About us: Veganline.com was
about the first vegan shoe shop online in 1998 to use this cussed,
anti-fashion DIY way of selling some Bouncing Boots a Buncing
Shoes we'd had made. We found a few other bits of ethically-made
footwear at a wholesaler. Gradually people asked for other things
and a stock built-up of everything unfashionable - wellies,
slippers with hook and loop fastening
to reduce the risk of falls, and even a few things made in
China like vegan football boots. Now
we are getting more stuff specially made in the UK - court shoes
with safe 1" heels and microfibre uppers, high heel boots,
and more to come soon.
Veganline.com's site is only 15 years old but looks old fashioned.
When set-up in about 1998, there were no Paypal buttons available
and we had to get a merchant account which was rare in those
days. The only way to use it was via a remote-hosted shopping
cart called mals-e commerce which shares secure order forms amongst
dozens of shops and passes the order details to us. As you work
through checkout process you'll find that the url is a puzzling
"ww8.aitsafe.com" and the the page that asks for card
details begins "https" and has a certificate.
At present we have no PR agent, no web design company, and
no office outside home.
for more on the contact form below Press coverage:
Acknowledgements, Belts sizes,
Catalogues, Cheques, Cheques
and Currencies - see Overseas, Fair
Overseas: Currency conversion, Last posting
dates, Airmail, Surface mail, cost price, returns stickers, replacements
postage, privacy, returns,
shoe sizes and sale shoes, security,
These answers have just been moved to /more.htm
What's wrong with leather, Why
What's veganline.com? Who?
sent automatically. We usually post shoes the same day, or at
least the same week before we ask permission to delay more. We
don't charge your card until the order is ready (unless you use
Paypal or Nochex, but we can refund those if there is a problem).
Everything on the site is usually in stock.
Belt sizes: If you
measure your waist we can supply a belt that has a centre hole
about that length from the buckle and an outer hole two or three
inches further. This is the belts page
Catalogues: We can
make a colour print-out of the web site and send it to anyone
Cheques in the UK to
"J Robertson" including postage. Please write
your order on the back of the cheque. If you need a paper invoice
before writing a cheque, or just to work-out the postage, please
begin your order on the shopping cart and print the most relevant
page. It's the third or fourth out of four or five, with "invoice
from Veganline.com" written at the bottom.
Childrens Shoes are a problem: this is a statement on it.
Fashions in ethics are as much a
problem as ethical fashion when dress importers or development
agencies start setting-up schemese to brief journalists. If you
believe like Mrs Thatcher that increased wealth always brings
human rights and the rest, then you might ignore China's record
when promoting ethical fashion from that country. Likewise if
you work as a factory inspector and get quoted as an expert.
And the dress might be organic or made of straw and cow poo or
something. If you notice that China isn't changing, you might
think that democratic welfare states are at a long-term disadvantage
which explains high unemployment in former textile areas of the
UK, then you'd agree with me that ethical fashion from china
is balls. Unfortunately we all pay for it via European Regional
Development Grants to the Greater London Authority, which funds
London Fashion Week with its gatekeepers and press-briefers,
Esthetica and Ethical Fashion Forum. EEF is based in the UK and
legitimised by London Fashion Week patronage. It has even claimed
taxpayer grants. But it has a page on its site warning against
buying british goods. It's a very muddled page but it seems to
warn against buying UK goods for ethical reasons and uses a logo
from a closed UK shoe factory to illustrate the point.
Labelling is imposed by government
to say what country a shoe is made in and what parts of it are
leather or textile. From these labels it's possible to guess
how green a vegan shoe is and something about the civil and welfare
rights of the people who made it.
- Fair trade
labelling from Fairtrade
Labelling Organisations International members - the blue
& green symbol on coffee - does not much exist in a standardised
way for shoes. The scheme only applies to certain listed countries
that have been judged third-world at some point in the past.
UK and US factories are excluded as well as Turkish, while Indian
can be included. As the wealth of different countries changes
more rapidly than most of us can keep-track of, the list stays
the same. The general problem of knowing what suppliers are doing
and whether the money trickles-down is made worse in societies
without proper votes or human rights like China, so the scheme
can't be monitored there even though China is on the list. Even
where it's legal to ask questions, a shoe's origins are wrapped
in a long supply system which is seldom all in one country or
known to one person. Small shops, like individual consumers and
even large branded clothing merchants have trouble finding out
which of their shoes are good shoes with bad PR and which are
not-so-bad shoes with good PR. Just as the classic
idea that buying cheapest helps everyone is messy and easy
to find-fault with, the idea that trying to buy more goods from
countries with a welfare state, or more goods from the better
third world employers and fairtrade certified ones is just as
messy. Ethletic and Sole Rebels shoes are fair trade certified.
