vegan shoes

A Letter to Modcloth from a Vegan in a Huff

modcloth founders (they look like they could be vegans)

Hi guys,

I have added some new shoes to my “cool vegan shoes” pinterest page. (which btw you can also see from a page on this site. How cool)

Thanks to two of my  awesome pinterest followers who alerted me that two shoes I put up from modcloth had leather linings. I immediately deleted them, and it was a good wake up call, as I was not being vigilant that night. I promise to be vigilant in the future.

It went down like this: Modcloth now has tags on their site. I was looking at a non leather shoe on their site and I saw the “faux leather” tag. I clicked on the tag, and a list of what I thought was “faux leather” shoes came up.

Wrong. These shoes are not “faux leather” but merely contain faux leather….many of them have leather too.

Modcloth has always disappointed me by being so unaware of vegans and vegan shoes. I assumed they had gotten with the times, and created this tag for vegans so they could search for vegan shoes…but no…they were just pointing out, seemingly, that these shoes were made of lesser quality materials so shoppers could avoid it. Asos does something similar where “real leather” shoes have a special tag proclaiming them REAL LEATHER, like this is a good thing…anyway.

I decided to do a little activism and write to modcloth giving them a piece of my mind. This was the exchange.

modcloth CEO

Dear modcloth,

As a vegan I am upset with the way certain shoes are labeled “faux leather” or “vegan friendly” yet have leather linings. For example, your ( shoe) fashionable focus shoe has a “faux leather” tag yet contains a leather lining.

This is very misleading for vegans who don’t think of leather or the skins of murdered animals to be a desirable thing to wear on their feet. I really wish you had a vegan shoe tab on your site instead of simply calling things the vague “vegan friendly” which somehow rubs me the wrong way, as well as took care to make sure shoes are really faux leather that you label as such.

Modcloth is a great company, but they are really lacking in compassion and knowledge about their vegan fanbase, and are really turning them off by mislabeling and misleading them. I wanted to let you guys know! Love you though, -Tor

I received the following response. I don’t mean to hurt this customer service rep’s feelings, but I don’t think this is an ideal customer service response. She seemed to try to point out where I was wrong (though in a cheery way), rather than understand and acknowledge the truth to what I am saying. Though what she says is correct and I am at fault for not having doublechecked, vegans are still being misled by modcloth by their “faux leather” tag.

The fact remains, modcloth does not and has never really understand the needs of their vegan customers, which I am sure are many.

the founders. they are dog lovers for sure

Her response:

Thanks for taking the time to write in to us! I’m terribly sorry that you felt mislead by the Fashionable Focus Heel! We try to be as transparent to our customers as possible when it comes to the composition of all of our products. I’ve checked on this specific piece to ensure that it was not mis-marked but I do see that we noted that the product was made of “faux leather, soft leather lining” in the story and then again in the details noted that the product had a “man-made upper and sole [with a] leather lining”.

I greatly apologize that this description didn’t sit quite well- but please know that we do have a plethora of vegan/synthetic products on the site! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled and let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns! Thank you again for your feedback Tor, I’ll be sure to make your voice heard!

I somewhat obnoxiously sent a follow up response because I did not feel she had understood my issue:

Thanks for your response. I know that you wrote that in the description, yet you have a tag for faux leather, and if someone were to click on that tag all the allegedly faux leather items would appear. This is what I did assuming it was a tag for vegans who were interested in faux leather shoes. Unfortunately the items that appear when you click on the tag are not “faux leather”, but only contain faux leather. Do you see why this is misleading for vegans? I’d love modcloth to become more vegan friendly and this is very misleading for vegans.

Yes, I know that was an annoying thing to say to try to hammer my point home, but I feel sad that modcloth has such a huge opportunity to support vegan shoes since they carry so many faux leather shoes. Yet they don’t have a separate tab on their site for vegan shoes, or even a “vegan” tag. The one tag they do have that could be helpful to vegans is instead extremely misleading and could cause vegans to buy shoes with leather linings or worse.

I know many young people are vegan these days and they seem like just the alternative-enough crowd who would shop at and enjoy modcloth. But modcloth remains blissfully unaware of them.

Modcloth does usually write in their long winded product descriptions that a shoe is “vegan friendly” if it is made with non leathers, but that term has never sat well with me. I’m not totally sure why. First, what does that even mean? Are they saying it is a vegan shoe? Or merely somehow friendly to vegans… it just doesn’t make sense. Again, they aren’t taking the needs of vegan customers seriously. Yet modcloth is one of the best places to find vegan shoes since they sell so many cheap and interesting styles of shoes.

