Here are the durable shoe brands you need to know about
The footwear industry is a source of enormous waste with over 24 billion pairs of shoes produced each year. Considering the low quality of most of these shoes, the vast majority end up in landfills. Worse yet, many shoes can take 1,000 years to decompose because they are made of plastic. And, shoes are hard to shred and recycle because they are built with so many different materials, including metals. In short, the overproduction of poorly made shoes creates a huge waste problem that is detrimental to the environment.
While it would be great if we could reuse shoes that are already in circulation, the reality is that used shoes are not always attractive to consumers, especially if their quality is lacking or if they have already suffered significant wear and tear. Fortunately, a number of shoe brands are rising to the challenge of making shoes that are designed to last and for the planet. Here are some of the more eco-friendly shoe brands worth checking out.
Allbirds, based in San Francisco, takes sustainability and ethical practices seriously. The company is already 100% carbon neutral, but strives to reduce its footprint to zero by 2030. Instead of using newly manufactured synthetic materials that take hundreds of years to decompose, Allbirds primarily uses materials derived from wool, trees, sugar and recycled. plastic bottles and nylon to make his shoes. The company is also refreshingly transparent in its sustainable practices with detailed information on its website and a goal of using 75% sustainably sourced materials by 2025. And, Allbirds supports regenerative agriculture in the cultivation of its wool, helping to restore the balance of soil and CO2 for the planet.
Everlane is another company that strives to bring transparency to sustainable and ethical fashion production. It uses recycled plastic bottles to make many of its shoes and strives to use no new plastics in the construction of its products, with the goal of reducing the use of virgin plastic to zero. The company is 90% on track to meet this goal, which is impressive considering the goal was set just three years ago in 2018.
Everlane also uses 100% organic cotton, which reduces water consumption and removes chemicals from its products and the environment. It also uses recycled wool and cashmere and sources hides from animals that are not raised exclusively for their skin. And, the leather is tanned in a more environmentally friendly process than most. In addition to its environmental initiatives, Everlane is committed to ethical factory practices and transparency. The cost of each production step is listed for each product, along with a detailed description of the materials used, giving consumers a clear window into what they are buying.
Based in San Francisco, Rothy’s has its own factory in China to ensure ethical and sustainable production practices. It uses yarn created from recycled bottles and marine plastics and has so far kept over 100 tonnes of plastics out of waterways. Rothy’s minimizes production waste with careful manufacturing, reducing the amount of material thrown away by 30%. The great attention to design also makes the shoes machine washable and durable, highlighting the importance of slow fashion that lasts for years instead of just one season.