My old Columbia winter boots finally needed replacing this year, after 5–6 years of life. Aesthetically, they have been ghastly for at least the past two years, but I’m a practical gal. When I’m romping around the forest every morning with my dog, I don’t care what my shoes look like. I need warmth and functionality.
So, I set out in search of the *perfect* cold-weather, waterproof vegan boots and arrived at the Will’s Vegan Store website.
But first, some housekeeping. Because I often feel uncomfortable when discussing material purchases. So, if I may clarify, I buy used goods as much as possible. I love Mercari. It is where I purchase much of my sustainable/ethical fashion, including Patagonia, 10Tree, Girlfriend Collective, and Pact. Shoes are my kryptonite in this area if you will. As a highly active individual who manages chronic pain, I need quality shoes that support me and protect me while out in the elements. So, I’m not espousing WVS because I seek to flaunt affluence. Rather, I figure if I am going to buy new (and with shoes, that is basically a must for me), I aim to be mindful of where I’m throwing money.
And Will’s Vegan Store fits the bill. The company is an ethically-made vegan shoe company that was founded in 2012 in London, U.K. The store offers a wide range of vegan products including shoes, accessories, and clothing. The company is certified carbon-neutral, and no, it isn’t like Pact where the customer is given the choice to pay extra for carbon-neutral shipping. Shipping from Will’s Vegan Store is carbon-neutral because the brand takes responsibility for their products. After all, aren’t we all fatigued of tipping? Exhausted by the capitalist framework that frequently exploits the little guy, and expects the other little guy to help out? Truly carbon-neutral companies should be building carbon-neutral processes and shipping into their prices. And that is what Will’s Vegan Store does.
The shop utilizes sustainable materials as much as possible, including bio-based vegan leather made from plants (eucalyptus). WVS is part of the ethical clothing movement; the folks making the products, in Italy, have rights that cover reasonable working hours, equal pay, maternity and parental leave, anti-discrimination, and health and safety. The company is committed to protecting the environment and animals. And they claim to be always looking for more sustainable alternatives to the materials they use.
So, I’m reading all this, and it really hits me: this is an actual store that vegans in the U.K. can visit. And go shopping at. A safe retail space exists in the world for vegans. My American mind is blown. I had to try these products for myself.
But then I learned their women’s winter boots are not waterproof. And I’ve learned the hard way that “water-resistant” means very little when out in the rain and snow. So instead, I opted for the women’s sport waterproof hiking boot. And I sized up, to ensure I have room for plenty layers of socks.
And I must say, I’m impressed. These shoes are both adorable and practical. The day they arrived, I intentionally walked straight through a puddle to see if they’re really waterproof. And they are indeed. The next morning, on a muddy hike through a forest with my dog, my experience of the boots was equally satisfactory. And they can simply be wiped clean with a damp cloth, so easy!
Of course, I’m curious as to how long they last me, because I’ve already got my eyes on some other WVS items. I need a small new backpack (I’m anti-purse 99% of the time; I’m a backpack person) and they have some adorable bags. And some cute, minimalist card wallets that will fit nicely into my small (and only) faux-leather camel cross-body for the remaining 1% of times. All that to say, Wills Vegan Store, you may have found your way to my heart, from all the way across the globe. Happy ethical shopping, dumplings.
Also by R. Coker: I Met The Vegan Partner Of My Dreams On Tinder
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Photo: R. Coker