Are Vans Vegan? Yes, Some Are.

I googled this query about Vans last night as I need a pair of some cool walking around sneakers.

Vans are the ones I want.

I like Vans because they signal to me visions of California, which is kind of like a fantasy for me, bringing to mind the extreme cool of the documentary I recently netflix instant-watched Dogtown and Z Boys— a highly recommended, awesome movie.

Were they wearing Vans as they made up an entirely new sport, and illegally skated in empty swimming pools? Probably.

But are Vans vegan? There is a lot of controversy on the internet about this.

They look vegan, being made out of plastic and canvas, but some have an unnoticeable leather trim or are made altogether from leather, so the jury was out.

Well, I  wrote to Vans Customer Service last night to settle the matter once and for all.

They told me:

Hello Victoria,

We proudly offer the following Vegan styles through our online shop

Classic Authentic Canvas
Classic Slip-on Canvas
Classic Zapato Del Barco Canvas
Custom Slip-on, Era & 106 Vulcanized (the Custom Old Skool is NOT vegan)
Era “Parra” – Limited Edition
Go Green Collection (Organic Canvas Styles) – Limited Edition
Old Skool Vegan (only if it states Vegan)
Rowley “Stripes” – (Synthetic Only) – Limited Edition
Sk8-Hi (True White)

Please note, we constantly refresh our styles, and unfortunately do not
maintain any inventory for items from past seasons.  If you see something
you like we suggest buying it now since we cannot guarantee that we are
able to make more.

So now we all know.

And now:

Here are my picks for the coolest vegan vans:

classic vans authentic: $42. Comes in a wide array of colors.

Classic Authentic slipons— $42. millions of colors and patterns. but of course the classic is checkerboard.

Custom Slip-on, Era & 106 Vulcanized (the Custom Old Skool is NOT vegan). Customize your own– totally awesome!!

Go Green Collection (Organic Canvas Styles) – Limited Edition

I will be adding Vans, with a link to this post, to my article “Where To Find Cool Vegan Shoes Online” for a good place to find cool laid back sneakers!

Tell me what you think of Vans? Would you customize or go checkerboard or just plain white? And have you see Dogtown and Z Boys?


  1. Daniel says:

    Thank you so much for this post!

  2. Kia says:

    Vegan Vans !! What more could you want?! :)

  3. Can you please delete this? Don’t know why that weird username came up above…. Thank you!

  4. Jacob says:

    Last I understood (being a Vegan and all), Veganism isn’t about slavishly avoiding animal products only. It’s about not contributing to the suffering of other sentient life in general. Given that: You should ask what their canvas is made of (cotton, linen, etc.?), where the company got that canvas if Vans didn’t make it themselves and how that canvas was made (possible inhuman labor conditions?) and how the materials that compose the canvas were produced (organic?).
    “I like Vans because they signal to me visions of California,” except that Vans aren’t produced in California anymore, which means that they MAY be produced through the utilization of labor under inhumane conditions, like I said above. “They look vegan, being made out of plastic and canvas,” except that plastic is a non-biodegradable substance; I’ve already covered canvas. Being non-biodegradable, it contributes to the destruction of the environment, destroying ecosystems (meaning NOT VEGAN) and the land that we utilize to cultivate resources.
    If you were a good vegan, you’d also be worried about the “rubber” soles. Being that they aren’t actually rubber, their production possibly requires the creation of chemical waste, which is either disposed of on land or in the water, again contributing to the death of ecosystems. Hard mode: What are the dyes they use to color the shoes? What are they composed of and how is the dye produced? Very Hard mode: V.F. corporation, the group that owns Vans, owns other companies that produces other, non-vegan things and by buying Vans, you essentially give money to a company that owns a company that makes non-vegan shoes. SO, essentially, you’re still buying non-vegan shoes. This one is kind of sketchy, because one could argue that buyer demand creates initiative among the company to produce more Vans, a “vegan” shoe, rather than other non-vegan products, but that isn’t a very strong argument. This argument also applies to Vans itself and not just the larger V.F. Corporation. One could argue that by buying Vans’ canvas options instead of the options that have leather creates initiative to produce more of those “vegan” options (which aren’t even Vegan, as I argue above) and less of the non-vegan options (which is ALL OF THEIR SHOES). My conclusion is that Vans are not vegan, at all. None of them.
    Think before you consume. Being a Vegan is about caring for life, from start to finish. Just because you don’t directly contribute to the suffering of sentient life because you avoid buying animal products and leather doesn’t mean that you don’t contribute in other, indirect, ways.

