Finding vegan products has become more commonplace these days, as many locals are living a vegan lifestyle. Being a vegan, however, is more than simply not consuming any animal products. It often consists of not using leather products, not using products tested on animals and more. Luckily, for any vegan shoe lovers out there, we’ve got you covered — enter Loyal Footwear. Keep reading to learn all about Loyal Footwear, a vegan footwear brand based in Hoboken.
The background of Loyal Footwear is rooted in shoemakers and teaching shoemaking classes. These classes were taught Shoe Space in Brooklyn, the other business owned by one of the Loyal Footwear’s business partners, Keiko Hirosue.
Keiko learned shoemaking back in 2007 and set up her studio space in 2009. Other Loyal Footwear business owner, Rebecca. Heykes, went to Cordwainers, another shoemaker, in London in 2009.
As of today, both have a decade of handmade shoemaking expertise, as well as some corporate gigs under their respective belts. From when they met in 2014 to 2015, Keiko and Rebecca grew teaching shoemaking into consulting, and in 2016, the two combined their knowledge to create a small batch production spin-off as a second business, Brooklyn Shoe Factory.
How Loyal Footwear Came to Be
In January 2017 Rebecca’s husband went from being a vegetarian to a vegan and she soon followed. The two had a mostly vegan wedding later that year in October. About a week after their wedding, they moved the Brooklyn Shoe Factory to Hoboken on October 17th, 2017. From there, they continued serving outside clients, and as a vegan, Rebecca was getting a bit torn between their clients only believing that leather-only shoes were quality and the fact that not enough vegan entrepreneurs were seeking her business out.
From there, Rebecca and Keiko had been kicking around the idea of creating a factory-direct line of shoes to help aid in the peaks and valleys of client-based contract manufacturing since 2017, and by 2018 when they began developing this separate line it was clear that it was the perfect opportunity to showcase quality, vegan shoemaking. From there, Loyal Footwear was born.
For the pair, Loyal Footwear is the convergence of all of their beliefs of how to be a better brand + business all in one product line — lower environmental impact, raw materials, vegan materials, and recycled materials all sustainably designed by being durable and repairable, made to order, or made in small batches. And most importantly, each shoe they make is designed for everyday wear, prioritizing fit and comfort. Being small and agile, the business duo would even like to become bespoke someday when the time is right. No two feet are the same and mass market shoes are not designed for the variety of shapes and sizes we come in as humans.
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Keiko came up with the name Loyal and in winter 2018, Loyal Footwear had its soft launch at a few local holiday pop-up shops. Keiko and Rebecca were looking for a name that lived on with a broader concept, to allow them to grow and change and further implement the best practices in sustainability while remaining true to their beliefs and making quality vegan shoes.
Have you tried out Loyal’s shoes yet? Let us know in the comments!