Is Sherpa Vegan? [A Cruelty-Free Alternative]

These days, more and more people are becoming both environmentally aware and more acute to where their items are being produced. The ethical questions that would not be of concern are now at the forefront of a lot of shoppers buying decisions. 

This extends beyond just food products, with people becoming more conscious of where their clothing-related products are made.

One of the materials that are first in line for questioning is Sherpa. Everyone loves Sherpa. You don’t need me to tell you that.

So, is sherpa vegan? Yes, sherpa is made from either cotton, acrylic, or polyester fabric making it completely vegan.

How can something so comfortable not come from animal fur?  

Trust me; I was asking the very same question. I love being cozy, but if that meant supporting a horrible and corrupt industry, then I was going to have to go without my favorite sherpa-lined coat. 

Luckily, for both you and me, that isn’t the case at all. 

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closeup of beige sherpa cloth

Is Sherpa Vegan?

Yes, sherpa is entirely vegan.

What I found misleading was the name. Sherpa doesn’t strictly refer to the material coming from a sheep, though. Instead, it’s named “sherpa” because it resembles the wool-lined clothes that the Sherpa people of Nepal wear. 

Those warm and fluffy bumps you feel when you wear it aren’t actually clumps of wool. They’re just designed that way to mimic it, and in turn, help keep me and you warm. 

Therefore, if it’s not made from wool, then how exactly does all that cushiony goodness come about?

Here are some of my favorite vegan sherpa items:

How Is Sherpa Made?

Sherpa is sometimes called faux shearling. It is a type of fabric that is made from polyester, or it can be a polyester that’s blended with another material like cotton or acryclic. Either way, there are no animal products involved. 

Not only is this going to help vegans feel better about wearing it, but it’s actually a more practical material to use than actual shearling. 

First off, the faux material is a heck of a lot less bulky than the real deal. If you’ve never worn sheep’s wool, that stuff is surprisingly heavy. 

You might worry that a side-effect of this is that faux shearlings are colder than the real alternative. This is false though. Polyester blends are designed to help keep you warm, so while you may be lacking the “authentic” warmth that wool gives you, science picks up the slack with sherpa. 

It also wicks moisture and dries quicker, so if you ever get caught out in the rain wearing sherpa, you’re not going to have to wait days for it to dry out like you would with shearling. 

What Are The Uses Of Sherpa?

Thanks to the benefits that I listed above, Sherpa finds use in a lot of different clothing items and accessories. Typically, you’re going to see a lot more of it around Christmas time. Things like gloves, hats, boots, slippers, blankets, and so on are all usually lined with Sherpa. 

Having said that, it should be noted that something using Sherpa does not immediately guarantee quality. The material is particularly tricky to work with, and a poorly made piece of Sherpa clothing is going to become matted or peel on you pretty quickly. 

When Is Sherpa Not Vegan?

While Sherpa is entirely vegan 99.9% percent of the time, there are individual high-end bits of Sherpa clothing that use wool in the polyester blend. 

If you have any doubts about the piece of clothing that you’re buying, check the tag. That should be able to tell you the fabric makeup of the item, as well as whether or not there is any wool in it. 

Coming across something like this is exceedingly rare, although not impossible. You shouldn’t concern yourself with it on a day to day basis, but if you’re ever splurging for something exceptionally cozy, consider giving the tag a quick check. 

What Is Sherpa Made Of?

There are two primary sources of polyester, both of which are vegan. The first is the chemically synthesized kind.

Polyester refers to a large group of synthetic fibers. These fibers are usually derived from petroleum. 

Alternatively, certain types of polyester can be found in plant matter. Cutin is located in a cuticle and contains a waxy polyester that is sometimes used in the makeup. 

Regardless of which type is used, both are vegan friendly. Polyester isn’t the only ingredient that goes into Sherpa, though. 

Acrylic is also popularly used in the fabric composition. Acrylic isn’t just the name for records; it’s actually a fiber fabric that is made from a type of synthetic polymer called polyacrylonitrile.

All you need to know about that mouthful is that it’s produced by burning particular coal or petroleum-based substances with a bunch of other sciencey things thrown in there. The result of that is a fossil-fuel based fiber, which, unless you consider extinct dinosaurs to constitute not being vegan, is perfectly acceptable to use. 

The last common ingredient you might find in Sherpa is cotton. As a vegan, you don’t need me to explain about cotton. It’s become my best friend over the last few years, and I’m sure it holds a similar place in your heart. 

It is an entirely natural ingredient that comes from the cotton plant and is unbelievably soft and comfy. 

Conclusion

To summarize, Sherpa is vegan. It is made from a fiber blend of polyester, acrylic, and cotton. There are rare occasions when wool might be used, so be sure to check the tags. 

I hope that this article has answered your questions. Sticking to a vegan lifestyle is challenging. Not only because of the things you have to give up, but you’re constantly navigating a landmine trying to avoid other animal-based products.

If you liked what you read, you could check out the other posts on the site for more vegan lifestyle questions, queries, tips, and tricks. 

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Stephanie Mantilla

Plant-Based Diet & Vegan Lifestyle Expert

Stephanie is the founder of Plant Prosperous, a plant-based vegan living, and parenting blog. She has been eating a plant-based diet for over 24 years along with a B.S. in Biology & Environmental Science. She also has over 14 years of experience working in the environmental and conservation sectors. Stephanie is currently raising her son on a plant-based diet and hopes to help others who are wanting to do the same. You can read more about her here.

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