Forum: Irish / Irish - Hardshoe

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Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID (karma: 1)
By VanillaSmith
On Thu May 05, 2011 02:49 AM

Hi there,

I know in 2008 there already was a thread concerning vegan (non-leather) shoes for ID; but unfortunately it's closed now, so I'll start a new one.

I've been trying to find vegan hard and soft shoes for quite some time now, and unfortunately haven't been able to find any or to convince any of the professional manufacturers to make some for me.

But: UK-based cruelty-free footwear manufacturer 'ethical WARES' told me recently, they need "about 12 pairs per style to make it even possibly viable" producing vegan shoes for Irish Dance - and well, that's not too much. And as 'ethical WARES' already offer a whole range of high quality vegan dancing shoes (just have a look at their website, I can't post links yet), I think they have the knowledge to produce some that would be worth their money...

So is there anyone else still looking for vegan Irish Dance shoes? Until now, I found 4 people looking for vegan ghillies and 4 people willing to order hard shoes, so 8 people per style are still missing...

[Posted this in the Softshoe category as well.]

All the best,

Vanilla

44 Replies to Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID

re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By LoRo
On Thu May 05, 2011 12:17 PM
Have you tried contacting irish dance shoe makers instead? They're experienced in making Irish dance shoes so you get something that would work properly and I remember reading about someone who ordered halmor shoes in fake leather. I'm not vegan/vegetarian, so I'm not in need of such shoes, but I'd be very wary of purchasing any shoes for Irish dance from a non-specialist shoe-maker, even if the shoe maker has experience of other dance shoes.

Also, I don't know if they've got rid of it, but CLRG certainly used to have a rule about acceptable materials for Irish dance shoes, and I'm fairly sure that it said that only leather was allowed.
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By VanillaSmith
On Thu May 05, 2011 01:59 PM
Dear LoRo,

thanks for commenting on that. I totally share your concerns on purchasing ID shoes from a non-specialist shoemaker, but at the moment I see absolutely no other choice. I've asked Rutherford, Fays and Inishfree (they produce patent pomps) and other professional dance shoe manufacturers and shoemakers for vegan hard/soft shoes, but none was interested in making them at all :(

But I haven't asked Halmor and this absolutely sounds worth writing an email :) Maybe I'll find the posting you mentioned so I can read/ask if this worked out. Thanks a lot for that hint!

I have no idea about the CLRG rules on the shoe's material, but as now even patent and weird colors seem to be allowed, I think they got rid of it?
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By RinceorNosretep
On Thu May 05, 2011 03:45 PM
The patented/colors other than black are currently NOT allowed for competition, only performances such as parade of champions, school performances, shows, etc. For performances anything goes, really.
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By seannettaPremium member
On Thu May 05, 2011 04:25 PM
Just to be clear: the rules technically only address hardshoes, and they are mostly concerned with the composition of the tip and heel. It says leather or "leather composite". I see no reason why fake leather would not be acceptable, since there is often no way to tell from a distance whether a shoe is leather or fake leather.

The rules also do not address colour of shoes at all, so technically speaking there's no rule against coloured softshoes.

You can find the official CLRG costume and shoe rules here:
www.irish-dancer.co.uk . . .
and the amendments to the costume rules are here:
www.clrg.ie . . .
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By LoRo
On Thu May 05, 2011 04:31 PM
Have you contacted hullachan? The guy who owns hullachan is really helpful, and may be able to give you some advice, or perhaps even make you some special order shoes using non animal leather.
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By DancingDrummerPremium member
On Thu May 05, 2011 05:51 PM
Fist off, I'm not an Irish dancer and so have no idea on how strict the requirements are but there are highland dancing shoes (similar to your soft shoes) easily available online that are made from a synthetic material that you may be able to get away with. As an added bonus they come in a variety of different colours. See them here billyforsyth.co.uk . . .

I guess it's also worth asking if there is any possibility of them being made in an Irish sytle, particularly if you think there may be a reasonable market for them.

Hope this helps.
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By Slipjig_23
On Thu May 05, 2011 05:53 PM
Yes!! I'm a vegan and have been looking high and low for vegan Irish dance shoes! The fact that all the choices are leather absolutely kills me. I'm looking to buy new softshoes anyway, so I might as well buy a new pair of hardshoes while I'm at it, if they're vegan. I'm definitely be interested in this. (:

Though I agree with the others- maybe you should contact Hullachan and Halmor. Irish dance shoes have finicky designs and after getting so used to the likes of Rutherfords and Fays, I'm not so keen on letting just anybody make me my dance shoes... That said, I'd probably take any sort of vegan shoe that would at least do the job adequately.

