Article "Making vegan shoes" from "Vegan New Zealand" Magazine, written by Avril McIntyre, Issue Autumn 2014, page 14.
I’ve only ever bought vegan shoes, so I asked Piccadilly to tell me more about making vegan shoes.
Q: Why did Piccadilly decide to make vegan shoes?
A: Because Piccadilly cares about the environment and believes that no animal should be killed or hurt to produce a pair of Piccadilly shoes.
Q: What glue does Piccadilly use?
A: We bond 100% of the soles with water-based adhesives, without solvents. This reduced the number of collaborators exposed to the risks of chemical products and increased efficiency in the assembling process. The quality of the water-based glue is better than the one composed with solvents; it lasts three times longer.
Q: What materials are in your shoes?
A: The upper is produced in “Derby”, a high technology synthetic material imported from Italy. This material is made of a polyurethane (PU) coagulated resin over a textile layer. This material is much lighter than leather and does not stain socks or feet. “Derby” was developed by the company technicians in partnership with Italian specialists and mean buying purely vegan shoes where you can, and the rest of the time, ones that are leather-free. We must live within our means and what is practicable. For example, a ‘true’ vegan would only eat organic vegetables as pesticides are used on others. Most vegans cannot afford to buy only organic and a similar idea should be applied to shoes. Raising awareness has special characteristics, researched in the national and international market.
Q: Why doesn’t everyone make vegan shoes?
A: Because it takes more work. Our material doesn’t have chrome treatment or any other toxic substances, which are bad for the environment, like the ones used to prepare the leather. Furthermore, according to international environmental convention, every synthetic upper or polyurethane derived material is treated to initiate a process of decomposition after 4 years, leaving this material biodegradable.
Q: What are the challenges of making vegan shoes?
A: To find a material as resistant and good quality as leather.
The other good news is that by asking shop assistants or manufacturers about the origin of their glue, you can encourage them to think about producing alternatives. I don’t want you to read this article and throw away all of your shoes, but the next time you buy a pair of shoes, remember to ask about the glue.
Piccadilly have even more manufacturing details on their website if you are interested. (www.piccadillyshoes.co.nz)
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