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iEG Crush: Meet Hooves Vegan Shoes
This week we chatted with London-based vegan shoe company, Hooves. We loved their passion for creating a high quality, cruelty free product that could stand up to all the leather shoes out there in terms of durability, warmth and style. The company has a KickStarter going until March 3rd (link below) and we think they deserve all the support we can give them as they launch their spring line. Read on to learn about their mission and what makes Hooves stand out among the competition.
1. Tell me about Hooves. How did it all begin?
I’ve been vegan for 6 years this year and I’m quite fussy about footwear. There are a lot of vegan shoes for men available but I find that many of the more formal synthetic leather choices have something odd about the design, like a clunky looking moulded sole for example. So I wore canvas plimsolls almost exclusively for a couple of years, but they offer little protection from the cold and the rain. Having been a fan and wearer of Desert Boots in the past, I decided to launch my own footwear company, making a vegan version of the classic DB.
2. What sets your shoes apart from other vegan shoe brands?
Hooves will concentrate on a high level of aesthetic appeal with a particular focus on quality, simplicity and elegance. I’d rather offer just a handful of great designs done really well, than offer a wide variety of styles just for the sake of having a large range. I certainly didn’t get into this for the money or because I spotted a particular gap in the market. Rather, I just want to make shoes that I want to wear and which aren’t made from dead bodies. And I hope others see that our Desert Boots are manufactured to a high quality with great attention to detail in the EU, using excellent and durable materials.
3. What motivated you to create a new vegan shoe line? What do you hope to accomplish?
What drove me towards veganism in the first place was a growing awakening to the unimaginable scale of misery, suffering, abuse and violence inflicted upon billions of sentient animals every year by humanity. The motivation to create a new vegan shoe line came from wanting to offer a genuine alternative to carnage of leather and suede footwear. I don’t just want vegetarians and vegans to wear non-leather shoes, I want to challenge the perception that non-leather shoes are somehow inferior in quality and less durable than leather and suede. I’ve been road-testing my prototype vegan Desert Boots almost every single day for three months and they look much fresher and have worn much better than the suede DBs I wore when I was younger. No-one can tell me that Hooves are inferior to their leather and suede rivals.
What are your shoes made of? How do you source your materials?
Our Desert Boot uppers and lining are made from a high quality microfibre material, which is breathable, lightweight and biodegradable. I spent many months sampling and evaluating different materials from all over the world. In the end, I went with one of the more expensive ones, which obviously has a bearing on the final retail price, but the quality is superb and really makes a marked difference to the look, feel and durability of the Desert Boots. And the road-tests have indicated that the right choice of material was made. A good friend has also been wearing a prototype pair all over the UK, Australia and California and feeding back very positive reports about the both the material and Desert Boot performance in both warmer and cooler climates.
Will Desert Boots be your only styles or are you working on any others?
Hooves is currently launching on Kickstarter and our short term goals depend very much on the success or failure of our Kickstarter project, which closes on March 3rd 2014:
In the spring, new colours will be added to the Desert Boot range. I’m currently sampling a new style from several factories across Europe, to be released in time for the summer. Again, good quality, simplicity and elegance are key in determining the right choice of manufacturer. There are also a few other designs on the horizon which may come to fruition for autumn 2014.