We go a real treat for you today. A lot of you may already be familiar with Wills Vegan Shoes, and we’ve been big fans since its inception in 2013. It was just what we were looking for: dope vegan shoes, made fair trade, and offered at a very reasonable price. We’ve watched excitedly as they grew – it seems like they add new styles on a weekly basis. We were also lucky enough to get our hands a few pairs, and we were not disappointed. So we are very excited to share an interview with Will Green, the founder of (the eponymous) Wills Vegan Shoes. Plus, check out some of our picks, all in black!
Vegan Kicks: tell us about the story of Wills. How did it come about? What was your inspiration for starting the company?
Will Green: I started Wills with a passion to provide animal and human friendly shoes with high-street styles and prices. My dream is to bridge the gap between everyday people and ethically produced vegan shoes. No matter who you are or where you’re going in life, Wills are there for when you want to make a Positive Choice.
I am lucky. I was brought up in a vegetarian household. I grew up on fresh wholefoods – I did not really appreciate my life when I was younger (I just wanted chips!) but I certainly do now. I am healthy and understand we should live with animals – not against them. It is thanks to the information and support from the Vegan Society UK and Animal Aid that I was introduced to and appreciated veganism. I decided to be vegan in October 2012. I think it is something everyone should try – as soon as you do – you develop a new perspective on life that is so humane, so positive.
My dream is to bridge the gap between everyday people and ethically produced vegan shoes.
For me making vegan shoes is like a natural combination of my life. Everything came together whilst working for another vegan shoe company. People kept telling me how hard it was to buy fashionable and affordable ethical shoes. I knew what the steps were to make my own vegan shoes so took the leap and started Wills in Spring 2013.
VK: we are excited that your entire line is vegan. Can you tell us about some of the animal friendly materials you use in some of your shoes? What about the glues?
WG: A vegan shoe does not use any materials that are from an animal. A standard pair of shoes uses leather or suede for the upper – and often can have animal derived soles, heels, glues and edging. A good vegan shoe swaps this with microfiber and other synthetic materials.
Microfiber is a man-made material that is comprised from a very fine mesh of individual fibers. High quality microfiber can be made to have the same look and feel of leather or suede – you will not tell the difference. You will also not tell the difference in wear – microfiber is water resistant, breathable and because it is a weave of fibers – and has some “give” so will fit to your foot shape and gait.
VK: can you clarify the labor policies of the factories that manufacture your shoes?
WG: I do not want anything to be harmed for the sake of my shoes therefore I only use vegan materials and make my shoes in Portugal in factories hand-picked for the quality of production and working conditions.
VK: we noticed you are adding a lot of sneaker models which we are all about. Is that the direction you are headed in, or do you see Wills offering primarily casual shoes?
WG: Wills as a shoe brand is a little different from others. With other shoe brands people want the shoes. With Wills people need them – because they cannot buy them anywhere else. For this reason I make sure I provide a service to my customers – and have all the key styles for the season that people need in their wardrobe. You can expect more sneakers – but also more casuals – smarts and more accessories. Basically expect a lot!
VK: where can we get some?
Delivery is free on your first pair with voucher code IHEARTSHOES returns & exchanges are always free.
WG: Right now you can get my full range at Wills Vegan Shoes. Delivery is free on your first pair with voucher code IHEARTSHOES. Returns & exchanges are always free. Exchanges are also sent out as soon as you make a request – so there is no waiting around for shoes to be swapped over. You can also find my shoes in Vegan Chic, Sudo Shoes, Nice Shoes, Compassionate Closet and Back to Earth Apparel.
VK: If we could get jut one pair of shoes from Wills, which one should it be?
WG: My Work Boots in chestnut for how good they look – and how good they wear. They are made with burnished chestnut Italian microfiber that has such a nice texture and luster. I have worn my pair for 9 months now and love the way they have aged. The upper has become so soft and has molded to my foot and ankle. They are like a part of me – they are so comfortable. I am very attached to them!