It used to be difficult to find a high-quality, stylish vegan winter coat, but times are changing. These days more and more consumers are clued-up on the unethical implications and animal cruelty behind down and fur-lined jackets…and brands are responding.
Move over Canada Goose! Compassion is the fashion!
If you’re searching for a jacket that not only looks fantastic but also delivers high-performance and protection against bad weather, look no further than our roundup of vegan winter coats and jackets.
We’ve taken a look at the best vegan jackets and coat options available online and our review includes casual and formal options, coats that are highly-technical or suitable for around town use, and of course we’ve separated them into men’s and women’s categories for you too.
But before we get into the reviews, let’s explore a bit further into why you should choose a down alternative winter coat or jacket.
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Jacket materials to avoid as a vegan
Non-vegan jackets and coats can be fabricated out of a range of materials such as wool, silk, leather and suede, but the most common and sought-after winter coat materials in non-vegan options are feather down and fur.
Here are some of the reasons why these materials shouldn’t feature in anyone’s wardrobe:
Wool and sheepskin
This material can come from sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas and even from rabbits in the form of angora wool.
You could be forgiven for thinking that wool is a byproduct of the meat industry but it’s actually a separate industry in itself. When older sheep slow down on wool production they also get sent to the abattoir.
There are several inhumane practices in the sheep wool industry, including mulesing, where pieces of skin and flesh are cut from a sheep’s hindquarters to stop them getting flystrike, which is when the animal becomes infested with maggots.
The sheep is restrained and the procedure is done without anesthesia. The scar tissue is smooth and grows less wool so it attracts less flies, but this procedure isn’t done to help the sheep, it’s done because it’s more convenient and cost-effective for the farmer.
Sheep are also frequently injured in ordinary shearing, suffering from nicks and cuts, but there have also been a number of exposés done by animal rights groups showing shearers kicking, punching and even killing sheep. (1, 2)
Today’s sheep are the result of many years of selective breeding. This is the reason why they produce so much unnaturally thick wool and regularly experience flystrike.
The majority of leather is sourced from cows and one of the biggest suppliers in the world is India, where animal rights groups have exposed torturous conditions for these animals that sometimes include being skinned alive. (3, 4)
China is another producer of leather and often as well as cows and oxen, they source their leather from cats and dogs. (5)
Leather, like wool, is not a byproduct of the meat industry. It exists in its own right and is equally as cruel and brutal as the meat and fur industries.
Suede is another form of leather that is made from the soft underside of the skin from animals like lambs, goat, calves and deer. Thick cow and deer hides are sometimes also sueded.
Down is often used in products such as coats, pillows and duvets. It comes from birds and is the layer of fine feathers found under a bird’s tougher exterior feathers. These are highly prized by manufacturers as they don’t have quills.
Most down and feathers are removed from birds during slaughter, but some birds are plucked several times while they are still alive, especially those in the meat and foie gras industries, as this provides extra income for farmers.
This causes intense pain for the birds, which sometimes experience having their skin torn open from the plucking, and then being sewn back up by workers without any anesthesia or pain relief.
Here’s an exposé from PETA on the down industry, narrated by Alicia Silverstone.
Most people today are aware that wearing fur is unethical, but they might not be aware of the extent of the cruelty in this industry.
Fur is sourced from animals such as minks, foxes, beavers, rabbits, raccoon dogs, coyotes, wolves, chinchilla, muskrat, stoat, otter, sable, seals, possums, cats and dogs.
Most fur comes from fur farms, the remainder is sourced through trapping animals in the wild. Northern Europe’s fur farms contribute 85% of animal skins used in the fur industry.
The animals in fur farms are often killed in painful and cruel ways that best protect the animal’s fur. These methods include gassing, decompression chambers, having their necks snapped or through oral or anal electrocution.
While alive at the farms, the animals are kept in awful conditions in tiny cages, resulting in such terrible psychological anguish that the animals pace, gnaw at cage bars, self-mutilate and if kept in with others, cannibalism can often occur as well.
The fate of animals trapped for their fur in the wild is equally disturbing. Animals caught on land endure hours or days caught in a steel trap that pierces their leg.
