A brief introduction
Vegan Shoes: Why?
Ballūta’s seed was planted years ago when Catarina Pedroso, still a child, born to a bull-fighter family decided one day she would stand up for the rights of the animals she so strongly wanted to defend.
Many years would pass, and this girl, now a grownup, looked and looked for vegan shoes and she couldn’t find any she liked.
So, she thought: “why don’t I design them myself?” With a degree in Painting, Catarina decided to take a course on shoe design on Lisbon School of Design to create her own vegan shoe brand.
Inspired by an empowered on-the-go woman Ballūta finally came to life and now Catarina’s days are spent designing shoes, searching for the newest materials, and making sure animals and people are respected along the way.
Many processes involved in the production of leather are well known but a few facts are lesser-known or misinterpreted. We are certain that our choice of vegan leather to produce vegan shoes is a far more sustainable option than if we used animal leather but we also understand that, because they are man-made materials, the environmental impact of producing leather may need to be more accurately addressed.
So, what is Vegan shoes?
Protecting Animals, Protecting Planet Earth
What are vegan shoes? Vegan shoes are shoes in which the commitment to not use materials derived from animals exists not only at the level of leathers but also to a whole set of practices and components, such as the exclusion of hair, silk, wool, beeswax and all materials that, not derived from animals, may have been tested on animals, such as certain adhesives/glues.
But why vegan shoes, what's the problem with continuing to use animal leather?
One of the misconceptions generally associated with leather is that it is a by-product of the meat and dairy industries. This is not true.
Leather hides account for a big portion of the animal’s value. The consequence of this trade is the creation of animal farms for breeding, the destruction of precious ecosystems through deforestation to grow animal feed or grazing, and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with animal rearing, which are responsible for a whopping 18% of global Green House Gas emissions.
Aside from the cruelty of breeding and slaughtering animals, the tanning processes that are applied onto a natural product like leather in order to make it resist degradation require extensive use of toxic chemicals, many of which are banned in Europe, like hexavalent chromium, arsenic, and lead.
This is why leather hides are often tanned in third-world countries where environmental and labor laws are more flexible or not successfully applied. These processes are also intensely energy and water demanding, resulting in catastrophic levels of pollution that endanger all nature.
In recent years more and more vegan shoe materials become available to brands that produce vegan shoes, like new synthetic leathers created by innovative technological companies.
Advances in this technology will make all synthetic products more available and consequently cheaper as production increases and becomes widespread in the footwear industry.