The first Dr. Martens 2976 Chelsea boot was produced in the early 1970s.
by John Russel Jones

The synthetic leather market is expected to reach a market size of $ 80.2 billion in 2028 according to recent analysis by Emergen Research. Projected growth is attributed to increasing awareness of both animal safety and pollution as a byproduct of leather production. High import tariffs and stringent government regulations on killing and slaughtering animals for skins and hides have also further driven demand for synthetic leather. The raw materials used in synthetic leather production, however, are often heavily dependent on fossil fuels and can increase the industry’s carbon footprint. Toxic chemicals and gases released from burning plastic also cause health problems such as asthma and skin irritation, which is a restraining factor in synthetic leather market growth. 

[Pictured above: Dr. Martens Vegan 2976 Chelsea Boots, from Shopbop.]

Investments are being made in research and development to generate vegan alternatives, including Pinatex, a leather alternative made from pineapple leaf fibers, and MycoWorks, which utilizes the root structure of mushrooms (mycelium) as a leather alternative. Other unique cruelty-free options include leaf leather, cork, and recycled rubber, reflecting a major growth opportunity for bio-based synthetic leather manufacturers. Other vegan leather alternatives include Solotex Eco-Hybrid, a high-stretch fiber from Teijin. The eco-friendly plant-derived is very stretchable and consists of about 40% plant-based raw materials. 

The European region, especially Germany, UK, France, and Italy, held the second highest market share in the category in 2020 and is expected to exhibit a significant growth rate during the forecast period. 

Emergen Research is a market research and consulting company that provides syndicated research reports, customized research reports, and consulting services. A more detailed report on the synthetic leather market is available at its website, Emergen