The Good Guys Notes #3 - What is Vegan Leather?

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Hi, my name is Marion Hanania; I am the founder of Good Guys Don't Wear Leather, a 100% vegan shoe company that I created 10 years ago (to read more about how it all started, you can read "The Good Guys Note #1").
I will be writing this "Note #3" and try to bring answers to many questions I often receive about our Vegan materials and more precisely vegan leather. I know that to many people combining the word leather with the word vegan seem a little bit of! But stay with me. I am going to address this in a moment.
For The Good Guys Notes #3, I will tell you more about Vegan leather or Vegan suede and Apple leather by answering questions I have been frequently asked, and some of these questions might really surprise you.

What is Vegan Leather? Can you eat your shoe? 

That's, believe it or not, a persistent question. It's for sure meant as a joke but also a relevant question. So no, you cannot eat your shoes; let's make this clear.

There is a wide range of "Vegan Leather" that are available for us to work with. Many types, from 100% PU to almost 100% recyclable. One common "ingredient is the PU" that binds everything together, and it is still part of all synthetic leathers because it makes it durable and stronger.

As of today, we can find "vegan" alternatives to leather made with apple wastes, the "Apple Skin," with pineapple, the "Pinatex" or with cactuses "Deserto," and even grapes...More and more exciting innovative materials. I found it so interesting that "plants" are basically the "future" of our planet, fashion-wise, and food-wise.

The season for Apple leather! Apple what?

We, at Good Guys, are working with Apple Skin. Why? Because we found that it is the most "good looking" material so far that allies "durability" and "sustainability."

There is a season for Apple cider, Apple strudels, and Apple pies, but for Good Guys don't wear leather; it's always the season for "Apple Leather." Our favorite fall ingredient became our go-to material, which is, at its core, eco-friendly.

What is Apple leather? It's a fantastic Award-winning material that is the "living" proof that we can use fruit's waste and not dead animals' skin to make beautiful shoes. In a region where Apples are the center of the local "industry," Apple Skin was created in Italy.

The apple waste was so important that someone got the brilliant idea to try and use these wastes to create a material that would be an alternative to leather. A microfiber made of 30 to 50% Apple waste. They created the "Appleskin," a smooth material that comes in various textures and colors, bound together by Polyester. Moreover, the company is researching and working on a recycled Polyester version of the Apple leather ready by 2026.  

If you like you can check our Apple Skin collection here 

How eco-friendly is it?

You have to know that the leather industry and the meat industry are the prime reasons for global warming and other ecological disasters. So first, opting for an alternative to leather is a huge commitment towards the environment. Our Apple leather and all the other microfibers we use are made in Europe (Italy, Spain, or Portugal). They are the most eco-friendly you can be, by the way, they have all the European certification (labels AEKO, Reach, Certifié OekoTex Standard 100 Class I )

Why is there still PU in Vegan leather?

As mentioned in my previous question, "What is Vegan Leather?" microfibers always have a part of their components that's synthetic, like PU or Polyester. They can be recycled or not. It binds everything together, and without it, the material won't hold and won't be durable and resistant. We need a long-lasting product; we do not want a pair to fade away after 6 months and be part of the piles of trash that Fast-fashion produces.

The truth is, if you want a strong material, you need PU. We try to reduce the amount of PU and focus on the best materials with the least amount of PU or Polyester. It is tough to find a 100% recyclable microfiber, but manufacturers are constantly researching how to improve their materials and make them more eco-friendly. The Apple Skin manufacturer's goal is to be 100% eco-friendly and remove all PU from their material composition by 2026. 

Vegan leather Vs. Leather: Is Vegan leather really better than leather?

My first answer would be that nothing is worse than taking a life. I'd rather go barefoot than wear leather.

On another level, vegan leather's quality and practicality make it so much more attractive than leather. It's easy to clean, resistant, anti-bacterial.

Most of all, it imitates leather and suede to perfection, so why keep wearing animal skin when you can switch in a heartbeat. 

Vegan leather is better than leather, ethically. It's sustainable because you don't need to buy a pair every 6 months, they will last, and you will learn how to appreciate their durability and timeless look through the years.

If you have to choose between leather and vegan leather and are still not convinced, I invite you to look at PETA's work around the leather and fashion industry that will show you how fast fashion and luxury brands alike are abusing animals and how Vegan leather is the future for our Planet.

Is Vegan leather durable?

Designing small collections, well curated products that are not disposable is "eco-friendly". Keeping your shoes for the longest time is "eco-friendly," and that's what we want to create, long-lasting shoes with durable materials and a timeless style.

So Yes! At the beginning of the microfibers industry, the main idea was to create a material with "High performances, resistant, Durable." It was mostly for racing cars and aircraft interiors. It was a luxury product made to regulate temperature and resist abrasion and extreme conditions. Nowadays, microfibers are used for work boots, nurses' shoes, and all items that need extra durability, easy cleaning, and comfort.

Image Mackenzie MacCullough 

Why should I buy Vegan shoes from Good Guys?

For their great look, of course! But let me give you a few examples of why you can choose us with your eyes closed.

  • If you need to be convinced, you can decide by looking at our ambassador Emma Watson who's message is to highlight sustainable, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly companies such as GG. She and her team worked on a rigorous list of critéria to ensure that the brands that Emma is wearing are really sustainable and that she vouch for them. 

  • We partnered up with REDONNER to encourage YOU to give away and recycle your old, worn out Good Guys pair while receiving a 15% discount on a new pair of Good Guys plus a free gift on our website. This initiative is a fantastic project by Redonner, launched in collaboration with brands like GG that want to make a difference and go towards more sustainability and circularity in the fashion industry. (recycle your old GG pair HERE

  • If you love Good Guys collections, you will also appreciate the philosophy behind them and the fact that they are small, timeless and well curated to last you many seasons. It's easy to be stylish and comfortable daily and also being able to care for animals (100% vegan), humans (fair-trade manufacturers under European laws), and the environment (recycle, innovative materials, durability source in Europe) and we are PETA approved.

Now is the perfect time to act according to your heart and beliefs. If you love animals, if you care for your planet, have a passion for style, and thrive on finding timeless, cool, and elegant shoes, give it a try and check out our wide range of vegan and sustainable shoes here .

Wear cruelty-free shoes and start an interesting conversation with a stranger that will give you a compliment on your shoes or a friend or family member that doesn't understand yet what are "vegan shoes." Especially that now you know more about your shoes and what they are made of.

Thanks for being part of the Good Guys club, it's an open-minded family, and we are happy to have you all!

Don't forget to share this note with your friends and family! By doing so, you will contribute to making more people interested in this subject and thus making the planet better. 


Good Guys Don't Wear Leather.


Illustrations by M. Hanania @mayonscrayons


References and comments:

*You can read an interesting article on about the effort from designers to be more sustainable by using new innovative materials  (Read the article HERE)

**A small list of websites to help you navigate and understand what "Vegan and sustainable fashion" really means.






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