Category Archives: Highlights

Earth Day 2012

Hey everyone, hope everyone is having an awesome Earth Day 2012!  We made it another year, so things aren’t that bad right?  Apart from all the wildfires, floods, hurricanes, droughts, and tornadoes, things are going to be okay, yeah?  Heh heh (cough)… eh.  Well, I am sitting very still in my room, doing as little as I can to negatively impact the environment beyond exhaling carbon dioxide into the surrounding environs.  Oh, wait, I am on a computer right now.  Damnit.

I don’t know about you guys, but it is really easy for me, when I start thinking about environmental problems, to go down the rabbit hole of increasingly negative thoughts until arriving at a state of despair.  But, it is Earth Day and it’s important for me not to be a downer.  Actually, one thing that is very encouraging is the existence of this blog, as well as that of you, the audience.  To think that people actually care about animals not to eat them and buy products that exclude animal products is very cool.  And whether you realize this or not, you are doing the environmentally responsible thing.  Consider this – more greenhouse gas emissions come from raising farm animals for food than all the planes, ships, trucks, cars (all forms of fossil fuel based transportation) on the planet combined!  This is such an insane statistic I will link to some articles here, here, and here in case you doubt me.  Don’t forget all the air and water pollution, rainforests cleared to make way for grazing, and the grain that is used to fatten these animals up that can be used to feed way more people.

Continue reading Earth Day 2012

Winter Boots 2011

This post is long overdue, considering we are already past Thanksgiving here in the States.  Under normal weather conditions, the air is hovering near freezing and the ground is hardening.  Cold rain falls, sometime turning into ice and sleet.  You could wake up to snow on any given day.  But this year has been unusually warm, at least out here in mid-Atlantic.  Aside from one freak snow storm, this fall has been mild and forgiving.  But that doesn’t mean the next few months won’t be nasty, wet and cold.  Of course, none of this applies to my friends living in colder climes.  You guys have to deal with way more shitty weather than us.  So this one is for all yall.

Being an inhabitant of a large city (without access to a personal automobile), one is keenly aware of daily weather conditions.  An unforeseen rain storm can leave you drenched, an unexpected cold front will leave you shivering.  Needless to say, we city dwellers, who actually have to walk and be exposed to the elements, are hypersensitive to the needs of our feet.  When the winter comes, we would like to keep them warm and dry.  As a child of the suburbs, I never bought or wore boots.  I somehow got away with wearing sneakers always.  Maybe that’s because I was a dense child, but when you have a car that can take you right to where you need to go, you don’t have to worry about being exposed for prolonged periods of time.

What I’m trying to get at is that a solid, warm, water-resistant (and of course stylish) boot is essential to any person’s shoe collection.  For your average person, getting a pair is as easy as going to your local sporting good store, or clicking a few times on Zappos.  For us, who are trying to abstain from leather and other animal products, this proves a more difficult task.  Now mind you, when I say difficult I don’t mean impossible, or even frustrating.  No, I mean difficult like there are so many great looking leather boots that it’s hard to resist buying a pair!

But do not fear.  Before you I present several stylish and functional alternatives to the leather boot paradigm.  Some are made by known vegan brands.  The others are not in that group but offer up alternative materials in common molds which would commonly use leather.

Click to see the shoes, I mean boots!

Continue reading Winter Boots 2011

A New Year Wish for Toms Shoes

Dear Toms:

I want to start off this letter by saying: respect.  I think what you’re doing is amazing.  You’ve managed to turn some unremarkable, overpriced slipper-like shoe products into an exemplar of social entrepreneurship.  Your “One for One” campaign?  Brilliant.  Us fortunate ones take shoes for granted, so a lot of us don’t even know that these kids don’t have shoes to wear.  How awful must that feel to go barefoot?  And your solution to help them is so elegant, so simple.  We buy a pair, you donate a pair To me, your company is more effective and salient in serving basic needs of people, unlike some of your precursors like One Laptop Per Child.  And, you are the blueprint of other ambitious social entrepreneurs such as Warby Parker. I applaud you and I wish you the best of luck.