I'll write to Hullachan and Halmor as well, by the way. (:
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By TuniePremium member
On Thu May 05, 2011 06:00 PM
^^ NO. Highland ghillies and Irish ghillies are very VERY different.
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By reel_faerie85member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu May 05, 2011 06:48 PM
^ It would be worth contacting the shoemaker to find out what material is used and whether he would be able to make irish ghillies. The design is not that much different. If not could he pass the information about materials onto ID shoe makers.
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By VanillaSmith
On Fri May 06, 2011 02:44 AM
Edited by VanillaSmith (234677) on 2011-05-06 03:21:20
@seannetta: Thanks a lot, great to finally have the rules in black & white! :)
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By VanillaSmith
On Fri May 06, 2011 02:49 AM
Edited by VanillaSmith (234677) on 2011-05-06 03:23:17
@LoRo: No, I haven't, but for I've been told Hullachan is absolutely against patent leather (and even wrote an article about it in Irish Dancing & Culture mag), I thought it was no use asking... Maybe I'll give it a try :)
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By Anon1234567890member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri May 06, 2011 02:50 AM
OP, when you contacted the existing Irish dance shoe manufacturers what did you actually say? They might be a bit more forthcoming if you could offer to source the suitable leather-replacement yourself and hand it over to them to get the shoes made. Perhaps that's what's blocking them.

Bring advertising and PR into the equation as well. Say for example you're talking to O'Reilly's Dance Shoes - well, tell them that every other shoe manufacturer has said no, and suggest that they might use the fact that they can do vegan shoes as a selling point. Perhaps get a survey or petition online and put the link here and on all the other ID message boards - contact the magazines and see if they'd put a link on their website. If you can show them that there's a demand they might be more interested - as it is, they probably think there's only one or two people out there who want vegan shoes. That might still be the case of course but you can but try if it's important to you.
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By VanillaSmith
On Fri May 06, 2011 02:53 AM
Edited by VanillaSmith (234677) on 2011-05-06 03:22:18
@DancingDrummer: Wow, thanks a lot for that link! My vegan friend who is doing Scottish Country Dance and who was desperately looking for a cruelty-free option, will love you forever! :)
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By VanillaSmith
On Fri May 06, 2011 03:05 AM
Well, sorry for the chaotic replying, I thought the reply button would post my reply directly under the citated posting. Seems to work different here than in other forums ^^

So, great to hear there's someone else looking for leather-free shoes ! *hug* So we're at least 4 for soft and 5 for hard shoes now. Sounds great! Hopefully we'll reach other people looking for those one day, too.

I already have offered those materials (well at least I told the manufacturers I know about them) but it's a relly good idea to ask the highland dancing guy what material he uses - and if he's willing to do Irish ghillies as well.

Oh, well, and thanks a lot to Slipjig_23 for writing Hullachan and Halmor, too (I wrote to Halmor last night). Maybe it's easier for someone whose mother tongue is english...

Crossing fingers we will finally find a solution...! Ahh, I'm really excited about all that :) *jumparound*
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By Anon1234567890member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri May 06, 2011 03:10 AM
Well, sorry for the chaotic replying, I thought the reply button would post my reply directly under the citated posting. Seems to work different here than in other forums ^^

No, that doesn't happen here. Everything's chronological - otherwise it would disrupt the flow of the conversation. But what you can do is hit 'edit' in the bottom right hand corner of your post to add to what you've said before. You have a two-hour window to edit your post. Sometimes the mods will remove a post if you post twice in succession rather than editing the first one.
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By VanillaSmith
On Fri May 06, 2011 03:19 AM
OK, thanks for helping!
Gret news! Hal(l)mor(e) will make us cruelty-free reel and jig shoes!
By VanillaSmith
On Tue May 10, 2011 08:18 AM
Hey there,

just got wonderful news from Halmor, who are now called Hallmore (www.hallmoredanceproducts.ie): they just agreed on making vegan boys reel shoes and jig shoes for us! Now they are asking how many of each we need and in which sizes.

So, now it's your turn: who ever wants cruelty-free high-quality Irish Dance shoes directly from Ireland, please let me know as soon as possible which kind of shoes you want and at which sizes so they can get a prize on them and tell us about it. We can place the orders afterwards.

Very excited,

Vanilla

P.S. @LoRo: Thank you so much once more for the Halmor tip!
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue May 10, 2011 08:21 AM
I'm just curious to know what they would be made out of and if that material would work as well as leather does for dance shoes... leather seems to mould well to the foot.

