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Vegan in the Region.

I had been putting off buying new shoes because it is tough finding non-leather options for men, especially men with wide feet like mine.

But the pain in my feet from my worn-out shoes convinced me it was time to find replacements.

It used to be that the only non-leather options were canvas gym shoes, uncomfortable bad plastic shoes that left your feet in pools of sweat or very expensive shoes ordered from England.

Fortunately things have changed.

I used to buy my non-leather shoes from Payless Shoe Source.

But I discovered a growing number of better quality, non-leather shoes at various other stores, including Kohl's. I am guessing the shoe companies are using more man-made materials in order to save money.

If that's the case, it works for me. Anything it takes to reduce our reliance on the exploitation of animals and get away from the environmentally damaging leather industry.

I was able to find a couple pairs of casual dress shoes that look very much like leather and a pair of high-quality gym shoes.

It is also very easy these days to find non-leather belts, wallets and I assume, purses. My hemp wallet has far outlasted any leather version I ever owned.

The important thing in all this is not to get overwhelmed and to transition away from leather and other animal products at a manageable pace. There is just no need to cause suffering to animals for our clothing, just like there is no need cause suffering to eat well.

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Bob is a 22-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.