Vegan Docs vs Leather Docs: Which is more environmentally friendly?
Dr. Martens are so popular in today’s fashion world. I have a pair of brown leather chelsea boots from Dr. Martens, but have been seeing a lot of influencers I follow promote the Vegan Docs. I have been really curious to find out if Vegan Docs are less harmful to the environment that the Original Leather Docs. Below are my findings!
Vegan Dr. Martens
No animals are harmed to make Vegan Docs. #cruelty-free
Synthetic materials do not use as many natural resources (for example, water and land) to produce compared to natural fibers.
Vegan Docs are waterproof.
Vegan Docs are made from a 100% vegan synthetic material. On the Dr. Marten website they do not say what their Vegan leather is made out of besides just synthetic material. According to Good On You, “synthetic leather is usually made from PVC or polyurethane plastic (PU), both of which have been linked to carcinogenic substances.”
Since Vegan Docs are made with synthetic materials, which is a form of plastic, the material will never fully biodegrade.
There has been a product recall on a batch of Vegan cherry red Docs, due to the lining of the shoe containing the chemical benzidine, which can break down into a carcinogen. This incident was caused by a mishap at the Dr. Marten’s factory in Vietnam, which shows the lack of involvement the company has in their factories.
Synthetic materials use a significant amount of energy to produce compared to natural materials.
Vegan leather is not breathable, while leather has breathable pores.
Leather Dr. Martens
Leather lasts for a long time, if taken care of properly.
Dr. Marten uses leather tanneries that are accredited by the Leather Working Group, which aims “to develop and maintain a protocol that assesses the environmental compliance and performance capabilities of leather manufacturers and promotes sustainable and appropriate environmental business practices within the leather industry.”
Leather uses a lot of natural resources to make, such as land for cattle. This can also lead to deforestation.
Leather requires so much water to produce. According to Good On You “16,000 litres of water are needed to produce just 1kg of leather. That’s over 60 full bathtubs worth.”
People that work in leather tanneries often suffer from health problems like respiratory and skin diseases due to chemical exposure.
Dr. Martens is not super transparent about where their leather comes from. On their website Dr. Martens says that they “put a lot of emphasis on ensuring that it is sourced responsibly and all leather used in our products is a by-product of the meat industry.” Yet, there is no proof about this fact.
*Dr. Martens no longer provides a lifetime warranty
Overall, both Leather and Vegan Docs have a lot of negatives. I think that for me, if I want to purchase a pair of Docs in the future, I will try and thrift second hand leather docs. I personally do not like the idea of wearing a shoe that is made of plastic, that will never decompose. Let me know what you think in the comments below!!