Some importers belong to a trade association - the Ethical Trade
Initiative - which compares notes about minimum standards and
helps the companies make sure their stories to the press are
consistant with each other; the products of these companies aren't
- Country of origin labels lead to
information about the human rights in each country: the detailed
reports from Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, and
the ratings agency Democracy Index which attempts to compare
democracies. There is no clear comparison for welfare rights,
but these are important too.
Veganline.com buys the maximum proportion of shoes from countries
with useful courts, votes, and a welfare state. Others might
sensibly think that to buy - indirectly- from the worst places
on earth is the default option for improving conditions in bad
places; that the Primark buyer is already helping the third world
to a certain extent and that it is only the odds-and-ends like
organic recycled laces that are newsworthy in this process. This
is a neat view. Everyone reading this will have bought apparel
from wherever their usual shop gets it, and to pretend not would
by hypocritical. To buy from the worst place in earth (or wherever
cheapness is combined with productivity: Vietnam, Cambodia, China,
Burma rather than southern Sudan) is also a rational view held
by well-informed people. Mrs Thatcher stated a decade or two
ago that to trade with China might improve human rights there
but she has still not been proved right, much, much as conditions
have improved in Taiwan.
For those who want to feel good in their clothes, there is another
option of preferring goods from Taiwan to China, or whatever
the equivalent is: to buy a few products from nice places in
the hope of encouraging them more viable than nasty places.
To buy shoes from nice countries and link to league tables on
the net are ways of strengthening the economies of nice countries
and the importance of league tables on the net. These benefits
are matched by more obscure ones. The chances of wealth trickling-down
the buying chain, so that the shoe maker is paid more and the
advertising department less, is greater if the shoe is made in
a country with universal schools & pensions than in China
which privatized its hospitals in the 1990s for example or Burma
which never had many. Environmental and employment laws are much
more detailed in some countries than others, too.
Governments and pressure groups are much less interested in publicising
the countries with the most comfortable welfare states than those
with the most democracy and legal rights. The CIA World Fact
book even slips-in a criticism of Italy's "excessive
pensions", as though none of us will get old and a cheap-to-run
universal pension is a bad thing. And federal countries like
India and the USA can have very different welfare in each state
from which shoes are stamped "made in USA" or
"Made in India" so the idea of a country does
fall-down for this purpose. Some vegan shoes shops have used
a factory in Wisconsin. Veganline.com used a UK factory which
then moved to India - we have no way of knowing which state.
the UK and Europe, the use of 22 suspect AZO dyes have
been discouraged by laws banning their use in each member state,
following an EU directive. The dyes are most likely still used,
for example in cloth and shoe uppers brought-in to the EU, but
company buyers have to be aware of the problem and batches of
material - including all the microfibre shoe upper - that are
made in the EU should be AZO-free, as should cheap shoe-uppers
made in Albania for making
into shoes in Italy.
the UK and Europe, governments have agreed
to outlaw industrial-scale glue users using volatile organic
compounds to dissolve their glue as most of us consumers
do. Only the trickier process of forming an emulsion of glue
in hot water to spray onto the bits is legal. When a shoe is
marked "made in UK" or "made in EU"
that generally means that the uppers have been stretched round
a mould and stuck-on to a sole in that country, so it's fair
to say that a shoe made in the EU has produced few volatile organic
compounds and this has a direct effect on footwear employees:
an old survey of Portuguese shoe factory staff found reduced
fertility among people who had to smell volatile organic solvents
all day before the EU directive, and that effect is now reduced
by buying EU shoes. Surprisingly, it is possible to glue shoes
at home - many UK motorcycle boots used to be made by home workers
and some Portuguese loafers still are - so the process may be
beyond the reach of anyone who can enforce the law, but hopefully
home workers are at least aware of the problem and can open a
window and turn-on a fan.
Footwear (Indication of Composition) Labelling Regulations 1995
give any UK consumer a chance to see how environmentally friendly
a product is: a recent UN report, Livestock's
Long Shadow, listed massive environmental benefits of
reducing the use of animal products, quite apart from reducing
cruelty to animals which is obviously a sane thing to be interested
in. There's no need to read the whole thing. The first page or
two summerizes the rest as do in the Vegan Society's leaflets
the Earth and Give Leather the Boot.
One problem of about ethical and environmental claims made of
footwear is that they concentrate too much on the details, like
whether something is organic, or made in an interesting employment
project in the third world, or improves conditions in China by
a small amount while still undercutting factories in the UK or
India. From a journalist's point of view it is an attempt to
find new news in footwear. Footwear changes slower than tailoring
because the tooling costs are higher; a fashion designer can
get a sewing machine for free to make samples while a shoe designer
can't do much before buying £15,000 stretching machines
from Taiwan or £1,000 injection moulds for each size of
sole. Exceptions are larger companies which know they can sell
a thousand or a hundred thousand and factor-in the tooling and
set-up costs without even thinking about it - one of their suppliers'
criticisms - but these produce for the sleepy middle market making
them boring to read about even for the people who buy middle-market
shoes from mainstream shops.
