Whether you’re a vegan for Veganuary or plant-based for life, it’s good to know where your fashion comes from – for sustainability reasons, as well as personal ones.
This goes for clothes, coats, bags, and your sturdiest winter boots – as often these kinds of shoes are made with leather.
Dr. Martens are a popular choice for winter (or everyday) boots – they’re known for being tough and having exaggeratedly chunky soles, and instantly give any look an edgy vibe.
But are they made with leather? Or are Dr. Martens shoes suitable for vegans to wear?
Here’s all you need to know.
Are Dr Martens shoes vegan?
Not all of Dr. Martens products are vegan … but some certainly are!
Since 2011, Dr. Martens have offered consumers a version of their shoes made from vegan leather, somewhat ahead of the curve.
Today, there are 24 vegan products for sale on the UK website, including boots, shoes, sandals, satchels and backpacks.
The vegan version of the classic 1460 boot is advertised as being made of a ‘synthetic’ material – while the sole is ‘heat-sealed and sewn together’ rather than glued.
It seems that having an animal product-free version of their shoes is partly due to the environmental impact.
In a 2021 sustainability report, the company said it was trying to create a ‘sustainable vegan upper material by 2028’.
The report read: ‘As part of our focus on research and development for materials with lower environmental impact, we are trying and testing different materials for our components.
‘For example, we are currently testing cushioning components made from sugarcane bio-plastic and a vegan-friendly alternative upper material made from mushrooms.
‘We are also reviewing emerging bio-based and recycled materials as they become available.’
All that said, lots of other Dr. Martens shoes and boots do contain leather.
On the US version of their website, it states that leather is among the top three materials used – alongside PVC and polyester.
How to tell if your existing Dr Martens are vegan
If you’re a vegan looking for a new pair of Dr. Martens, look for the pale green ‘vegan’ tab in the top corner of the image when shopping online.
In a shop, naturally a sales assistant should be able to show you the vegan line so you don’t get mixed up.
That said, if you already own a pair of Dr. Martens – perhaps secondhand, or ones you’ve owned for years – you can easily check if they’ve vegan.
Just look at the fabric loop on the back of the shoe or boot. If the label is a bright, shocking yellow, it’s not vegan.
If it’s a pale, creamy yellow colour, they’re vegan.