favourite pair of shoes of all time. They went with everything. And they had a big chunky heel that made me feel like a proper grown up. Sadly, after wearing them non-stop for about two years, they started to look less than fabulous. The sole was coming away, the toes were scuffed, and I knew it was time to say goodbye (sob).
The hunt for a new pair began. This time though, I was looking for something different. Something not made of animals…
For those unfamiliar with the vegetarian/vegan shoe market let me enlighten you. Choice is limited. Cost is high. A great deal of the shoes are wholly disgusting. I spent many, many hours online, looking for the perfect vegan brogues. It was hard. Mostly because the ones I really wanted, I just couldn’t afford.
When I discovered Beyond Skin, I was conflicted. I adored many of the shoes but I also felt completely priced out; everything was upwards of £100. But then I fell in love. With a shining silver pair of beautiful brogues. I lusted after them. I even dreamt about them. But they were £135 and that’s just too much for me. Still, I kept revisiting the website, crossing my fingers for a sale. Or some kind of glitch which affected the cost of all the shoes…
January came. A sale! Rejoice! Sadly, those silver beauties weren’t included. But there were some brogues. Black ones. I’ve never been crazy about black shoes. They remind me of being at school. But I was worried that I would never find another pair of vegan brogues at such good price. So I went for it.
The verdict? I love them. Looks wise, they are classic and easy to wear. They are also just the right level of shiny – fun but not seven-year-old child silly. I’m happy to say that they’re also really comfy. After the first day I was a bit worried as they were really rubbing. Luckily this proved just to be a new-shoe thing. A couple of wears later they felt just as good as my faithful departed pair.
So are they worth the money? Well, I suppose it depends what price you put on ethical production. Beyond Skin create shoes which are approved by PETA, so wearers can feel confident that no animals were harmed anywhere in the production line. They are also committed to using cutting edge, eco friendly fabrics and ensuring that their workers are treated and paid fairly. To me, that’s worth paying more than I perhaps might on the high street. It’s also worth considering the fact that moving away from fast fashion means that rather than buying several pairs of cheaper shoes this year (apparently the ‘average’ British woman buys 7), I may not purchase any others at all. So arguably the cost balances out.
That said, I’m still on the look out for an exact vegan replacement of my beloved tan brogues. If you spot them, please alert me immediately!