Better than leather. What are immortal vegan shoes made from?

From what materials can you make ethical shoes that last? We’ve searched all over Europe for the answer.

From what materials can you make ethical shoes that last? We’ve searched all over Europe for the answer. 

Leather has led the way in quality for centuries, but it can’t be sourced ethically. By comparison, so-called “eco leathers” barely last a season and lack breathability. 

This wasn’t the route we wanted to take with Ahinsa shoes, so we set out to find a new eco-friendly, ethical, high-quality, and comfortable material. 

And we found it.  

We discovered a material of the future that has the potential to transform the shoe industry.

A foot in a barefoot shoe made from vegan CF+ leather.

Introducing your future favorite shoes.

CF+: Better than leather 

We found it at a footwear fair, and it absolutely blew our minds. 

It looks like leather. It breathes like leather. But it’s waterproof and lasts longer than genuine leather. Its working name: CF+, or Cruelty Free Material — a material without cruelty.

A woman holding barefoot ballet flats made from red vegan leather.

CF+ looks like leather…but it’s a whole lot better.

We tested CF+ and were thrilled with the results. We threw it into the ocean, tried to scuff and scratch it up with our fingernails and sharp construction nails. It held up through it all. That’s why, as an up-and-coming brand, we approached the manufacturer and said we’d like to use their material to make our shoes. They were happy to collaborate and told us they would produce it for us as long as we ordered at least a kilometer of it. 

And that’s how a kilometer-long roll of the best material we had ever seen arrived in our then tiny workshop. Today, that roll of material is already long gone — and the shoes made from it? They’ve run out into the world and proved that we couldn’t have asked for a better shoe material. 

Can leather be vegan? 

CF+ is a vegan leather — and you deserve a few words of explanation about what exactly that means.  Being “vegan” isn’t just about diet; it refers to products made without animal cruelty or exploitation. 

Lace-up barefoot shoes made from brown vegan leather.

Yes, even shoes can be vegan — and still look like they’re made of leather.

Roughly 150 billion animals die each year because of humans. It’s not our goal now to influence your lifestyle, but we made a personal decision that we didn’t want to contribute to that number. That’s why we wanted to find a more ethical material than leather. 

We also wanted to benefit the planet. Leather might seem like a green solution since it’s a natural raw material. But in reality, it’s not eco-friendly. It’s estimated that it takes 17,000 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of leather. To give you an idea of how much that is: one swimming pool contains around 3000 liters of water. 

In addition, leather is then cleaned, dyed, and frequently imported halfway across the planet. 

How is non-leather better? It’s simple.

Natural leather has several disadvantages. 

  • It gets wet easily and takes forever to dry. 
  • Since it’s a natural material, it requires a lot of care to make it last. 
  • If you scratch it or scuff it up, you’re out of a new pair of beautiful shoes. 

CF+ is superior in these respects. It’s waterproof, and you couldn’t scratch it up even if you wanted to — trust us, we tried! It doesn’t need much care to keep it looking good. You can easily wipe dirt and mud off with a damp cloth.

 

But our absolute favorite advantage is hidden from view. If you try dripping some water inside our vegan leather shoes, the CF+ lining will absorb it completely. That means that shoes from this material are great for wicking sweat away from your feet. 

Breathability!

Of course, natural leather isn’t without its benefits. For instance, it’s incredibly breathable, unlike many synthetic materials. That’s why we tested CF+ can match it in this capacity. And it does! 

CF+ is no ordinary eco-leather. It’s a sophisticated microfiber mesh that has been cleverly punctured by fine needles. As a result, it breathes just like natural leather.  

This material won’t suffocate your feet and allows fresh air to reach them. 

Feet in black barefoot ballet flats made from vegan leather.

CF+ vegan leather is actually a sophisticated microfiber mesh.

Suede and nubuck: Love at first touch

Have you ever handled suede with your bare hands? You probably fell in love with it the first time you touched it. It’s THAT comfortable! 

That’s why we’re thrilled that CF+ also comes in suede. While it’s not waterproof — simply because it doesn’t have a smooth surface to resist moisture — it’s perfectly soft. 

In addition to suede, nubuck, a material with a similarly velvety surface, also caught our attention. At first glance, it has a unique sheen to it, but it’s still like new.

A woman holding barefoot ballet flats made from vegan leather and suede.

Classic vegan leather or suede? You’ll fall in love with both.

Cruelty-free fur 

The only thing missing from our material line-up was vegan fur to keep our customers warm in the harshest cold weather. And once again, we found one again from a European manufacturer. 

It won our hearts with two qualities: 

  1. It keeps you toasty warm. Our customers walk through Finnish snowdrifts wearing it and can’t praise it enough. 
  2. It wicks away sweat. It has a special membrane, which ordinary vegan furs don’t have, that keeps your feet free of moisture. 

This material makes it simple to keep your feet dry and warm. By the way, did you know that your feet won’t be cold in barefoot shoes?

A man sits in the forest in the winter wearing barefoot winter boots.

Vegan fur keeps you warm even in freezing temperatures.

Wear ethical shoes

Say goodbye to leather and cheap substitutes. No matter why you’re looking for a good shoe, CF+ will suit your needs. 

  • Want to be comfortable? Wear shoes that are waterproof, breathable, and adapt to your feet. 
  • Are you a slow fashion fan? Choose shoes made from ethically-produced materials in Europe that will last for years. 
  • Looking for an eco-friendly shoe? You can’t go wrong with cruelty-free leather. 
  • Still a lover of leather? You won’t notice the difference between CF+ and natural leather. 

The reasons may vary, but there’s only one solution: Ahinsa shoes made from CF+ vegan leather.