But I have one message to you, and I hope you take this seriously: don’t sleep on the vegans.  Your message is one of compassion, yet you have quite an anemic selection of vegan shoes.  I personally love your new styles (boots, and those that have actual laces).  But THEY ARE NOT VEGAN.  Curiously, you refrain from using leather on the outside, but… the insoles are made of suede!  Surely there has to be a reason for that, but I cannot think of a good one.  You are not ignorant to the plight of animals, as reflected by the outright labeling of your vegan shoes.  You are also not unaware of your customer base, as many people who embraced your style and your mission were free-thinking people likely sympathetic to veganism/vegetarianism.

Continue reading A New Year Wish for Toms Shoes

Thanksgiving Shout

Happy non-turkey day everyone!  Thanksgiving has become a strange holiday.  In today’s modern version, we take the day off (and usually the day after) to laze around, stuff our bellies, and go shopping.  I got a taste of this weirdness upon talking to a few of my co-workers.  One of them cooks two turkeys: one DEEP FRIED, and another the ole fashion way.  Another said her family starts DINNER at 11:00 AM!!!  Yet another gleefully proclaimed that she was looking forward to Black Friday.  I’m talking about the hardcore version where you wait on line (actually in front of the store, not the internet online) all night at Walmart and risk getting trampled to death when the doors open.  Apparently her kids really want to join her, she has to disappoint them with a night of sleep.

When I first started drafting this post, I wanted to started with a rant, like “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!”  Something about the way people spend the holiday just seems wrong.  I’m talking about the excess, gluttony, and sloth that has seemed to overshadow everything that Thanksgiving once stood for.  It can be depressing.  But this is who we are, for better or worse.  Alas, even I am susceptible to the couch and the amazing bargains.  Yes, I am a lazy consumerist.  So, with the risk of steeping myself in hypocritical self-righteousness, I am holding back.  I have to respect (or at least accept) what other people take joy in.  I suppose that’s what makes our holidays “American“: in a pluralistic society, we are free to interpret and evolve, and that applies to our holidays as well.

My Thanksgiving is slightly different, which brings me to the part of the post of things that I’m thankful for:

Continue reading Thanksgiving Shout

Debate! Debate! Debate!

A few posts ago, a reader brought to our attention the issue regarding our promotion of certain companies that treated their workers badly (i.e. Nike, Lacoste).  This led to an interesting (and often heated) back and forth on our positions.  I really enjoyed the debate.  I love hearing from our readers, and this discussion wanted to share it with everyone else.  I’m sure that a lot of people might have an opinion, so feel free to weigh in.  Below is the “transcript,” see the original post here.

Continue reading Debate! Debate! Debate!

VK 4 Earth Day

For Earth Day, I am going to post nothing about shoes.  I was originally going to write something on “eco-friendly” kicks or some crap like that, but I realized I would be keeping it more real if I just spread the message of “JUST STOP SHOPPING FOR ONE DAY IN OUR LIVES.”  Don’t get me wrong, I love buying crap as much as the next person, and I love a fresh pair of kicks.  I wouldn’t have this blog if neither of those things were true.  But let us look at ourselves for a minute.   It is undisputed that the earth would be better off if we consumed less.  You could buy a Prius, and feel all happy that you’re “green,” but really, you would be more green if you bought a used car or didn’t buy a car at all!  Similarly, you can feel “responsible” by buying Simple shoes made out of recycled curtains or whatever, but at least some of those materials had to be dug up at some destitute nation, manufactured in some environmentally damaging way, and flown halfway around the world, then mailed to the store or to your house, those vehicles spewing greenhouse gases all the while and creating a waste stream that will last until after we all die.  Whew…

Continue reading VK 4 Earth Day

VK’s 420 Special

Today, April 20th,  is a cult holiday celebrated by devoted followers of a certain recreational drug.  People all over the country, the world perhaps, gather with their friends, loved ones, and strangers, in their homes, at parties, sitting around in circles, standing in line, and smoke some marijuana.  It is self indulgent, and many would say irresponsible, but hey, these people are just taking one day to enjoy something they like, and to relax… isn’t that what holidays are about?

Continue reading VK’s 420 Special