Parade Shoes Non leather



My daughter has recently joined her local air cadets and we have been asked to purchase some cadet shoes for her, not a problem, or so we thought!. My daughter is vegan and chooses not to wear clothing or shoes made from or containing leather so we are on the lookout for non leather parade shoes. I found a couple of companies, cadetuk and adventure1 although I think they are one and the same, they had non leather parade shoes but only in a size 3 and they won’t be getting any more stock. Does anyone know where I could buy non leather parade shoes please?

Many thanks



this is a first for me…!

I have hit Google and found the following

Black shoe -

Black Boot -

For shoes that is a lot of dollar, but £80 for boots is a fair price (I paid close to that for my last leather pair)

not sure if that suits your needs/budget but is what i found that are close matches to leather version footwear


In the past I came across a cadet who for allergy reasons had the same issue, partly down to lack of availability of substitutes had plain black pumps, which would probably be a good stop gap.


“Pumps” or what Britain would traditionally call a “court shoe” cannot be worn for drill or parade however, where lace-up shoes are the only permissible option. That’s a matter of regulation but also one which is based on sense. Laced shoes are well attached to the foot and unlikely to slip off when turning. Court shoes - by their very design - slip off.

Since lace-up will be required for those occasions I’d be wary of spending out twice.


Cadet dress regs do not allow for female cadets to wear court shoes. Ballet flats, which people seem to have a love for, are also not allowed I’m afraid for anyone, cadet or staff.
Good luck with the shoe hunt.


Sort of - according to the AP cadets can wear court shoes, but only in No 2 (not 2C), only with the skirt, and not when marching. Which means that the occasions on which they would actually get to wear them are pretty few and far between.


Unless you get lucky, I can see you being skinned for these. The prices are obscene.
Best value seem to be DMs, but I seem to recall something years ago about cadets wearing DMs. At least with DMs if she left after a little while, they are OK for general wear, as opposed to ‘cadet’ shoes which might not see the light of day again.

It depends how vegan she is as there could be problems with some general uniform items.


Yes - on refelction I think that there might be wool in quite a few items, including the jumper, trousers/skirt/slacks and the beret - although I don’t know for sure without checking the labels.


The berets are felt which is a wool / fur by-product, if it wasn’t natural the shaping wouldn’t happen which requires a degree of shrinkage and the bands are invariably leather.

You couldn’t ask about the sourcing as MOD procurement couldn’t guarantee anything, given they can’t even sort out contracts.


Some vegans buy second hand leather products as a way of not giving the companies profit but still giving said product a life and not wasted.

Some of the thinking behind it is also the lasting damage to the environment by just discarding said products.

There is also a lot bigger environmental footprint with synthetic products.
Not to mention huge amounts of rainforests destroyed for soya farming.

It’s incredibly hard to do completely and not everyone agrees with it, but with understanding and some out of the box thinking and practicality you can make it work.


Most(?) vegans are OK with wool because the animal isn’t killed for it - although some might argue that farming harms the animals so it’s still off limits. In the latter case, though, as veganism isn’t a protected characteristic, her options would be wear a wool beret or don’t join the RAFAC, as I understand it.


Removed a trolling post.


It’s not the felt so much that would be a problem, as the band, which is leather.


Surely that would be vegetarians? Veganism is about avoiding all animal-based products whether or not the animal survives the process.


That’s a fair point actually, after all they won’t eat eggs or drink milk. In which case the beret is a difficulty.


One of my crew members (RAF sqn) was a vegan. However, he said that whilst he would strictly adhere to non-animal products as much as possible, it was his choice to join the RAF as a career path, & therefore he accepted that a limited number of uniform items had to be worn in order to follow that path, for example, flying boots, flying gloves, shoes.


The beret’s probably the easiest to find an analogue - getting trousers and jumpers in the right pattern will be the really tricky bit.


I’m not sure where you can find non-leather parade shoes but if she is strictly vegan, there may be an issue with other parts of the uniform such as the leather band around the bottom of the beret. Would she not be willing to make an exception?