Vanity or Life?


I’ve been putting off buying shoes afraid that I’d be seduced into buying at least one pair of leather beauties. But with the warm weather we’ve been having and my sister-in-law visiting from Boston next week had to get a new pair of sandals. I’m too vain to wear last year’s dog-chewed pair.

As much as I love shoes, I hate shopping for them. It’s hard for me to find any that fit my three C’s: cheap, comfortable and cute. This is especially challenging since I’ve got gargantuan size 11 feet and most shoe stores don’t carry much past size 10.

Although I’m writing this vegan blog, I’ll be honest; I was planning to buy leather shoes. I thought it would be too hard to find non-leather sandals that fit my three C’s. I’d even convinced myself that this was no big deal.

Then I read a comment from one of my readers who told me that leather was her vice of choice until she met a gorgeous steer at the Farm Sanctuary outside of Los Angeles. She wrote how this beautiful creature came right up to her and licked her hand as if it were a friendly dog.

This struck me and I realized that my conscience wouldn’t be clear if I bought leather. With thoughts of a friendly steer vivid in my mind, I went to Off Broadway Shoes last night. To my amazement, I found a pair of shoes on the clearance rack that not only fit my three C’s, but that were also made of fabric.

I’d hit the jackpot! Or so I thought until I realized that despite being mostly fabric, the shoe’s sole was leather. I purchased them anyway. I don’t feel good about it, but I rationalized that at least they had less leather than most shoes.

I’ve made a promise to myself, however; to buy vegan shoes from now on. I was weak this time, but I still believe that a cow’s life outweighs my vanity.

Image courtesy of of Vlado at

About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
This entry was posted in Beauty & Fashion, Daily Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Vanity or Life?

  1. Lorrie Wenzler says:

    Didn’t realize that your feet were that big. I guess big feet grow in our family. My favorite shoes are tennis shoes and not made of leather. Wish that these shoes could be made more fashionable.

    • Hi Mom! Yes, I’ve got BIG feet. Maybe you didn’t realize because in our family my feet are normal, or even small (I know Michelle wears a 12). Also, I can sometimes fit into a size 10 if it runs big. And like you, I usually wear tennis shoes too, but sometimes it’s nice to wear something cute:-). Thanks so much for your comment!

  2. I have had problems finding shoes too. Especially summer sandals and tennis shoes. Somehow dress shoes really haven’t been a problem. I have also been able to find flats pretty easily so those are typically my shoe of choice. I wish I had advice about where you should look but I haven’t solved this problem either. The only time I have given in and bought leather shoes though was when I needed some heavy duty work boots to do some outdoor work and couldn’t find anything at all that wasn’t leather. I am glad you were at least able to find some that were less leather. Since it is impossible to completely cut out all animal products (since even steel and tires have animal products in them) the key is to cut out as much as possible.

    • Thanks so much for your comment! Yea, shoes are a toughie. The woman who shared going to the Farm Sanctuary suggested getting shoes from Alternative Outfitters or Moo Shoes. Anyway, thanks for your comment about how it’s impossible to completely cut out all animal products. This makes me feel a little better. If I find anymore vegan shoe options, I’ll be sure to let you know. And if you find any good options, I’d love to hear about them too! Have a fantabulous St. Patty’s Day!

  3. It doesn’t fit the first ‘C’ but have a look at shows how fashionable total sustainability can be !
    and you can console yourself that it’s MUCH harder for men !!

    • I just looked up Stella’s site – her stuff is awesome!! Thanks so much for telling me about her. I’m thinking about doing a vegan fashion post one of these days. I get the sense that a lot of people assume that all vegans have a crunchy-hippie look – so NOT true! Thanks again for your comment and for following!

  4. PM says:

    Hi Celeste — It’s the cow lady again. 🙂 (My mom jokingly referred to the steer as my bovine boyfriend since I was so enamoured with him.)

    What a lovely post. It’s nice when, as compassionate people, we make choices that reflect our values and you are clearly making choices that are taking you closer to the best version of yourself.

    As I said, I love the work of Colleen Patrick Goudreau and as she has mentions frequently in her podcast, “Veganism is about intention, not perfection.” And as you stated, your intention is to take it a step further next time and buy all vegan shoes. That’s pretty awesome! 🙂

    Vaute Couture recently made the front page of CNN’s site for having the first all vegan show at New York’s Fashion Week, so I think as more people (consumers, designers and merchandise buyers) become aware and informed, we’ll start seeing more options and shopping will be less of a treasure hunt. On the plus side, when I find a pair of vegan shoes I love, it’s definitely more of a “Eureka!” moment than my pre-vegan consumerism and the shoes ultimately make me happier on a karmic level.

    P.S. I ended up buying some super cute sandals at AO. I didn’t really need them, but I rationalized the purchase because they were already on sale and then there was an additional 15% off, plus I’ve purchased that brand before and they are super comfy and LAST…so I didn’t have much of a choice, right? LOL. I blame YOU for getting me in the shoe shopping mood. Now if I end up buying a matching purse, you’re gonna get an earful, lady! 😉

  5. Oh, those sandals are soooo cute! And from the photo, they do look comfy. I’m going to have to spend some time on the AO site – I’ll blame you if I buy another pair of shoes;-). I really have to check out Colleen Patrick Goudreau, I like anyone who tells me I don’t have to be perfect. Thanks so much for your comment!!!

  6. hanger17 says:

    Reblogged this on Time for Action.

