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PETA Gives TOMS “Compassionate Business” Award

With its prodigal use of leather and suede, TOMS isn’t your typical People for Ethical Treatment of Animals–approved retailer. Yet the shoe—and bag, and sunglass, and coffee—purveyor managed to snag the animal-rights group’s annual Compassionate Business Award, thanks to the former’s ever-expanding selection of cruelty-free merchandise. “PETA is recognizing TOMS for creating beautiful cruelty-free items that demonstrate that a reliance on animal leather is becoming a thing of the past,” Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, said in a statement. “TOMS vegan shoes prove how easy it is to stay on trend while protecting animals and the environment.”


Cows that are killed for their leather endure the same abuses as their counterparts in the meat industry, including dehorning, castration, and branding—”all without painkillers,” Newkirk said.

“Animal agriculture is a major producer of the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change and, according to the United Nations, is ‘a top contributor to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global,'” she added.

Search for “vegan” in the search box at, and you’ll find plenty of non-animal options such as faux leather, cotton canvas, linen, hemp, and even recycled plastic bottles.

You’re not limited to TOMS’s signature alpargatas, either. Silhouettes range ballet flats to desert-boot wedges.

Even better? For every pair of shoes you buy, TOMS donates a pair to a child in need.