Shop: Johansen Shoes
Instagram: Not as Yet
Description: This under the radar shoe company has been manufacturing shoes since 1876! Production is in Virginia. Many styles are old-school, but you can find a diamond in the rough, like every day loafers, great for fall and winter.
Shoes is a really tough fashion category in terms of made locally and made ethically. There have been very few brands that have been able to withstand all of the obstacles against the shoe industry and sustainable production.
A large part of what makes American made shoes extremely challenging is that sustainable shoe production in the USA requires high wages, which then creates small margins and virtually no room for error.
Shoes are most commonly made out of leather. Leather is widely known for being one of the most toxic materials to process. In addition to requiring a toxic process to process, leather has negative environmental consequences. Because of this, and animal cruelty issues, more and more consumers are avoiding meat consumption as well as animal products due to environmental issues.
Surprisingly, animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than every single transportation system in the world combined. The environmental strain is due to the fact that raising healthy animals constitutes an enormous amount of land, food, energy and water.
It will be difficult to find a company that manufactures in the USA, is vegan, stylish and affordable. Every option has pros and cons so the consumer has to prioritize what is most important. Should a shoe purchase avoid leather, be made in America, contain no toxins? At the end of the day you as the consumer has to decide what ethical, sustainable practices are most aligned with your views...and price point.
There are shoe companies that make and sell vegan shoes made out of either plant or synthetic materials.There are shoe brands that produce abroad provide fair trade practices. There are also shoe brands manufacturing in the US that can be quite pricey. Meeting all of your shoe priorities is asking for a lot. Every option has pros and cons so you as a consumer have to prioritize what is most important to you.
If made locally is one of your more important criteria, we’ve created a list of shoe brands that are currently manufacturing shoes in the U.S.A.