I have new shoes! The Victoria from Vegan Wares. I picked them up on Tuesday, and the excitement hasn't worn off yet. Except one pair of sandles, a Christmas present from Mum and also from Vegan Wares, I haven't bought any shoes in over 3 years. Firstly, it was being in Japan with too-large feet, and then going vegetarian meant I put shoes in the "too hard basket". I finally mustered the energy to order some shoes late last winter, but ordered them in a colour that wasn't in stock, and then the shoe fabric got caught up in a still continuing customs saga in India. Then summer came, so I went back to ignoring shoes.
However, winter is back in earnest, and you can only ignore shoes for so long before they start falling apart on you. I've been wearing my knee-high black boots as every-day shoes; they're actually my only pair of closed in shoes (except my cross-trainers), that don't have holes that weren't part of the original design. I've still been occasionally wearing two other pairs of shoes despite their holes, but that does carry the risk of making me look somewhat more of a hippy than I'm going for.
Vegan Wares is a Melbourne-based shoe shop that actually make their shoes on site. Because they make the shoes themselves, I was able to have them customized to have a bit of extra width. I've always struggled to find shoes that don't kill my wider-than-average feet, one of the reasons I've put off shoe shopping for so long. I thought finding shoes that were wide enough and attractive shoes and vegan would just be impossible. Thankfully, it's not. Apart from the extra width, I just went with the standard black, but I could have chosen from a number of different colours, as well as contrasting stitching options. The semi-custom shoes took a bit over 3 weeks to be completed. To be honest, the fit of my custom shoes was actually slightly different across the top of the foot than the off-the shelf shoe (I double checked by trying on the original shoe again), but I don't think that's going to be a problem.
They're the most expensive shoes I've ever bought, but they seem comfortable, they have a reputation for lasting very well, and they're also designed to be repaired, thus further prolonging the lifespan. The high quality microfibre "leather" is supposed to very closely replicate the properties of leather - it's breathable, water repellent, and is supposed to even more durable than leather.
I haven't worn them long enough to judge if they're genuinely comfortable, or to report on the wear quality of the "leather". I'll report back after a few months to give a review on this. In the meantime, I have pretty, ethical shoes!
As an aside, it is really really difficult to take decent close-up photos of shoes while you are wearing them!