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Nae vegan shoes review: ab-shoe-lutely amazing?

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Nae vegan shoes review: ab-shoe-lutely amazing?

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NAE, which stands for No Animal Exploitation, is a vegan Portuguese shoes and accessories brand dedicated to using ethical materials. From cork sandals to recycled PET trainers, Piñatex boots to organic cotton heels, they offer a diverse array of footwear.

But do they stand the test of time? Do they provide comfort and durability? Will they light up your sole? Or will they flip-flop into your donation pile?

Find out in my comprehensive NAE vegan shoes review!

Summary

4/5

NAE offers a diverse selection of trendy styles made from various vegan materials, ensuring durability and comfort. Despite being a tad pricey, their high-quality shoes showcase detailed stitchwork and great attention to detail. However, watch out for potential sizing discrepancies and consult their sizing charts for accuracy.

Pros

Cons

Or Poppet will be very unimpressed…

And, if you do decide to buy, use our exclusive code for 15% off (only available via their online store):

NAEVEGSIS15

NAE actually stands for No Animal Exploitation so, you betcha, they are 100% vegan! None of their footwear or any of their additional products are made from animal skin, fur or other meat by-products. Instead, they use plant-based, recycled and synthetic materials. They’re also transparent about their use of microfibres in their vegan leather, which are made from recycled sources wherever possible.

What’s more, they manufacture all of their shoes in certified Portuguese factories, which means they can keep an eye on the ethical working conditions for humans as well!

If you’re vegan, investing in animal-free footwear is undoubtedly worthwhile as it helps reduce direct contribution to animal suffering. Even for non-ethical vegans, selecting cruelty-free brands and materials wisely can mitigate climate change impacts. Contrary to popular belief, real leather is not biodegradable; the tanning process involves numerous harmful chemicals that can harm soil, animals and human health. In fact, according to a 2023 report, chemicals used in leather tanning, including lead, cyanide and formaldehyde, contribute to air and soil pollution, posing significant health risks to nearby communities.

I will note, however, that greenwashing is rife in the industry. You might want to conduct extensive research before making a purchase, considering factors such as material types, sourcing, supply chain transparency and adherence to sustainability and ethical standards. If a company lacks transparency regarding their vegan shoe materials, it raises valid questions about their practices.

Nae Shoes Review

About Nae Vegan Shoes

NAE, which stands for No Animal Exploitation, is a vegan shoes and accessories brand that manufactures its products in ethical factories in Portugal. Founded in 2008, their mission to provide stylish shoes without using cruel, animal-derived materials still holds true today. 

Poppet the cat is sniffing the NAE vegan shoes
"Yes, they smell cruelty-free."

Comfort and durability

As you may be able to tell from the slightly dirty appearance of my Daras in the pictures 😅, I’ve already put quite a few miles on my NAE trainers, including spending an entire day on my feet in the lab. And I have to say, aside from them being a tad too big, they’re incredibly comfortable.

Additionally, given that my feet point slightly inwards (a club feet trait), I tend to scuff my shoes more than most people. Fortunately, these trainers have held up remarkably well, remaining intact and undamaged. It’s been a few months since I’ve had them and I’d say they’re quite durable.

I’ve even managed to spill coffee on them (I’m notoriously clumsy) but they wiped clean easily.

A worn pair of sneakers with tied up laces. The picture is taken from above.
I've already walked a fair few miles in these shoes

Size and fit

Whilst the shoes are comfortable and durable, I did encounter a slight issue with sizing; the Dara Whites seem to run a bit large, causing them to slip. Since the insoles have quite a rough texture, I find this slipping motion to be quite irritating against my feet (I’ve just done some research and apparently, I suffer from tactile defensiveness). Given my wide feet (due to bilateral talipes/club feet), I doubt sizing down would resolve the fit issue, as the shoes, despite their chunky appearance, are relatively narrow.

On the other hand (or foot), I’ve also read online reviews that mention some of NAE’s shoes run small. So make sure you measure your feet and check their sizing charts!

I do really like their big, fat, soft laces though! Great for my fumbly hands and they help me to tie them up nice and snug around the instep.