    • marthaflatley says:

      Interesting points Jacob. I like how you define being a vegan as caring about life from start to finish. I never thought about it that way. I always thought about veganism using the philosophy of PETA: Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any way”. So I usually only look for those things when buying stuff. I agree–vans is probably not an ideal company. They don’t even specify they are vegan so I don’t think they’re great. However, you might be interested in something I once read. hmm let me find it…Ok it’s long. it is called the derailing technique from the blog It’s from a post called “plenty of problems to pick from”. The gist is that we don’t have to fix everything…we can choose to be an activist for 1 thing we care about and help out in that way. She says “I hope that you will not be dissuaded by those who try to tell you that your best isn’t good enough or that your problem isn’t big enough. It’s nobody’s job to address every problem that exists – none of us can do everything, but everyone who wants to can do something.” The whole post is really good. That being said I admire your comittment to do as much as possible for ending suffering. That is awesome. I am glad you commented on this, so others reading the discussion in the comments will be able to decide whether Vans is enough of a vegan shoe for them to want to wear.

      blog post excerpted below:

      One of the things about the interview that stuck out to me was a reminder about the derailing technique that people use when they say that you shouldn’t work on this problem because there are other problems. This happened a number of times in the segment and it’s something that happens to almost anyone who tries to make a change in the world or address a problem. People who do animal rescue are chided that they could be helping people. People who help starving adults are chided that they could help starving children. As I said in the segment, the fact that there are other problems does not negate the fact that this thing is also a problem. This is an extension of what I call “never enough” activism – the idea that no matter what you do it will never be good enough. In this version we are told that we shouldn’t try to solve a problem that we are passionate about because there are other, bigger problems in the world. This goes wrong because if we decide that we are all only going to work on the biggest problem, then what will actually happen is that we will spend all of our time arguing about what the biggest problem is. Also, let’s remember that the “bigger problems” may well be bigger because people were told that they shouldn’t bother to address them when they were small.

      I’m telling you this by way of saying that I hope that if you want to get involved with activism you will pick a change, or a problem, that you are passionate about and work on that, whether by leading work or joining work. I hope that you will not be dissuaded by those who try to tell you that your best isn’t good enough or that your problem isn’t big enough. It’s nobody’s job to address every problem that exists – none of us can do everything, but everyone who wants to can do something.

      “Plenty of Problems to Pick From” from

      • Anna says:

        That was an awesome response. @marthaflatley. I may steal that argument when people chide me for supposedly “not doing enough” to help end the things wrong int this world!

        • admin says:

          thank you Anna. I just reread and i’m like DAMN that was a good response LOL. I hope it will help you in the future to fend off others who try to use the derailing technique against you! Please do steal. xoxo

  5. Casey Penk says:

    Thank you very much for doing this research. Very helpful.

    • marthaflatley says:

      you are very welcome. I appreciate you taking the time to comment and express your thoughts! It is what I live for–not literally, but I love it! Will you buy a pair of vans?