I much prefer the term “suitable for vegetarians” over the undefinable “vegan friendly”

This is one of the reasons why it is so much nicer to support vegan shoe companies, like Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather, Cri de Coeur, and Beyond Skin (check out their kickstarter…only 6 days to go.) .

Is it just me of does “vegan friendly” rub you the wrong way? Do you think I was overly obnoxious to mod cloth? Or do you believe the customer is always right, (ha)? 


Deep Vegan Thoughts

Recently some people have been really annoying me about veganism.

I messaged someone on okcupid and he was like:

“I have to be honest. I don’t think I can date a vegan. Sorry.”


Hope he thinks back on that when his kids are in history class one day studying animal exploitation as a shameful and horrifying piece of world history and everyone is vegan by law.

Sometimes it feels I have created a little bubble for myself on the internet. I subscribe to so many awesome vegan people. But the outside world still acts shocked when you say you are vegan. It’s sort of offputting. I feel like…doesn’t everybody get it by now?

No they don’t. There are still so many people to convince.

So many people who think they NEED meat to thrive.

I took a class the other day with one of my pole dance heroes.

She was like, You have lost weight.  I told her excitedly I had changed my diet. I was like “It’s called fruitarianism. Have you heard of it?”

She hadn’t, and when I told her it was only fruit and vegetables, she started telling me how bad that was and how I would never put on muscle and I needed protein.

I got kind of flustered, because I didn’t want to argue with her, yet I was annoyed. I was way stronger than before and yet she was telling me it was a terrible diet.

What should I do? Go back to my old diet and be stuck in my progress like I was?

She told me she used to be vegan too but once she needed to become a professional athlete she stopped and started eating meat again…for protein.


The protein myth is so huge.

The problem is she IS the professional, incredibly fit athlete and I’m not. But I know there are a lot of incredible fruitarian and vegan athletes out there who made incredible progress in their fitness goals once they became vegan and then fruitarian. For example, Mike Arnstein, the Fruitarian who started WINNING marathons (like first place) once he became fruitarian. Serena Williams hasn’t lost a major tournament since she became a raw vegan.

Mike Arnstein, The Fruitarian

I’ve read so many articles and books explaining the research about protein, which shows we need far less than most people have been led to believe we do. But of course everyone knows we need protein.

Good job, marketers!

I know eating fresh fruits and vegetables has made the biggest improvements in my health so far over anything I have tried. I was eating a ton of cheese and yogurt and beans and common “protein” sources for years.

I’m getting so much stronger.

It is frustrating though when everyone tells you it’s terrible, even though it’s working.

I think it’s one of those things where nobody cares about your diet until you start winning marathons like Mike Arnstein, The Fruitarian on youtube, or looking like Freelea the Banana Girl or losing 100 pounds like Melissa, Get Your Fruit On.

This is working for me like nothing else ever has.

As for ethical veganism, sometimes I feel I have lost  touch with normal life. Is there really an animal holocaust going on?

Sometimes I need to double check that what I’ve seen is real.

I go to Toronto Pig Save’s Facebook and look at their photographs of pigs in the trucks and look into their eyes.

Those pigs are all dead now. Murdered. Cattle cars…still in use. It’s the holocaust out there for animals. It’s a war against them that they can’t fight.

If people would simply look at a Toronto Pig Save video, those same meat eaters would be shaking in their boots.

The problem is no one wants to look. I couldn’t even look at their last video which went viral. The caption said the pigs were screaming in the trucks.

I have heard pigs screaming once, and it was enough. It shakes you. It reminded me of a part in one of my favorite book’s The Princess Bride where the count says “Do you hear that? That is the sound of ultimate suffering.”

It’s in the movie too. But of course the scream although haunting is not the sound of ultimate suffering. That sound is something you could only hear if you listened to someone actually, in real life, experiencing ultimate suffering.

The pigs who were witnessing, hearing and smelling their friends be murdered and boiled alive….they understood ultimate suffering.

this was the mildest of pig slaughterhouse images I could find. Google image pig slaughterhouse.

Veganism is so not what people think it is.

It saddens me that people don’t truly get it.


I think it is because they haven’t seen it with their own eyes.

But further, that they don’t understand that animals are like them in that they are conscious, have lives and families, suffer, understand, have personalities, and feel horror at being murdered.

I have heard there is this island in the bahamas where pigs live free. It’s called Pig Island.

They swim in the clear blue waters and hang out on the beach.

They have big ears that look like wings. They chill with their families. It’s an uninhabited island so no one bothers them. But I think you can visit.


The lucky ones.