What are the best shoes for walking?
Is it possible to buy shoes that are good for our planet?
Well the short answer is YES! I have been delighted to find that this is an important factor for many footwear producers now and that these companies are listening to their customers and finding ways to make improvements. There are companies now who are focusing on reducing their carbon footprint, using sustainable and ecological materials, ensuring the people that make the shoes are working in safe and positive environments and are being paid a fair price for their work.
There are some smaller companies out there who are showing other the way, and here we look a little more into what they can offer us as customers.
www.thegoodtrade.com is a great place to start. It is a fabulous resource, for when you wish to research companies that are producing goods in a way that is sustainable for our world.
Three companies particularly caught my eye : Vejastore.com, Allbirds.com and Sezane.com . Firstly the designs of their sneakers are all fantastic. There has definitely been no compromise when it comes to how they look. Veja and Allbirds both offer sneakers which could be used for sports and exercise, whilst Sezane offer very beautiful, on trend footwear that would be perfect for walking, for instance when commuting to work! Also, more people are leading vegan lifestyles, these companies also offer some products that fit in with this criteria too.
Let us look a little close at how these brands are considering the planet when producing shoes that we can wear for taking our daily constitutional.
Companies that are making a difference
Veja is a leader in the ecological and ethical production of footwear. The materials they use are sourced in Brazil and the Amazon; and are environmentally friendly and organic (meaning the materials come from land which has been farmed adhering to strict guidelines to ensure that the earth is nourished and protected). They also ensure the farmers receive a fair price. Not only do Veja focus on sustainability they also invest in their workforce, with their products ‘produced in dignified working conditions’
They interestingly have no advertising budget, which if you think about how much the larger brands spend on sponsorship deals and advertising at the biggest sporting events throughout the world, there must be a significant additional cost to the larger brands products.
Allbirds shoes are also made from sustainable materials. This brand has a real focus on its carbon footprint. They claim that the standard sneaker is approx 12.5kg CO2e. Already, their product’s average is 7.6kg CO2e, with an intention and commitment to work towards a zero carbon footprint.
Interestingly, their products’ are clearly labelled, much like a food nutrition label. They want to highlight the work they are doing and be transparent in their efforts; which is to reduce their carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the environment.
Sezane are based in Paris, France. The brand was started by the creator Morgane Sezalory in 2013. As with the other brands she intends to use sustainable materials wherever possible. Sezane are ‘committed to searching for new materials and fibres’. Their denim and leisure lines are already 100% eco friendly and they are finding ways to bring this to all their ranges.
Sezane have also a philanthropic wing, since 2017 a charitable fund has been created ‘to support children whose prospects are unfairly disadvantaged.’
Obviously this is a brief outline at three companies that are actively pursuing to make their products’ in a way that minimises the impact on the planet; it is encouraging and proves that more can always be done. Many of us make an effort to be fit and healthy, and an extension of this is buying the equipment we need, without damaging the health of the world in which we live.
Ah, but is this footwear much more expensive?
There is more good news, though these products are high end, they are not more expensive that the sneakers you would buy from the larger brands. In fact they are considerably cheaper than the high end fashion houses and yet, I think look fabulous.
Spending between $80-$150 dollars is an investment, but again no more expensive that I have paid for my last pair of sneakers. I also believe that when we invest financially we are much more likely to use a product. Remember we are purchasing footwear so that we will walk, maybe everyday. This isn’t an item that is going to spend 350 days a year on your shoe rack!
Wearing a product that you know has been made with the planet’s resources in a considered way and with minimum impact matters. As does knowing that the people that make these products are doing so in an environment which is regulated and that they are being paid a fair price.
Eco-friendly sneakers are the future
It would be great to test some of these amazing sneakers, I truly am torn to which ones to choose, they all have solid eco credentials and from a fashion stance are FANTASTIC. If anyone reading owns a pair of these sneakers, please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!
As customers, we are becoming more educated about our world and I for one am delighted that companies such as these, are able to offer us products that fit in with our values. When purchasing your next pair of sneakers, for your daily walk, please consider buying a pair from a company that shares your values.
As consumers when we purchase from companies with shared values, it reinforces what we believe in, who we are and our general well being. To read more about the benefits of walking, read https://graceandlivewell.com/benefits-of-walking-daily/
Live well, from Grace x