Some shoemakers are extra-ordinarilly thrifty with two of Veganline.com's
suppliers still keeping a hundred year-old machines in their
factories and some of the moulds or lasts dating from the 1940s,
but it's hard to report a green use of tools unless you're writing
for Footwear Today in the past, before it closed.
From a reader's point of view, journalists' articals over many
years have been absorbed and digested and tend to say that footwear
has gone to China now; there is nothing to be done in countries
with things like courts votes or a welfare state, only attempts
to help outsiders from even poorer countries join the market
or manufacturers with a green and organic tinge. This is not
a statement of the facts. Some footwear is still produced in
the UK, Spain, France and Portugal for example in factories following
employment laws and paying taxes towards welfare states. It's
just what's in the papers.
If there was a fair way of saying how quickly work should move
from comfortable countries to hard-working countries, it would
be possible to say that that production fairly transferred from
the UK or India to China is not newsworthy in either country
until any unusual fact emerges in either country, which is called
news. If it is not possible to say how quickly work should transfer:
if some governments hike-up or hike-down their exchange rates
to suit the elite in the UK or China, as both do, if autocracies
compete unfairly with welfare states and the judges of dumping
into the EU and US are Peter Mandelson or his US counterpart,
then it's hard to know what fair trade is.
Should an enterprising factory that stays open in the UK be reported
like a charity? Or if it's working conditions are better than
China but worse than the UK, a bad
scandal if in the UK or a beacon
of hope in China? Reporting of textile workers' conditions
suggests that, after being flogged to death, if their bodies
are disposed of in an eco-friendly way then that gets a good
press if it's in China but if the same shop employs people for
less than the basic wage in Manchester than that's a bad thing
because it makes a mess on the pavement. Turkish, Indian or Indonesian
factories are not reported as good or bad because the two extremes
are so hard to report, any position between the two is impossible
to report. That's an exaggerated description but one company
- Patagonia - with a very good reputation for well made hiking
boots, transparency, enthusiasm and such made it into the Observer
Ethical Fashion awards for just those reasons, even though their
adverts the same year for factory inspectors mentioned almost
nothing about employee's conditions, the shoes were made in China
and they were made out of leather. Such is Patagonia's transparency
that their newly employed factory inspector posted a believable
account of his views in video and audio format on U-tube. He
stated that the only job he wouldn't want to do among his employer's
contractor's staff in China was gluing; that the choice of leathers
in the past had been extravagant "because it's like putting
one plate through the dishwasher" and of course he mentions
nothing about employing staff in an autocracy. He might mention
it in private, but even this transparent company with its good
reputation for good boots doesn't write "we support autocracies"
in its PR and somehow this factory inspector must have known
this when he considered what to put on U-tube.
In this impossibility are placed fashion journalists, who by
nature are unlikely to be vegetarian or vegan because their job
is to report on leather; they are unlikely to be troubled by
goods made outside welfare states or democracies because that
has been the overwhelming part of their job these last decades
and anyway factory closures belong on the business pages. The
job of a fashion journalist is to make a paper look more upmarket
than any human being really is in order to attract advertisers
and advertiser's readers. To report the posh new Hunter Wellington
Boot for only £2,999 (Observer Special Offer) rather than
the fact that Hunter now imports Chinese wellington boots. Gradually
this job is turning-in to the job of reporting whether a boot
made in the UK is better than a boot made in China; for the world
of fashion journalism and shoes made in reasonable conditions
out of reasonable materials to meet.
- More labels will follow: Veganline.com is increasing the
range of symbols and information links next to each shoe so that
consumers can decide what to buy. Over time this information
might include the more attention-grabbing features like a shoe
being made in a staff-owned company, made using recycled parts,
using organic hemp canvas or being fit for the compost bin.
- We have not yet found a neat comparison of welfare systems
and access to justice in different countries and Indian states.
For example, Albania where
most of the safety boots are made is said to have free hospitals,
but we haven't linked to an online table to confirm that. Likewise
there are Indian states that provide good free hospitals, but
labelling regulations just require "India".
Those who produce tables tend to be in the USA or Europe, making
it hard to quote smaller human rights web sites published closer
to the problem. If you know of any kind of league table, please
let us know using the form below.
the UK has so many potential prices that they can't be
fitted onto a simple shopping cart. Try ordering and see what
you are quoted, or ask us.
