Shoe Glue

Recently, a lot of you have been asking us what the deal is with glues in shoes.  We were embarrassed to say that despite blogging about this for years, we didn’t know the answer.  We were just asking companies if they used animals in their glues without ever wondering what they were actually made out of.  And when we asked them, they were never forthcoming about it.  Well we finally reached out to PETA, a more-than-credible source on this issue, and we got a great answer.  We thought we would share their explanation with us; we hope that this information is helpful for you in your future purchases.

Note that we have also provided a handy link over here in top navigation bar.

Animal proteins like casein from milk or collagen from flesh, bones, skins, tendons, ligaments, and other body parts are used to make animal-based glues. To extract collagen from tissue, animal parts are cleaned, softened, and boiled in water to create a stock.  The stock is concentrated and impurities are removed.  Essentially the same process has been used for thousands of years to make glue. 

The use of animal ingredients in industrial glues is increasingly uncommon since a large variety of synthetic adhesives now exist, each with different applications.  These adhesives are often chosen over animal based glues because they can be produced at a constant rate and to meet specific manufacturing standards.  Synthetic adhesives can be customized to perform well for a business’s specific application and manufacturers may be hesitant to reveal trade secrets about what exactly is in their adhesives.

We encourage you to contact shoe companies directly about the type of adhesives they use. In doing so, you will be showing these companies that there is a demand for more animal-friendly materials and, ultimately, helping to change the industry. You might also consider writing to vegan shoe companies to find out what specific synthetic glues are being used and why they were selected.  Companies expect to hear from organizations like PETA, but when they hear from their customers, it sends an even stronger message—that cruelty to animals is bad for business and won’t be tolerated.

Please feel free to comment to this post, email us (, or fill out a contact form in our About section if you have any further questions or comments.  Thank you!

2 thoughts on “Shoe Glue”

  1. The only real potential animal-derived ingredient in shoe adhesives for synthetic, fabric, or rubber shoe materials, is stearic acid. It’s used in the making of rubber cement. I’m not sure on the exact technical details, but it’s somehow used in the making of rubber cement, and can be animal or plant derived.

    As far as I’ve been able to gather from all of the shoe companies I’ve talked to about it, this is the one ingredient that they are unsure about. Glue manufacturers might not even be certain where a particular batch of stearic acid came from, since they may have multiple suppliers.

  2. Glenn, thanks very much for that contribution. We had no clue about stearic acid. While it’s good to know, it’s yet another complicating factor. Do you know if vegan shoe companies have taken this into account?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.