Spending a lot of time in nature has several advantages, one of which is to deeply connect you to your surroundings. To remind you that you are part of a big, beautiful ecosystem. A functioning, living, breathing entity that both provides for you, and is an intrinsic part of you. A desire to be more fully a part of nature, and also to protect it.
Unfortunately, this makes it really, really hard to buy hiking boots.
Recently, I needed some new boots and when I started looking I encountered a world of unsustainably sourced materials, horrible working conditions for boot-makers, confusing materials/fabrics/glues, dodgy-sounding shoe reviews and a lot of impressive sounding websites. Add to this that I personally try not to use products made of animals, like to know where & how my products were made, and prefer to buy things that last a really long time (and ideally have some sort of post-consumer-life plan for the materials) and it made my options quite hard to find. Fortunately a bit of Googling and a Facebook post provided a lot of useful information, which I've now compiled here. So, while I definitely have not trail-tested all the below boots, I compiled the recommendations in case this is useful for anyone else. Feel free to message me if you think anything needs to be added or you have any sweet hiking boot recommendations.
This awesome blog has an amazing list of boots that are vegan, produced by a range of different companies, and is a great place to start. They also emailed a bunch of the major shoe producers and found that Columbia, KEEN, Oboz, Salewa, Salomon, Scarpa, The North Face, & Vasque have no vegan options at this time.
Vegetarian Shoes is a small business based in the UK. Their shoes are vegan and produced locally. They make heaps of rad looking shoes, including a bunch of hiking boots.
Avesu is a German based business that stock a range of vegan brands, and only stock shoes made from ethically sourced, environmentally friendly materials by workers who are treated fairly and with respect.
Eco Vegan Shoes are based in the Netherlands and also have a range of different shoes.
MooShoes are a cruelty-free store based in New York and have a range of shoes & accessories, including these beautiful (but pricey) boots.
Vegan Wares are based in Melbourne, Australia and stock cruelty-free, environmentally sustainable shoes.
I ended up buying Barefoot Hiker FG boots (I'm in Spain right now so they were pretty local, made in the UK). Will let you know how they go!!
One additional point: If you don't need them, don't buy them. Buy local and second hand where you can. Repair and reuse where possible. Consume less, and spend your hard-earned cash on experiences, not stuff.