To a skateboarder, shoes are like gloves to a sculptor’s hands. No other clothing component is more important to a skateboarder. Skaters’ feet are the connection to their craft – the art of how they skateboard. Skating in a shoe that is too padded and bulky, is like trying to grab detailed things with a mitten on. Skating in a shoe that is too thin, is like wearing a rubber glove to protect one’s self from the elements, or to grab that hot vegan dinner you have in the oven – you’re going to get burned, and you’re going to feel it too much. Then there’s the dreaded cupsole vs. vulc shoe battle – it just never ends! So just how how do we compromise? And how do vegan skateboarders fit into this equation? Through my next few blog posts I may be able to help you find those answers… but first, we must ask another more serious and important question:
Why are todays vegan skate shoes so expensive?
Do you ever wonder why a canvas skate shoe cost the same or more than a shoe made out of leather? It’s like getting a Veggie Delite at Subway for the same price as the next guy’s cold cut sub that has the same amount of veggies on it. You’re paying the same price for something that has meat, when there is no meat in yours at all! You’re basically paying for a condiment sandwich. In todays skate shoe world with canvas or synthetic shoes vs. leather shoes, you are paying for a condiment on your feet, as most all skate shoes have canvas or syn. textiles in them anyways – on the inside or outside. So the question here is, why?
Are the corporate companies trying to target the same stereotypical vegan consumers they think we all are? The fallacy in todays society is that being vegan and buying solely organic is expensive, so a vegan must have a good income to afford to eat and live that way. But this is not the case for alot of us, especially us skateboarders. We are usually the starving artists, and I mean literally, starving! In today’s economy and struggling way of life many of us skaters cannot afford to go out and spend more than about $30-$50 on a skate shoe, and no more than maybe twice a year for those of us on a fixed income. This can be a big problem as skate shoes are being made to be destroyed and disposed of quickly, making way for another pair to be purchased. The skateboarding shoe industry is evil in that way – but afterall, today’s skateboarding world is mostly now a corporate business, so what else do we expect?
It is much like chewing gum. If gum never lost it’s flavor, how would any gum company stay in business? Nobody would need to buy a second pack! This same very idea applies to today’s disposable skate shoe world. There are canvas and/or synthetic vegan skate shoes out there ranging in average from $70-$120. This is very sad when they are just made from a few dollars or cents in canvas fabric, glue and some brittle, non abrasion resistant rubber, so why so much? Seeing these expensive vegan skate shoes that companies are making, makes me feel like I am shopping at a Whole Foods, and reminds me why – as an organic vegan on a small budget – I don’t shop there, nor could I afford to. So what can a vegan skater do on a tight budget? Where do we turn?
As alot of us know, skating in the less expensive canvas vegan skate shoes like Chuck Taylors, Vans Eras and Authentics can be a costly and foot-murdering affair in the long run, as those shoes don’t last skaters very long, and with today’s style of skating, they can really make your feet hurt really fast. I have been skating in vegan skate shoes longer than I have actually been a vegan, and honestly, I can say no single shoe company has gotten the design right yet: an inexpensive, durable, and comfortable skate shoe. Nobody! It’s a fact.
I’ve been wearing skate shoes for 25 years. I’ve seen it all, worn it all, and destroyed them all. From the wacky 80’s Airwalk days, the 90’s tech moon shoes, through the poorly-designed vegan synthetic shoes of the early 2000s, and up to the ever-growing, money-making schemes of the skateboarding shoe industry in the present day. In all that I’ve seen through the years, I’ve noticed this one thing more than anything – the quality has gone down and the cost has gone up.
If I had the finances and ways and means to design a cruelty-free, durable, comfortable, and affordable vegan skate shoe, I would do it in a second! From my own personal experiences, understanding and communicating with other skaters over the last almost 3 decades, I think I know what works, what can work, and what doesn’t work in a skate shoe. (For example – putting stitching anywhere on the toes of shoes or anywhere around the ollie or flip areas is the most money-making design conspiracy in skateboarding, and always has been – but we will talk about this and other design flaws in skate shoes and specifically vegan skate shoes more in the future).
In closing for my first post here on Vegan Kicks, and until I find a way to create my own “ultimate vegan skate shoe”, I’d like to share some links to a few of the more durable and affordable vegan skate shoes available today, that I have searched long & hard to find the best deals on. These sale shoes are all around $40 or under. And if you’re wondering why there are less and less vegan Pro-model skate shoes on the market, be sure to check out this article from Transworld:
Transworld Skateboarding Feb. 2003 “SOLES WITHOUT SOULS” –
Links to a few of the more durable, somewhat affordable Vegan skate shoes on Sale right now –
- Macbeth Pendleton: Black/White
- Macbeth Hensley: Dark Grey/White
- Habitat Guru Hi
- Fallen Forte
- Globe Motley Mid
- MOVMT Sworty
- MOVMT Flanny
- Vans Sk8 Hi
- Etnies Jameson 2 Mid Eco
Archive photos used in this posting are from various places on the web including Skately.com, if one of your photos has been used above and you would like photo credit please let Vegan Kicks know.