A peek into the inside of a NAE shoe. You can see the rough insole.
The Dara White's have a very textured insole.

Materials

I often joke that I possess a reverse superpower: instead of zapping villains with static, I end up zapping myself. Sometimes you can even see the spark span a good few centimetres between me and somebody else. Despite my efforts to moisturise and wear non-synthetic clothing during the winter, I accumulate so many positive ions (what can I say; I’m just such an upbeat kinda gal!) that I experience static shocks from nearly every conductive surface I touch. Unfortunately, certain shoes crafted from synthetic materials can exacerbate this issue, including my NAE Dara Whites.

As winter comes to an end, I can finally put away the coat hanger I’ve been carrying around for the past five months and relax without the fear of getting shocked. But that was my fault anyway for ordering NAE’s Dara Whites rather than their rubber-soled Noah Piñatex High-Top Vegan Sneaker Boots. Unfortunately, wearing synthetic materials is just one of the problems I have with vegan shoes (a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the sake of the animals, nonetheless).

Anyway, I digress! The good news is that NAE offer all sorts of materials, including organic cotton, cork and Piñatex. For those who don’t share my unfortunate superpower, they also make shoes and accessories from AppleSkin, On Steam Bioeco and recycled PET.

Check out their range of vegan materials here!

Poppet the cat has spotted the vegan shoes on the table. She looks dismayed that someone would risk giving themselves bad luck!
"Who put these here; don't they know it's bad luck to put shoes on the table?"

Range of styles

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I can’t wear heels or strappy sandals, which means that I can’t enjoy the fantastic range that NAE has on offer. But I can admire them from afar. They also make all sorts of boots, Birkenstock-like buckle sandals, flats, loafers, high-tops and trainers. Here are a few of my faves:

Plus, they’re gender-inclusive and they sell an array of accessories, from bags to braces!

A comment about customer service

Although I haven’t personally interacted with NAE’s customer service, I’ve done my due diligence and read through hundreds of online NAE vegan shoes reviews to gauge their service quality. I’ve come across varied feedback. Nevertheless, whilst some encountered negative experiences in the past, recent reviews suggest improvements and highlight more positive interactions, indicating a shift in service quality.

I also feel like the pandemic may have impacted deliveries in the past, particularly to the UK. However, in 2024, I’m currently situated in the UK and got my trainers delivered without a problem; they arrived in less than a week!

Since we can’t try them on until we’ve received them, customer service is an incredibly important factor to consider when buying a pair of shoes online. I encourage you to share your experiences in the comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

A pair of Dara White sneakers on a black polished table. They are laced up with thick laces.

Where can you buy NAE

If you’re lucky enough to be in Lisbon, then you can visit their store!

If not, you can buy NAE from their online shop.

Alternatively, you can buy them from Amazon.

However, our 15% discount code is only valid via their online store:

NAEVEGSIS15

The Vegan Sisters' verdict

I really love the chunky white aesthetic of these trainers and I’m impressed by the variety of funky and trendy styles offered by the brand, all available in a range of materials to suit individual preferences. Choosing a vegan material for shoes can feel like exploring different plant-based milks for the first time: it’s a matter of trial and error. However, the cost of NAE’s vegan shoes might be a bit prohibitive in this regard.

The stitchwork is impressively detailed and of high quality. I particularly appreciate the brand’s longstanding commitment to cruelty-free practices. Whilst the shoes are comfortable and durable, I did encounter a slight issue with sizing; the Dara Whites seem to run a bit large, causing them to slip and cause irritation. I would recommend consulting their sizing charts and measuring your feet to find the right fit!

NAE Vegan Shoes reviews

Range and diversity
5/5
Style
5/5
Size and fit
3.6/5
Comfort and durability
4.4/5
Price
3.5/5
Vegan ethos
5/5
Overall
4/5

Get your tootsies in these footsies

NAE Vegan Shoes discount code

Get 15% off with our exclusive discount code (only available via their online store):

NAEVEGSIS15

Alice

Alice

Nomadic writer, scientist, and amateur mycologist working hard to build a global online vegan community | I write stuff for a living. Mainly about vegan things, science, fungi, and travel. Curious? Head over to Alice's Cerebrum to learn more.

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