They are either killed when found by the trapper, or they gnaw their own leg off to escape. Traps are even set underwater for semi-aquatic animals, which then experience a slow and painful death.
If you’re avoiding fur but still like the look of faux-fur, please take extra care to ensure that it is indeed genuine faux fur (bizarre right?). There have been cases of fur trim being advertised as faux when in fact, it’s the real thing. (6)
What materials are used in vegan coats?
There are now vegan alternatives for all the key materials commonly sourced from animals to produce coats. Fur, leather, wool, down, silk? We’ve got vegan versions of them all. (7)
Textiles manufacturers have developed technologies such as PrimaLoft and Thinsulate for insulation that mimics and sometimes outperforms that of bird down. There are also other non-branded polyester and natural materials used for insulating jackets.
For those worried about the environmental impact of plastics-based materials, it’s good to know that there are manufacturers out there that are creating fabrics using recycled plastics.
One such form is called rPET, which stands for recycled polyethylene terephthalate (we’ll just call it recycled polyester) and it can be made from recycled plastic bottles.
Natural materials can also be used and things like hemp, cotton, wood and even seaweed and soybeans are being put to good use these days.
Check out this video to find out more about seaweed leather:
How will I know if my coat is vegan?
Most of the time, the manufacturers will list the materials that they use either in the product description online, or also in the garment label.
If it says something like ‘Made from 100% Synthetic or Manmade Materials’ or even ‘Vegan’ then you’re obviously onto a winner.
There are some companies (like Save The Duck, Petit Vour, Tentree and Noize) that are 100% vegan and we have some of their offerings included in our reviews below. You can pick freely from any one of their garments.
Other well-known brands also offer vegan options but still include ones that use animal-sourced materials. So when looking at these brands, take extra care to select only the vegan jackets.
Luckily, there are now many forward-thinking brands who have clocked-on that the vegan market is growing at an astonishing pace and they are purposely including the word ‘vegan’ in their marketing materials, making it a lot easier for us ethical consumers to buy cruelty-free.
Do vegan coats perform as well as non-vegan ones?
The good news is that vegan winter jackets absolutely perform as well as, and sometimes better, than their non-vegan counterparts.
Clothing manufacturers, especially the ones that develop highly-technical outdoor garments, are constantly researching, investing and testing materials to create products that provide more warmth, better weather resistance and longer durability.
That means that as a vegan consumer you don’t have to compromise on functionality or style in order to have a high-performing down alternative coat.
Well-known brands such as The North Face, Marmot and Patagonia, all offer vegan winter jacket options that are suitable for use in challenging winter weather conditions.
What to look for in a winter down alternative coat
Here are a few factors to think about when choosing your winter jacket:
If you want a quality vegan coat then it’s important to look at your purchase as an investment.
Highly-technical jacket options that provide superior insulation and protective properties do come with a heftier price tag but, in the long run, it will save you money as they will last many years and keep you warm and comfortable (and if you’re out in a snowstorm or rainshower, those things are priceless!)
Remember to check the label or product description to ensure it’s definitely a vegan jacket that you’re purchasing, especially if you like the aesthetics of faux fur and leather trims.
If you’re worried about the environmental impact of vegan alternative materials, try to purchase items from companies that recycle plastics to make their fabrics and insulates (there’s a couple in our reviews below).
A shorter length coat can look cute teamed up with jeans and an awesome pair of vegan winter boots, but you can also find super stylish longer options that will keep you warm and cosy – you don’t have to be a fashion victim this winter!
So, long or short, it’s down to your personal style preferences and we’ve got both options covered for you in our reviews below.
If you’re someone that shirks the fireside in favour of snowy mountaintops in winter, then you’ll definitely want to consider the insulation value of the jacket you’re buying.
The more technical the jacket, the better insulation technology it will have, but also check for details like adjustable cuffs and waists as this will help keep chills out.
Watch for words and phrases such as ‘shower-resistant’; ‘waterproof’; ‘water resistant’ and ‘water repellent’. These don’t all mean the same thing.