  7. PM says:

    I’m happy to be your vegan shoe enabler. 🙂

    Colleen has a ton of podcasts and an amazing “30 Day Vegan Challenge” (each day is like opening a present) that I took a few months after be coming vegan and it really helped give me a sense of adventure about my new lifestyle.

    Here is a link to a podcast called “The Practical Aspects of Being Vegan” (also on iTunes) that I found to be really helpful in transitioning.

    I’ll shut up about her know, but she really is a great resource .

    • Hey! I did have fun on the AO site, but I didn’t buy anything. My hubby would kill me if I bought two pairs of shoes in the same week!!! I also checked out Colleen’s site – it’s impressive! I haven’t listened to any of her podcasts yet, but I will. I might also buy one of her books. Thanks so much for turning me on to her!! Oh, and happy St. Patty’s Day!

      • PM says:

        Happy St. Patty’s Day to you, too! I ended up going to Tony’s Darts Away since I was in the Burbank area. I passed on the vegan beer in favor of French-fry-smothered-in-vegan-gravy-and-Daiya-cheese. I did have a salad, too, so I wasn’t all bad. 🙂

  8. PM says:


    I could see where to edit my typo. 🙂

  9. PM says:


    **I couldn’t see where to edit my typo.

    My goodness. I shouldn’t type using my iPad before my morning flax! 🙂

  10. mllaurie says:

    Oh man, shoes are a pain. I’m only a size 6 (UK 3-4), but my feet are wide and I have a high arch. I’m not the crunchy hippy-type, either, so shoes from vegan shops don’t do it for me. I’ve been wearing Converse for a while, which are okay, but not great for wide feet. I recently managed to find a really cute pair of fabric/man-made Sketchers that fit great and I was so excited. It takes time. I’ve been vegan for 2 years, and I’m still trying to phase a few more things out. I bought a wool coat and leather Kindle cover after going vegan. I felt crummy about it later, but I’ve let it go, and I won’t do it again. Vegan is more about your intention than purity. The fact that you bought shoes that have a lot less leather than what you usually buy is a great start. There’s a short video about leather on the vegan starter kit website you mentioned. It’s very graphic, but it reminds me how cruel leather is.

  11. Yea, shoes are a toughie! I’m sure that in time more vegan shoes will become available, but it’s really a challenge to find nice ones now. I like what you say about veganism being more about your intention than purity, however. It reminds me of Goudreau’s blog post, ‘The Myth of the Perfect Vegan’ (thanks for turning me on to that, by the way!). I’ve even thought that maybe I should go into the vegan shoe business, but that’s silly. I don’t know the first thing about shoes or running a business for that matter. Celeste:)

  12. sf says:

    Interesting, I never thought of vegan shoes! Good thing I didn’t buy a pair of leather boots that I saw at a Salvation Army thrift store. They were so cool looking and I had always wanted a pair of boots to wear. But for a thrift store, $30 seemed like a lot for used shoes. So I just left to think about it longer.
    That friendly steer story reminded me of a documentary I had watched years ago about leather that’s made in Turkey. I was expecting for the documentary to show views of gorgeous cobble-step sidewalks, wine and cheese-making fields, and the whole Turkey-ish country scenes I had imagined the documentary was gonna show (I’m sure I was mixing the country up with another one; oh, now I remember, I thought I was gonna see Tuscany – hahaha!).
    Anyhow, the documentary showed tourists going on a trip to see how the country of Turkey was able to make such soft leather, which they’re known for worldwide. It started off the ultimate of grossness, when they showed freshly stripped-off leather skins being washed in huge pools in some outdoor area (looked like some wayside street, instead of a factory). All of the goryness of bloody skins was already sick to see, but what was even worse was when some of the tourists watching the process had thrown up. Their barf was going into the bloody pools! Ah! Gag!
    Then it the saddest thing about how a leather-making father had wanted his son to grow up to have a better life, but his son couldn’t find any other work, but to make leather as well with his Dad. It was hard work! The son had to step on the leather skins with his feet in waist-high water for hours and hours. The documentary commented that if a person were to have any open sores, then they couldn’t do the leather-stepping part of the job because they’d get ill (infected?) right away. And in the end, they showed what was the most valuable ingredient that helped to make their leather so soft: pigeon poop. It was incredible to me how the leather-makers were gathering pigeon droppings so carefully (with their bare hands), scooping it up as if it were expensive jewelry. I had no idea leather could ever be made in that process. I thought they were just dried out in the sun with some kind of softening oils brushed on ’em or something, ya know?

    Love your 3 C’s! For myself, I don’t like to buy/wear leather shoes just cuz they’re so heavy and loud. Most of ’em have heavy, thick heels with big ‘ole nails in ’em that cause you to make a racket when walking on tiled floors.

    • Oh my gosh – what a fabulous comment!! I don’t think I could have handled watching the documentary you watched about how they make leather so soft in Turkey. I’m with you, I’d rather have watched a documentary about Tuscany any day.

      You know, this is such a great comment, I’m wondering if you’d mind if I shared it as a blog post. No pressure, but I really think what you say here is so great that I’d like to share it with my readers. I won’t share it unless you get back to me and give me permission to do so.

      Thanks so much for reading! Have a wonderful week! Celeste 🙂

      • sf says:

        Girlfriend, you can quote me any day! Wish I could remember if that documentary had been on the Discovery or the National Geographic channel, though.

    • Great! I’ll probably share it later in the week like Friday or Saturday. It’s just so awesome! Celeste 🙂

  13. Pingback: Before They Were Shoes | Honk If You're Vegan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s