Just a curiousity.
Leather alternatives
By VanillaSmith
On Tue May 10, 2011 09:24 AM
@By LlamaLlamaDuck:

Well, I don't know yet which material Hallmore will use, but there's plenty of leather alternatives out there, just like the "high-tech synthetic microfibre material which is breathable and, in most situations, more durable than leather", that 'Vegan Wares' use (www.veganwares.com . . .), the 'Lorica' called material which VeganErotica.com uses: "Imported from Italy, this synthetic leather breathes, is permeable to water vapor, is water repellent, stains are easily removable and it can be machine-washed. It is resistant to tearing, splitting, scratching and rubbing, and is extremely comfortable. It is
used around the world for sporting equipment such as shoes and gloves, and can be found in interior furniture and accessories such as belts, bags, cases, and other small synthetic leather goods." (www.veganerotica.com . . .), the various types which 'Vegetarian Shoes' use and whose characteristics are explained on their website: www.vegetarian-shoes.co.uk . . . and many, many more...

So I'll let you know if I find out about it :)
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By wildwoodflowermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue May 10, 2011 11:01 AM
^Having worn real leather and a couple different vegan ballet slippers where you notice the difference more so than in the upper is in the sole. Especially on marley or other synthetic flooring there is a different feel, but you adapt pretty quickly. Also, not all materials are as repairable as leather, so scuffs and scrapes have to be filled with a putty before being polished out.
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed May 11, 2011 06:48 AM
thats right the sole would be different as well... I'm really curious as to how they would turn out. I'm a meatatarian... so no need for vegan shoes for me right now, but you never know if things will change in the future.
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By wildwoodflowermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed May 11, 2011 07:12 AM
I'm not vegan or any sort of veggietarian, but I have a lot of allergies, and sometimes the chemicals used to treat leather give me a rash. Irish dance hasn't been so bad with socks, but in ballet I had all kinds of itchy problems. :P
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID
By VanillaSmith
On Thu May 12, 2011 02:57 PM
Hi there,

sorry for crossposting this thread in the 'softshoes' catergory - didn't know this wasn't allowed.

@rosalinde: I haven't been successfull yet in finding someone who would make Ghillies from a non-leather material. Nevertheless, there are Scottish soft shoes made from a "super-flexible microfibre material" available from Billy Forsyth, Scotland (see billyforsyth.co.uk . . .), so I think it might be possible to produce Irish Ghillies from the same or another material, too. Billy Forsyth hasn't replied to me on that issue yet.

@Realtreble: You're absolutely right with your arguments concerning oil and the petroleum industry, it's got horrific impacts (see Deepwater Horizon) and we should stop the use of oil as soon as possible (well, as we've reached Peak Oil as early as 2006, we will have to cut our dependance on that resource soon, anyway). By the way: Do you use plastic bags? (We don't.)

But: not all synthetic materials are made from oil/petroleum anymore. Some are made from plants, some are even biodegradeable. You can read something about those materials at www.vegetarian-shoes.co.uk . . . or at www.veganerotica.com . . .; possible resources of those ingredients are explained i.e. at Wikipedia. Many of the manufacturers of faux leather and other synthetic materials have started producing those for ethical reasons and that's why they are moving heaven and earth to develop eco-friendly materials which harm as few creatures as possible. Plus: have you ever heard of the immense and absolutely awful impacts of the leather industry? Of thousands of people getting sick and even dying of the harsh chemicals used for leather production? Of children working in the factories? Of whole areas in which the soil gets poisoned by leaking lye and dye and simply everything dies? Just besides factory farming, animal transportation, and slaughter, of course. en.wikipedia.org . . . again has some information on that.

I'm far from knowing everything about the production of fake materials, but for me the choice is clear and I'm pretty sure, the manufacturers of synthetic materials will make the finest eco- and animal-friendly materials as soon as it's possible: maybe now or in a short while.

If you want to read more about the topic: unreasonable.org . . . has a nice little article about it.

Still very happy about us getting vegan hard shoes,

Vanilla
re: Vegan hard (and soft) shoes for ID (karma: 1)
By seacaptain
On Thu May 12, 2011 03:29 PM
I'm pretty sure, the manufacturers of synthetic materials will make the finest eco- and animal-friendly materials as soon as it's possible: maybe now or in a short while.


Really?! Since when have corporations & manufacturers had social and environmental concerns first and foremost in their business models? These people are concerned only with their bottom line. They will not do the right thing "as soon as it's possible" ... because it's always been possible to pay their workers fair wages, buy organic materials, etc etc.

I don't really mind your wanting non leather shoes, but i think it's delusional to think that a) b/c it isn't animal based that it is the more socially conscious option, and b) that the synthetics will be green soon.
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