‘Water repellent’ would mean that the jacket has a type of teflon coating on it that doesn’t allow the water to penetrate the material, whereas as ‘shower-resistant’ and ‘water resistant’ may start to leak in heavy rain or snow.
The comfort factor relies heavily on the materials used and the design of the jacket. The great news is that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style or vice versa.
The vegan winter coats in our roundup feature details like faux-shearling interiors and durable waterproof outer layers to keep you warm and dry.
Dress up or keep it casual. There are vegan winter jacket options that work well for wearing to work and for use on the weekend, meaning that you’ll get the maximum use and benefit from your winter wardrobe investment.
So now that you’re armed with all you need to know about how to find the best vegan winter coat, let’s check out the reviews.
Cruelty Free Winter Coats for Women
Here are some of our current favourite vegan winter coats for women:
Alpine North Vegan Down Long Parka
We’re starting off our reviews with this gorgeous vegan down parka from Alpine North.
Not only does this coat score points in the fashion stakes for its stunning looks, it’s also incredibly well-designed for winter use.
With multiple pockets inside and out, water repellent fabric, rib knit cuffs with thumb holes to keep your hands warm and even reflective trim detail and piping for nighttime visibility – it seems they’ve thought of everything.
Save The Duck Women’s Basic Nylon Jacket
This basic winter coat is the first on our list from Save The Duck, a fully vegan brand that you’ll not only look good wearing but you can feel good about too.
They’re committed to using sustainable and recycled materials that deliver great winter performance and style, making them a hit with celebs and us ordinary folk too.
If you like the look of this coat, you’ll be happy to know that their range extends to men and children too.
Providing wind protection and water-resistance, this insulated puffer jacket will keep you warm and dry this winter.
Helly Hansen Women’s Belfast Raincoat Jacket with Hood
If you’re searching for a simple long waterproof, windproof raincoat that’s also breathable then this could be the coat for you.
Although it doesn’t have the same aesthetic appeal, practical features or insulation value as the Alpine North parka, it’s a great option for adding as a final layer over winter gear to ensure you stay dry.
It’s also available in 13 colors.
BGSD Women’s Pauline Hooded Faux Shearling Maxi Coat
Definitely one for the fashionistas. This faux shearling maxi coat from BGSD goes to show that your winter attire can be both stylish and warm.
Available in three colors (chocolate brown, black and light brown), it’s also machine washable, which makes cleaning it a breeze.
The size on this coat runs large, so we suggest buying one size down.
Noize Women’s Donna Jacket
With its sweetheart shaped faux-fur trim, this long-length insulated parka from Noize is a stylish piece of cruelty-free outerwear. Plus, the Noize brand is now 100% vegan.
Again this coat is machine washable and it also features cute details like faux-leather trim on the zipper, giving it a quality look and feel.
Other users report that the sizing on this coat runs small, so try a size larger than you normally take.
Fjallraven Women’s Nuuk Parka
Need a coat that stands up to really challenging weather conditions? Look no further! The Fjallraven women’s Nuuk Parka has special padding that’ll keep you warm even in low temperatures.
The detachable artificial fur hood provides a stylish feature to this water-repellent and windproof coat, and its long length means it’ll keep your rear and thighs warm and dry too.
This coat runs really large – great for layering up for the cold – so try going down a size or two.
The North Face Women’s Thermoball Full Zip Jacket
The North Face is a brand that’s synonymous with high-quality outdoor gear. So, it’s great to know that they also have outerwear options that are suitable for vegan consumers.
If you’ve previously appreciated the warmth and comfort of a down jacket prior to going vegan, you’ll be interested to know that The North Face claims that this jacket is a revolution in insulation technology due to the synthetic fibre clusters they use, which closely mimic those of down.
This traps heap within small air pockets, retaining warmth and making it incredibly lightweight. Independent testing has shown the Thermoball jacket to have an equivalent insulation strength to 600 fill goose down.
Save The Duck Women’s Giga 9
With our second Save The Duck women’s option for you, this cute quilted jacket comes in off-white with a brilliantly vibrant orange zipper pull to really set things off.
This coat would look perfect with a pair of jeans in the city or for keeping cosy on a wintery countryside walk, making it the ideal item to have in your wardrobe.
