The world of shoes, like the rest of the fashion industry is often a cause of carbon emissions and waste. In fact, the footwear industry can have an even larger environmental impact, with the production of leather requiring approximately 20 times more energy than that of synthetic materials. A range of eco friendly shoe companies have emerged in recent years, producing shoes from organic, recycled materials to create attractive, sustainable pieces of fashion without the addition of toxic chemicals into our environment.
Ethletic is a range of sustainable low and hi-top trainers made by Fair Corp- an ethical sportswear and fashion company. These vintage, versatile trainers are made from organic, fair trade Indian cotton, and their sturdy soles come from natural, fair trade rubber from Sri Lanka. Like similar styled shoes on the market, they come in a wide variety of colours from vibrant orange to classic white, and can be worn with almost any outfit. Ethletic trainers make ethical footwear an accessible and everyday item, and even have a variety of natural rubber flip flops for the summer months!
Novacas (Portugese for “no cows”) boast to be “built by kindness” and produce a range of sophisticated, 100% vegan shoes. Using synthetic microfibres, free from PVC and other toxic materials, Novacas produce a high quality range of heels, sandals, boots and brogues that are both environmentally friendly and safe for the workers who produce them.
Established in 2003, Worn Again produce unique shoes from salvaged materials including military jackets, unwanted t shirts and scrap leather from car interiors! Worn Again shoes are a great example of attractive upcycling and breathe life into a range of discarded materials, keeping them out of landfill sites and reducing the industry’s demand on new resources.
Green Shoes provide a range of high quality and beautifully crafted footwear for both men and women. Many of their shoes can be produced as fully vegan or vegetable tanned eco leather versions, meaning your choice doesn’t have to be compromised by your stance on using animal products. Green Shoes produce quirky and rustic boots, shoes and sandals which they colour naturally using plant dyes. They also provide repair and resoling services to prolong the life of the shoes, keeping them out of the waste stream for longer, and children’s shoes can even be stretched up one size as your child’s feet grow!
Groundhog ensure not only to produce high quality, eco friendly shoes, but also to use biodegradable and recycled packaging. Boxes and tissue paper are made from 100% recycled, unbleached fibres and instead of using silica gel sachets, packets of nano charcoal are inserted into each shoebox to absorb moisture, which is far more environmentally friendly and can be used as an organic garden fertilizer when opened! Groundhog make shoes using a combination of vegetable tanned leather and natural materials such as biodegradable cork insoles, bamboo charcoal linings to absorb moisture and reduce odour, and natural crepe rubber outer soles.
Image sourced: Siel Jutagseco fashionethleticsustainable materials