Overseas Currency conversion
is normally by your Visa / Mastercard company who may charge
something like 2½% commission. Paypal are likely to give
an exact quote in your currency before you order.
Bank transfers are possible by https://transferwise.com/pay/dead0cbc
: if you know your price in UK pounds, including postage, use
trial and error to pay the right amount with this form. They
also have a button which looks like this:
Some pages include an estimated price including postage to Europe
in Euro. All purchases end with a confirmation screen linking
the total price to xe.com's estimate in any currency. If this
is a shock, please cancel before we process the order or send
If you prefer not to use a payment card, https://transferwise.com/pay/dead0cbc
is probably the best bet, and
can be loaded from a bank account in an increasing number of
countries - you can experiment on the free-form
Paypal page to find which ones.
For wholesale orders we recommend Transferwise bank transfers.
Overseas last posting dates are here
USA AU CA NZ World is worked-out on the shopping cart from
the price of the order:
£05-20 £10.50 for most slippers & belts
£20+ £13.50 for most shoes
Quotation by weight over 2kg (4.4 lbs)
Free outbound surface mail for replacements (you pay postage to us)
Small charge for airmail replacements - about $10
Cheapest US return is usually first class small packet from USPS
American & Australian surface
mail is much cheaper & greener but slower. Please
ask for a price.
- North America - up to 6 weeks
- South America, Africa & Asia - up to 8 weeks
- Australasia - up to 12 weeks
- Eastern Europe - please ask
European Union is worked out on the shopping from the
price of the order Air and surface mail are the same price
Please ask if you want a delivery quote to countries outside
£00-09 £02.50 for most wallets, belts thermal T shirts
£09-12 £06.00 for belts
£12-XX £08.00 for most shoes boots & slippers
Quotation by weight over 2kg
Privacy: your data
is not shared with others, such as mailing list companies, nor
used for excessive follow-up promotions by us. We do give email
addresses to couriers.
It's possible to opt-in to quarterly emails with a specific option
on the order form. These don't exist at present but if set-up
they would have an opt-out on each email sent. Sometimes lists
are set-up of people who want to be told when a batch of shoes
come-in. These are only used once. Some people use changedetection.com
to monitor additions to the sale pages. Each change detection
email has an opt-out link.
Returns & exchanges of goods
which were as described, but not as hoped-for or don't fit
- Return delivery which is costed on Veganline.com/returns.htm
Ask if you would like a discount code to take another few pence
of the price.
- Please enclose a note asking for a refund or replacement
- Please return shoes in a condition you would accept yourself
if buying new.
- There is no fixed deadline nor rule about the condition of
the box, but we try to re-use them.
- refund of the original price - usually back onto your card
- outbound postage of the replacement, if we have it available,
at the cheapest rate
- Airmail replacements to Australasia and the Americas are
a special case.
Most people prefer to pay £5 to upgrade to airmail.
Some are happy with cheap green 12 or 8 week surface mail which
we pay for.
have to say
- Whether the consumer or the supplier would be responsible
for the cost of returning.
It's you, because we sell mainly European-made products on quite
low margins; that's part of the deal.
Obviously you can't return a postal service under section #13a
of the Distance Selling Regulations
- We have to say where the return address is.
Unfortunately we don't have a return address in the America or
Australia - it's just the UK one below.
- Usually your shoes come with a chit that says "please
return with a note for refund or replacement" and the
address in large letters: 2 Avenue Gardens, London SW14 8BP.
American and Australian customers get a reminder about the cost
of airmail replacements, and a request to write "returns
- no tariff due" or such on the customs sticker to avoid
tariffs on parcels valued over £18.
Shoe Sizes / Sale Shoes:
there is a size chart at the foot of each page, like this.
Click on a UK size for sale shoes in that size. There is also
a full-page about siHREF="background.htm"zes.
Where shoes are sold in several sizes there is a drop-down menu
to choose the size, using the scale that the shoe was made in,
either continental or UK.
Security & Privacy for
card details on the secure
ordering server can be checked by your browser as well as
having certificates like this
Click on the form
itself and then check your browser's help file for instructions,
or right-click & experiment. The ordering
system is run by an e-commerce company with its own regular
security checks, including the system for getting data from their
web page to Veganline.com. You may also use Nochex
or Paypal if you prefer to keep your card number private:
they are among the payment options on the shopping cart, which
will fill-in the order, amount and the payee for you. Generally,
online orders are easiest to track and less accident-prone than
orders by phone and post.
There are plenty of other questions, less directly related
to shoes, which are now answered on the pages
/more.htm about why there isn't
a shoe industry in the UK, why the shoes aren't more trendy,
why we don't sell childrens shoes and more.
What's wrong with leather, Why
What's veganline.com? Who?