The faux sheepskin is incredibly lightweight, yet it provides adequate warmth in most conditions. While I wouldn’t particularly want to spend any length of time at sub-zero with this jacket on, it’ll happily pass the urban winter test by keeping you warm and looking stylish.
Patagonia Women’s Micro Puff Hoody
This Patagonia winter coat – another renowned outdoors brand – is perfect if you’re someone who really enjoys spending time in the great outdoors during winter. It’s lightweight and uses sophisticated, synthetic insulation technology that mimics down. So if you’re taking it hiking it won’t feel cumbersome to wear but it will keep you warm, and it will also fold down into a tiny bundle, taking up hardly any room nor adding much weight to your pack. Choose this coat and you’ll be sporting the ‘2018 Outdoor Gear of the Year’ winner!
Alpine North Womens Vegan Down Jacket
With another offering from the Alpine North range, this vegan down parka has beautiful details on the cuffs and around the neck.
It’s made of durable and high-quality material, which makes this feel like a really high-end purchase.
It features many of the same details as the Alpine North long parka, but it’s slightly shorter, with a removable hood. It’s not great if you’re after a lightweight option, but it still provides great value for style and winter comfort.
Helly Hansen Coastline Parka Jacket
Despite it’s name, the Helly Hansen Coastline is a perfect urban-living option if you simply need a coat to wear out and about in the city. It comes in five colors that would pair well with any winter wardrobe and it boasts water-resistance as well as being windproof.
The design of this jacket includes strategically tapered seams that apparently give better protection against the elements. It also contains insulation in the sleeves and soft pile lining in the hood and body, making it a great lightweight outer layer.
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Vegan Winter Jackets for Men
You didn’t think we’d leave you out, guys, did you? Here are our top picks for mens vegan winter coats and jackets:
Save The Duck Men’s Blue Cotton Down Jacket
It’s time to check out what Save The Duck has on offer for men… This extremely warm hooded long sleeve jacket comes in classic navy blue.
It’s made from waterproof and windproof material and you’ll definitely be kept warm with its generous layer of inbuilt insulation as well as the comfortable ‘arctic’ faux-fur lining.
Not only do Save The Duck jackets contain absolutely no animal products whatsoever, the brand also does its best to make sure that the synthetic fabrics they work with are made from recycled materials, making this a winner on both the animal and environmental fronts.
Marmot Mens Yorktown Featherless Jacket
This Marmot Yorktown Featherless Jacket is a great option if you’re looking for a classic piece of winter outerwear. Available in black and artic navy and with an easy, regular fit, it’s a winter wardrobe staple that would work well dressed up or down.
While looking great, you’ll still be fully protected from the elements due to the Yorktown’s two-layer shell coating that combines durability, breathability, waterproofing and water-repelling.
It contains ‘Thinsulate’ insulation technology, which means you get all the warmth of a down jacket, without the bulk or the animal-cruelty.
Columbia Men’s Frost Fighter Insulated Puffer Jacket
Here’s a casual option from the Columbia brand. This Frost Fighter puffer jacket does everything you’d expect; delivering warmth, comfort and lightweight protection for outdoor winter activities, even when the temperatures drop below zero.
While the front zip pockets are an interesting and practical detail, these are the only pockets included and that can be nuisance for some.
The sizing on this coat is a little snug, so if you need to include several layers underneath, then try going for a size larger.
Rokka&Rolla Men’s Quilted Puffer Jacket
If you’re looking for a jacket that makes a striking urban fashion statement, then one of the color options from the Rokka&Rolla’s quilted puffer jacket range is definitely for you.
The shell fabric will withstand light showers and the high-tech filler provides insulation values that maintain high thermal performance in cold and wet conditions. Whatsmore, it’s soft and comfortable to wear.
The North Face Men’s Thermoball Full Zip Jacket
Here’s the Thermoball jacket from The North Face in a version for men.
Sometimes buying clothing online can be a little risky due to not being able to see the quality of the make or try it on for size; however, with The North Face, not only is it a reputable brand you can trust, they also provide a LIFETIME guarantee against materials and workmanship defects – impressive!
