Unicorn Goods started with a search - a search for a pair of boots. Not just any pair of boots. These boots had to be: A) Vegan. No leather, but also no animal-based glues. B) Durable. These babies had to last longer than just a few walks. We wanted to buy one pair of shoes that would last a decade. C) Comfortable. Feet are friends, not fiends. We treat our feet well. D) Attractive. These boots needed to look good. No hippie things. Black is a must.
Needless to say, the search lasted a very, very, very long time. Six months, or thereabouts. There were many 8 hour days spent scouring the Internet for new shoes, using Google shopping and Ebay to try to find discontinued shoes in the right size, calling shoemakers to find out if that thing in the picture that looked like leather was leather or pleather, and zoning out at lists of "ethical" clothing makers on Peta.
Many vegan shoe options are trash. They're cheap. And when you're trying to make a shoe that is above all cheap, fake leather is usually cheaper than real leather. But we didn't want cheap-ass shoes. We wanted a pair of normal boots!
Our search happened with the Doc Martens Vegan 1460. This is the vegan version of the classic black combat boot for which Doc Martens has become eponymous. It meets the criteria: vegan, durable, comfortable, and attractive. It's a testament to how far technology has come, and proof that you don't leather to make a high quality, fashionable boot that will last you a lifetime.
The Vegan 1460 is made with a material that wears and feels like leather. When we received it, we had to double-check that we had actually received the vegan version and not the real leather version by mistake. There is no way to tell the difference through comparing the feel, luster, and interior texture. They smell and stretch like leather. After several wears, creases develop just like with leather shoes.
The shoes are warm and waterproof up to the tongue. They're unisex and shaped to accommodate mens feet, so the womens pair we tested had ample room to wiggle the toes - hard to come by in a womens shoe!
We tested these on the farm for hours of manual labor through wet grass and mud, marching the streets of arctic northern Quebec in the peak of winter, working in a coffee shop for long periods of time on the go, in the office, and out at the bar. They've stood up to every challenge and exceeded our expectations. They're warm, yet roomy. They're sturdy, but stylish. They're waterproof, but breathe well.
Our favorite way to wear them is partially laced with socks. Lace them up all the way except for the top two eyelets, then cross the laces and wrap them around the back of the boot, tying them in the front. Don a neutral color pair of your standard socks, bunched up so they barely stick out of the top of the boot. If you're wearing jeans, cuff then in a slender cuff so that the cuff just grazes the tops of the socks.
You can wear these with just about anything, in just about any circumstance. We definitely recommend them as our all-time favorite multipurpose boot. If you're going to invest in your first vegan item, make it this one. You'll be glad that you did.