Fashion & Beauty

#VeganStories: My Love For Animals Took Over My Love For Shoes!

  • Zeenat Shabrin
  • 1156

From Steve Madden to Aldo & Tresmode, I was the kind of girl who would often splurge on a pair of shoes that would cost me a bomb while compromising on meals for weeks after weeks! I cannot forget the times when I didn’t step out with my friends only to save every rupee so I could buy those glitzy Manolo Blahnik pumps. The same luminous ones that Mr.Big proposes Carrie Bradshaw with, in 'Sex and the City.'


vegan for animals

I would get a certain type of high when I would wake up every morning and see my countless shoe racks stocked up with a variety of shoes. From shiny stilettos to the innumerable wedges and tall boots, all lined up in atune. But besides all the razzmatazz, there was something extremely important that I hadn’t realised! The actual price I was paying for my obsession. My compulsive love for shoes was indirectly causing harm to millions of animals. This was a major contradiction in my life. Coming from a place where I love all things fancy and fashionable, and also being highly sensitive to animal sentiments, I was torn. It became unendurable to sleep every night with the guilt of being responsible for such cruelty. There had to be a change. It was a decision I made overnight.

I let go of all the love I had for those eye candy shoes and everything else that I was contributing to make the animals lives more painful.

After three months of being a vegan I had completely stopped buying anything that contained leather. But something was still bothering me. All those shoes I had beautifully placed in those racks. Suddenly, my obsession was turning into my worst nightmare!

vegan for animals

My love for a new box of shoes was now reminding me of boxes that smell of dead animals skins. The animals who had been traumatized and brutally murdered so that I could have the box of shoes. That was the period where I went through severe depression. The cries of the helpless animals haunted me and that's when I decided to put an end to this misery that I had been bringing upon myself.

I still remember that time when I went back home from Pune, where I was pursuing higher studies. That time in Guwahati, I had a personal agenda. I was carrying almost all my shoes with the idea of giving them away to people who needed them. I gathered all my shoes at home and the ones I had brought with me and did what needed to be done. I took a deep breath and came back home and I can say that I had the best sleep that night. So peaceful, so relieved. I cuddled with my cats and felt a sense of freedom!

After switching over from everything that was making me feel guilty, I turned to all the cruelty-free options that were available. To my surprise I learnt that I could still chase my passion in a noble way! I came across brands like Forever 21, PUMA, Crocs, Stella McCartney and some more which had similar options! The best part, I could still pick the vegan ones from my favorite brands too. Steve Madden, for example is listed on PETA's Shopping Guide for it’s alternative leather options. I felt a little more confident about walking into these stores again!

vegans for animals

Try and keep these things in mind -

  • Reading the shoe composition correctly is the key! Whether it’s leather, coated with leather or textile, you need to read carefully.
  • Recognize the symbols on the shoe which indicate what material the shoe is made up of!
  • Vegan material in shoes will almost always cost lesser than leather. 

I still love wearing exquisite shoes as they make me feel special, but nothing can be compared to being able to look into the eyes of a non-human and whisper “I am your friend”. Nothing is worth the pain that these animals go through for mankind. Nothing in this world is more expensive than a being’s life. One thing I am fairly certain of and can proudly say is that my love for animals took over my love for shoes and I couldn’t be more elated.


Zeenat Shabrin

A vegan, animal activist, and poet at heart, I consciously made the decision to live a cruelty-free life without compromising my love for fashion and food,

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