  6. MJ says:

    Here is an updated version (since the original post was from 2011):

    Many styles within our Classic Collection are Vegan-Friendly. Here are some examples:

    Classic Authentic (Canvas Only)
    Classic Era (Canvas Only)
    Classic Slip-on (Canvas Only)
    Classic Zapato Del Barco (Canvas Only)
    Zapato Lo Pro (Canvas Only)
    Classic 106 Vulc (Canvas Only)
    KVD (Canvas Only)

    Custom Slip-on, Era & 106 Vulcanized (the Custom Old Skool is NOT vegan)

    Old Skool Vegan (only if it states Vegan)
    Sk8-Hi (True White colorway Only)
    Rowley 99’s – (Black/Synthetic Only) – Limited Edition

    We may have additional styles available that would be Vegan-Friendly. If you’re interested in a specific style not listed here, feel free to contact one of our Service Specialists. Also please note, we constantly refresh our styles & colorways, and unfortunately do not maintain any inventory for items from past seasons. If you see something you like we suggest buying it now since we can’t guarantee that we’ll have more in the future.

  7. Helen says:

    I’m so confused. I ordered a pair of ladies old skool shoes (the Stars (dress blues/true white) design) from Vans UK site as the website description listed the upper as “canvas.” The shoes arrived and the tag also lists the upper as “canvas.” No mention of leather at all. But the side stripe looks, feels and smells like leather. So I emailed customer services asking what the stripe is made of and got this response:

    “Thank you for contacting Vans E-Commerce Customer Care

    It is with my regret to inform you that we unfortunately don’t produce Vegan shoes as of yet. I myself hope for this in the near future.

    Thank you for your query and bringing this to light for us, it’s something I’ll put forward as an idea.

    Should you have any questions and/or remarks please feel free to contact us.”

    When I emailed back asking for confirmation of exactly what the stripe is made of, I got this response:

    “I regret again to tell you that the strap on the shoe is either genuine leather or a leather prototype, I am very sorry for this.

    I know it is a huge pain finding shoes that are made in an ethical manner, it is something I will put forward to marketing as we should definitely expand in that way so vegan shoe lovers can enjoy them also.”

    I’ve never known a shoe with leather on it not list it as a component on the tag! And now I have to send them back. But my biggest concern is the statement that NONE of their shoes are vegan?!

    • admin says:

      WTF? first of all, Wow thank you for alerting me to this. This is one of the most popular articles on the site. So if the claim…some vans are vegan…is not true…I definitely have to look into it and update the article.

      However I have a hunch this customer service person doesn’t know what she is talking about because I have vans I recently bought and confirmed with the “chat with customer service” people on their site that it was vegan. The shoes I have definitely don’t seem to have leather on them. When they say they don’t have vegan shoes yet….they might not totally understand what vegan shoes are. Because I think they do have some unintentionally vegan ones but are probably unaware of which ones they are. I think they are totally stupid for not having a vegan section on their site. Companies need to get on it!

      Also, I myself have had the same problem where I bought a shoe whose description said all man made materials or whatnot and when I got it home, the shoe itself said it had leather in it. It was sooo frustrating to have to send it back. Sometimes the materials description is misleading for sure…when I suspect it is because looking at the shoe there seems to be a leather like thing on it…I chat with customer service or google it to see if any other store lists it with a different material description.

      Well I’m so sorry you had to send the shoes back and deal with that. Also, I’m confused now. I really think this customer service person just doesn’t understand, though it is cool she is so sympathetic to vegan customers. What to do… I will have to write them a letter too.

      Thank you for this informative comment!!!

      • Helen says:

        I contacted vanshelp on twitter and they were rather dismayed to hear that i’d been told they don’t produce vegan shoes. They asked for my email address and sent me out the same information as MJ commented with last month.

        The stripe on my new old skools is indeed suede and I will be sending the shoes back tomorrow. At least now I have an up-to-date list to consult!

        It’s seriously baffling to me though. No mention of suede on the website OR the tag attached to the shoe!

        • admin says:

          Very baffling. Thank you for contacting them on twitter and updating me. Shoe companies really need to figure this out as more and more vegans are being made every day. I chatted with the vans online chat people today and asked them about whether a shoe was vegan that appeared to be canvas with a leather like stripe…they said it was vegan. I hope they are right. This is a great thread. Hope the vans people see it and officially comment.

      • Emanuell says:

        Macbeth is a good brand of shoes that makes vegan shoes.