While this jacket boasts superior insulation while remaining lightweight, some buyers have complained that it’s too lightweight and not warm enough. If you like the look of this coat, we suggest going a size up to leave room for layers.
Save The Duck Men’s Puffer
I really love the color of this puffer jacket from Save The Duck. It’s available in a dark teal green, which is complemented with a grey/black faux fur interior to provide comfort and warmth.
If you like the idea of a puffer coat, but don’t like the look of those that sport shell fabric, this is a great option that also provides protection to keep your backside and upper thighs warm.
It has a high-quality and sturdy look and feel to it, making it a great piece of winter outerwear to invest in that will last at least a few winters.
Marmot Men’s Featherless Component Jacket
This is an interesting option for those looking for a technical outdoor jacket.
The Marmot Featherless Component jacket has a waterproof and breathable outer shell membrane and then a removable inner layer that features insulation made from 75% recycled loose-fill fibres that provide as much warmth as a 700 fill down jacket.
So if you need to, you could easily remove the insulation layer and just use it as a raincoat during warmer months as well.
It’s a classic design and available in a variety of colors, so not only does it look great, it will also be effective in keeping you both warm and dry this winter.
Black Diamond Sharp End Jacket
Another highly-technical jacket; if you’re a road cyclist or mountain biker the Black Diamond Sharp End jacket would be a great option for you.
It features GoreTex to provide protection against the winter elements and breathability (useful when you’re doing physical activity), but what makes it interesting for bikers is that it has a cord system that allows for one-handed adjustments on the hood and hem so you don’t have to get off your bike.
It also has an adjustable, helmet-compatible hood, so you can keep the chill off your neck while wearing a safety helmet.
Volcom Lidward Heavyweight Parka
Wear this military-style parka from Volcom and you’re guaranteed both comfort and warmth this winter.
It comes in four colors (military green, black, navy, and khaki) and it features a cosy, faux-fur trim to keep the snow off your face and a fleecy faux-sheepskin inner lining to help insulate you against the wind and the cold. Don’t like the fur trim? No problem, it’s removable.
Other features include hand warming pockets, and the fabric is a highly-durable cotton blend that’s been treated with a teflon coating to keep out the snow, wind and rain.
The Best Vegan Winter Coats
So that wraps up our reviews of some of the most-stylish vegan winter coats available this season. But which ones are our best picks from both the women’s and men’s categories?
For the ladies, my choice has to be the Alpine North Vegan Down Long Parka. Not only is it a classic and classy looking winter vegan parka that won’t go out of fashion anytime soon, but there are several design elements that really demonstrate great attention to detail from the brand.
Simple things like the thumb-holes in the cuffs and the reflective trim detail for nighttime visibility, make this one of the best non down winter coats available on the market, in my humble opinion.
And in the men’s category, I really like the Marmot Men’s Yorktown Featherless Jacket. Again, I like it due to its classic looks and it’s made of high-quality materials that are going to deliver performance-wise against the elements but also in the style stakes.
Invest in this down alternative jacket and you’ll be set with a vegan coat that works well for both smart and casual occasions for many winters to come.
No matter which coat or jacket you choose to buy this winter, remember to keep it kind and always shop vegan and cruelty-free.
About The Author:
Emma is a blogger, life-coach and qualified PR professional and journalist, who also happens to be a passionate vegan, animal and nature lover.
She lives in a small village in France with her husband, daughter and their rescue animals at the Barefoot Vegan Farm and Animal Sanctuary. As a writer, Emma’s work has been featured in other popular well-being and spiritual websites such as Elephant Journal, IVORY magazine, and she’s part of the Huffington Post’s team of regular bloggers. Her writing was also included in the Tiny Buddha book 365 Love Challenges from Tiny Buddha, released in 2015 by HarperCollins.
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- Mimi Bekhechi | A wool jumper is just as cruel as a mink coat | https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/wool-jumper-just-cruel-mink-coat-9610133.html
- Jane Dalton | Shearers secretly filmed punching, throwing and stamping on sheep could face criminal charges | https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/sheep-shearing-wool-peta-farms-rspca-action-punched-beaten-killed-a8508221.html
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