Example of a vegetarian soldiers dress shoes 30012022 CREDIT MOD Vegan Vegetarian Network Facebook.jpg
An example of soldier's vegetarian dress shoes that the MOD Vegan and Vegetarian Network wants the MOD to explore (Picture: MOD Vegan & Vegetarian Network Facebook).
Military Life

Is vegetarian footwear a step in the right direction for military personnel?

The MOD Vegan and Vegetarian Network supports others to maintain a sporty lifestyle and a vegan diet in military service.

Example of a vegetarian soldiers dress shoes 30012022 CREDIT MOD Vegan Vegetarian Network Facebook.jpg
An example of soldier's vegetarian dress shoes that the MOD Vegan and Vegetarian Network wants the MOD to explore (Picture: MOD Vegan & Vegetarian Network Facebook).

Vegetarian footwear could be introduced for personnel across all three services – if a new community network gets its way.

The MOD (Ministry of Defence) Vegan and Vegetarian Network is a group set up to support Armed Forces personnel in maintaining their chosen diet and lifestyle while in service.

The network also aims to create new policies that will empower members to maintain veganism and vegetarianism alongside military life. 

Among the ideas being put forward by the group is exploring the services providing vegetarian footwear that is not made using leather, but still offers the same levels of support and wear as standard military boots.

The Royal Air Force provides a variety of food choices in mess facilities, however, their failure to provide vegan ration packs and limited alternatives in clothing, kit, and equipment has been called into question.

Established from MOD St Athan, in Wales, the network connects vegans and vegetarians across the three services to support and educate each other with new ideas and policies.

Veganism is a philosophy that aims to remove the use of animals and their by-products in all circumstances, such as for research, food, and clothing.

Vegetarianism is the practice of eating only vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, and nuts – with or without the addition of milk products and eggs – generally for ethical, environmental, or nutritional reasons.

Founding Member of MOD Vegan and Vegetarian network Ben DATE UNKNOWN CREDIT MOD RAF.jpg
Rower Ben (front) is a founding member of the MOD Vegan and Vegetarian Network (Picture: RAF).

Tom, one of the network's founding members, maintains veganism alongside his military service and a sporty lifestyle representing the RAF in rowing.

He said: "I went vegan primarily for ethical reasons, but I soon realised the huge environmental benefits that going vegan has, which is now just as important to me."

"I've always loved animals, but since joining the RAF many years ago, I just never thought it would be possible to be vegan in the military, especially when on deployment. 

"But times have changed and now it's so much easier," he added.

"I started the network to help those who wanted to be vegan or those who are already vegan in the Armed Forces. To inspire, support and encourage."