Beyond Skin

Wait! That’s not food. It’s a shoe. A beautiful shoe.

I know this is a food blog, but since I’m doing so much recipe testing at the moment I thought I might occasionally feature companies or products I particularly like.

And I have fallen head over heels with Beyond Skin and their shoes.

I gave up leather and suede about 10 years ago. I had been vegetarian for ages but it took me an amazingly long time to make the connection between leather and animals. Since then I’ve always found it difficult buying shoes. I have several pairs from Vegetarian Shoes and I have worn my beloved Wombats forever. But the range isn’t huge and they certainly don’t sell anything that could be described as glamorous.

Other than that, I do buy cheap shoes that just happen to not contain leather or suede as I find them, and turn a blind eye to what the glue is made of, what the working conditions in the factory may be like, and the environmental impacts of the materials.

So that’s why I was delighted to discover Beyond Skin and their beautiful range of vegan, ethical shoes. Yes, they’re not cheap. But quality isn’t cheap and nor is producing shoes that give the makers good working conditions. I can easily spend £20 on cheap shoes that I never wear because the material they’re made from is so damn uncomfy. Much better to stop doing that and buy from Beyond Skin instead.

I was fortunate to spend some time in their office at the weekend. It was chaos, shoes everywhere, some boxed, some not. There were samples from Summer 2010 collections as well as Autumn 2009. But it was great fun, with lovely staff who know their products and obviously care about their business. I tried on lots of pairs including samples of the new flat pumps which will be available soon. Believe me when I tell you that if you need shoes that are comfortable yet look smart you will want these in at least 3 fabrics.

I now own 3 pairs of BS shoes and was incredibly lucky to buy some beautiful bag samples that they had had made up. And I am checking my e-mail desperately waiting for news on the pumps.

No-one has given me any free shoes in order to write this review. I just wanted to pay some serious credit to a great company where you can buy beautiful products and feel good while you are doing it!