Vegan fashion reports often begin by saying that a typical
vegan shoe isn't fashionable, and that an enthusiast has promoted
some wonderful line of fashionable high heel womens shoes to
show what can be done to put things right. Recently the range
available has got better, with shoes made in the UK or Europe,
but the starting-point of trying to produce "fashion"
often produces things that not many people wear; it's a word
that suggests the parts of shoe choice that are hard to pin-down,
with an emphasis on what changes or what's different. Looking
at a typical London tube train or a queue at a bus stop, it's
rare to see anyone bother with high heels and a wholesaler that
sells all sorts of shoes sell less court shoes each year. We
know because there used to be a lot of plastic-top UK-made vegan
court shoes made by E Sutton and RSS Edge, using a mesh lining
to promote air circulation and offering a range of tops and heel
heights. For a while, Veganline.com stocked most of the ones
available through one wholesaler and topped-up supplies every
month or two, so we got an idea of what sells and it is generally
shoes for people who have been pressured to wear these uncomfortable
things for work. One dark blue pair went to a Royal Navy officer.
So it's a problem that vegan court shoes are made in a huge range
of inspired styles, but that the customers are a shrinking group
of people who don't much want to wear them.
A second problem for vegan womens fashion shoes is that when
the promoters discover what a niche market it is, they tend to
go up-market. It's hard to do anything else when using European
manufacturers. Looking for upmarket customers, they tend to try
and sell through upmarket boutiques and pay for PR in upmarket
magazines, hoping that they can make 50% markup plus tax for
the person who gets the shoes made and 50% plus tax for the shop.
The result is a snazzy shoe selling to very few people.
Veganline.com hasn't done any better - producing this run-of-the-mill
shoe with a special slightly loose absorbent lining , a comfortable
one inch heel, and a rubber sole under the front. It isn't anything
that anyone would notice, but if you are under pressure to wear
court shoes, it could be the best option. One day we hope to
have more designs and we're happy to work with anyone who wants
to do the same. Meanwhile, please note that safety toe cap versions
of the shoe are available if anyone wants a couple of dozen pairs
and is willing to wait a few months, and that the rubber sole
is marked "anti-static". So this is probably quite
a strong shoe.