After a long delay due to staffing problems, Money Crashers has finally started published some of my articles again. And the first of the lot is on a subject I've touched on many times here: the difficulties of ecofrugal shoe shopping.
I first wrote back in 2013 about what an undertaking it is for me to find new shoes whenever an old pair wears out. The trouble, as I explained, is that I have what is apparently a very unusual combination of circumstances: wide feet, a vegetarian lifestyle, and thrifty habits. Finding shoes that fit me well is hard enough; finding a pair that's leather-free shoes, reasonably well-made, and not outrageously expensive is next to impossible.
Over the years, though, I've learned a few things about where to look. I know, for instance, that if I'm going to shop online for shoes, I have to stick to sites like Zappos and ShoeBuy, which offer free shipping and free returns, so that I don't spend lots of money to try on shoes that don't fit. I've also discovered brands that offer leather-free shoes in non-standard sizes, such as Propet, from which I bought my latest pair of winter boots. And at some point it occurred to me that all this knowledge I've amassed might actually be of some use to other people who find themselves with the same problems I have in finding footwear.
So I've now gathered together everything I've learned, along with the fruits of some additional research, in one comprehensive guide. It lists all the stores I know that specialize in leather-free footwear, with some details about what kind of shoes they sell and what their prices are like. I also offer suggestions on where to find specific types of footwear (such as dance shoes, dress shoes, and athletic shoes) and other accessories (purses, wallets, luggage, and sporting gear such as ice skates). It's the shopping guide I wish I'd had when I first became a vegetarian and had to figure all this out on my own. I only hope that there are a few newbie vegetarians out there who now won't have to.
Read about it all here: How to Buy Vegan and Herbivore Shoes, Clothing & Accessories