  8. Desiree says:

    The Vegan vans listed on vans website ARE NOT vegan. The strip is leather. I have confirmed this with 3 different vans and emailed headquarters. I only know this because I ordered a pair of “all canvas” vans and when I got them, they had a LEATHER side stripe. – which vans confirmed was real leather. When I asked them how they could say their listed old skool vegan vans could be vegan when they had the same side stripe. They said they would check in this and then later emailed me saying, “thank you for brining this to their attention” I asked that they remove the shoe, well- it’s been months and they still have it listed as their vegan shoe.

  9. Karl says:

    All of this information is really helpful, I was trying to find out what the stripe on the old skools is made of, won’t be picking them up now. Thanks for everyone’s input.

    • admin says:

      old skools–i believe on most all of them it is suede unfortunately! I have the white old skool high tops though and on that one the stripe is canvas. I believe that is the only non leather one.

  10. Rachel says:

    This is super helpful. Thanks for your post!

  11. Samantha says:

    Vans does not condone inhumane labor. Shoes ARE still made in California and China. Everyone is China is paid at the full price on pay and receive benefits. As an employee there I can speak for this knowledge as I have reached out to my Regionals. As far as vegan shoes… they have yet to start that. :(

  12. Surname William says:

    Not doin too many more comments on this right now. Tried to get them out there so everyone had some to study with. Here is Biblical Vegan shoe and clothing.

    Washing of the Feet

    (Matthew 22:1-14)
    (Isaiah 20:2-6) (Judges 14:12-20)

    Washing the feet is the hardest part of a Vegan garment. Vegan shoes are not as easy to get as other Vegan clothing.
    (John 13:1-11, 21:10-24)

    The bloody garment of Esau & Edom “eat them,” of the slain animals of the world. (Genesis 25:22-34) (Isaiah 63:1-19)
    (1 Maccabees 1:28) (Obadiah 1:1-21) (Haggai 2:12-19)

    The Gnostic book called The Interpretation of Knowledge says; Enter through the rib whence you came and hide yourself from the beasts. The burden that you bear now [is] not yours. Whenever [you (fem.)] go […] from his glory […] from the first. From [being counted] with the female, sleep [brought labor] and the [Sabbath]which [is the] world. For [from being] counted with the Father, sleep brought [the Sabbath] and [the exodus] from the [world of the beasts] For the [world] is from [beasts] and it is a [beast]. Therefore [he] that is lost [has been reckoned to the] crafty one, and [that one] is from [the beasts] that came forth. They put upon [him a] garment of condemnation, for the female [had no] other garment for clothing] her seed except the one she first brought on the Sabbath.” (Genesis 3:7) (John 1:47-51) Man falls for woman, so that he can be with her. In the days of old, he sinned for her, and we teach him not to. Textile and wool are of animals. (Zechariah 13:1-9)

    Have some herbs with your food, and some fruit, as it is pleasing to the LORD that meat is not used. Eat grain instead of an beast or fowl. Have some wheat, or some corn instead of eating an ox. Have some oats instead of a horse, and some rye bread instead of some fowl or swine, or any other beast. I would rather eat barley rather than any animal. (D&C 89:10-21) (Revelation 6: 5-6) To a land flowing with the Honey of Wisdom, and Almond Milk. (Exodus 3:8) (Revelation 3:16-18) (Leviticus 20:22-27) (Deuteronomy 26:9-19) (1Corinthians 3:2) (Hebrews 5:12-14) (1 Peter 2:2) (D&C 19:20-24, 38:16-18) And peanuts for butter. (D&C 49:18)

    (Revelation 3:4-5, 6:11) (Ecclesiastes 9:8)
    Hot Drinks means hot tempered spirit; keep adrenalin off the heart. The Gnostic book called The Sentences of Sextus says; “(346) Say with [your] mind that the body [is] the garment of your soul, keep it, therefore, pure since it is innocent.” (Job 37:16-18)

    (2 Nephi 5:21) (3 Nephi 2:15-16, 4:7) (Doctrine & Covenants 89:3-9)

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