The future is here. It used to be hard to find vegan hiking boots and hiking shoes. Just a few select brands made them. But the world is truly changing because even brands like adidas and Merrell, which used to almost exclusively make leather shoes, have expanded to include more vegan-friendly synthetics in their lineups. As new innovations in materials take root, product makers will stop exploiting animals for their skin. And the new synthetics are more durable, breathable, and waterproof than leather. Here are the top-rated vegan hiking boots and hiking shoes from the best brands in the industry.
1. Arc’teryx Bora Mid GTX Vegan Hiking Boots
Hailing from the Coast Mountains region of western Canada, Arc’teryx makes rugged outdoor apparel that will put you in good stead for wherever your adventures take you. Arc’teryx measures the carbon footprint of all of their products and hopes to eventually move all of them to cradle-to-cradle design.
The goal of cradle-to-cradle product design, also called regenerative design, is to create products that are essentially zero-waste. When they’ve outlived their use, all parts can be recycled into new products or will biodegrade naturally instead of sitting in land-fill. While Arc’teryx is not there yet with their products, it’s reassuring to see footwear companies that actually care about the entire lifecycle of their products, as far too many do not.
The Arc’teryx Bora hiking boot is an elegant blend of an approach shoe and a stable mountaineering boot. These are serious hiking boots, not for the fluffy stuff.
The upper is made with vegan-friendly synthetic textile. And the outsoles are made with 14 mm Vibram lug sole rubber that offers plenty of stability, traction, and grip. Plus, the heel is designed for quick braking. A removable, stretchable Gore-Tex bootie liner keeps debris out of your boot while wicking moisture. There’s also a removable Ortholite footbed that’s breathable and provides ample cushioning and arch support.
This boot is perfect for multi-day backpacking trips or serious day hikes.
Available colors: purple and black
2. Arc’teryx Acrux FL Approach Vegan Hiking Shoe
The Arc’teryx Acrux Approach hiking shoe, made with vegan-friendly synthetic materials, is lightweight and flexible. This shoe is perfect for day hikes or technical approaches on a variety of terrains. Like its boot counterpart, the Acrux Approach shoe has a lightweight, quick-drying bootie inside. It also has a breathable Ortholite footbed that provides added comfort and solid arch support.
3. Astral TR1 Merge Minimalist Vegan Hiking Boots
A socially- and environmentally-conscious footwear company, Astral was started in 2002 by farmer/entrepreneur Philip Curry. After he sold his first outdoor gear company to Patagonia in 1999, he did some traveling and then became a full-time biodynamic farmer.
Biodynamic farming is both a method and a philosophical approach to farming that views the entire farm an integrated and whole living organism. An aspect to this holistic approach to farming incorporates the spirit of the farm, with an understanding that there is metaphysical energy in the farm.
With his experience managing the farm, Philip again thought of the outdoor gear industry. He considered how he might create products that let wilderness athletes experience the great outdoors in a holistic way, which meant having a minimal environmental impact.
Astral shoes are designed and made with these considerations in mind. Philip set out to create beautifully designed footwear and other gear in the least toxic way possible. As a result, Astral has eliminated PVC foam from their supply chain, uses recycled polyester in their materials, and creates only 100% vegan shoes.
Astral’s Merge Minimalist hiking boots are one such example. Made with vegan-friendly breathable, quick-drying canvas, these boots are versatile enough for multi-season backpacking trips or kayaking expeditions.
The soles of these boots are made with “ultra-grippy” high-friction rubber that has 5 mm lugs and flex grooves. There’s also an EVA foam midsole and a heel designed for stability and comfort.