Real leather vs vegan leather Gaia soul

Sustainability: Real Leather vs. Vegan Leather

At Gaia Soul Designs we believe in sustainability, that is why we choose real leather instead of vegan leather. Our sandals are made from natural cow leather, which is a by-product of the meat industry, therefore it helps reduce wastage that ends in the landfills.

Real leather is much more durable than any other material, as well as breathable and completely compostable. Furthermore, we only use natural pigments to tan and dye our material, with no use of chromium, so you will not find any toxins or chemicals in the process of making our sandals.

natural pigments fashion industry

What is vegan leather made out of?

Most vegan leather is made from plastics, a synthetic fabric structured and printed to perform like leather”. 

It consists of polyester with PVS or polyurethane coating, which releases dioxins and is very harmful for the environment, as it is made from fossil fuels and takes a long time to break. It is also much less durable than real leather; it will last only few years and create much unwanted waste.  

All this means that most faux leathers will have much higher environmental impact than the real thing. The production of faux leather goods require a lot of chemicals, which also means that during the life cycle of the product it releases harmful toxins and will continue to do so during many years of breaking down. 

There is a lot of controversy with brands and suppliers jumping on the ‘vegan leather’ as an ethical movement, which makes the consumer feel good. But you have to take into account that in most cases, if you are buying faux leather, you are buying plastic.

vegan leather shoes

Some innovations and plant-based alternatives to vegan leather are appearing every day, however, most of them still use plastic adhesives to stick the cellulose fibres together.  When these new alternatives will use plant-based adhesives instead of fossil fuel materials, we will be looking at them as real sustainable option for our shoes, however it will still not solve the issue with quality and durability.

Knowing all of this, the question that arises is… Should I follow my animal-lover instincts in favour of a synthetic alternative to leather that very possibly has a higher impact on the environment?
Should I worry about fossil fuels?


The benefits of real leather vs. vegan leather 

We choose our leather very carefully. All our sandals are made from natural cow leather, a by-product of the meat industry. By choosing this material we are reducing wastage ending in the landfills and we do not add to producing new material that would have an negative impact on the environment. Furthermore, natural leather is a completely compostable material and so are our shoes soles, because they are made from natural rubber. 

One of the well-known benefits of real leather is breathability. Leather has the ability to expel moisture in the form of vapour and that makes it unique. Being natural and breathable, leather becomes an incredible material, especially for shoes. 

Durability is also one of the bigger benefits of real leather. If you buy from a brand that has high standards and ethics of leather services and you look after your leather product, it can last for a very long time. 

Last but not least benefit is comfort. Natural leather is more comfortable than any other material and offers a better fit. 

At Gaia Soul Designs we can proudly say that we make breathable, comfortable shoes for pain-free and healthy feet that will last for a very long time.
Check out our latest
leather sandals collection!  

By Pola Golik


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