My hubby/partner recently sent me this link which suggests that people purchase from SAWA instead. SAWA sells shoes made from parts manufactured in various countries in Africa. The argument is that Tom's Shoes disrupt the local economy rather than supporting enterprise which would prevent the need for foreign intervention.
Tom's Shoes has some cute vegan options, but most shoes are not.
SAWA shoes all use leather.
This is the conflict I find with veganism in certain cultures and economies. Sigh. My friend, who had been eating vegan, just went into the Peace Corps and is eating meat again because it is the culture, what is available, and it way more sustainable than in the Western world. The choice as far as these shoes is difficult and I don't have the answer. I find that avoiding consuming animal products, supporting developing economies, and respecting cultures are all important and I hate having to pick. For now I am abstaining from buying any of these shoes until I can do more research and give it more thought.