When it’s time for a new pair of shoes, breathe new life into your footwear selection with a pair of first-rate ecologically-conscious “green” shoes made using second-time-around recycled materials and natural materials of all kinds, in many different styles and sizes.
When you find a suitable way to reuse or recycle your old pair and find a charming new pair of eco-friendly kickers, you reduce new landfill deposits and help reduce the size of the “carbon footprint” you leave. These are just a few small steps you can take to make a positive impact on the planet.
With an array of brands and choices, the selection of “green” footwear has grown by leaps and bounds. You’ll take the switch to green in a confident stride with a variety of shoes that will complement any style. Whether you’re looking for some all-weather rugged hiking boots for hitting the trail, some sandals for those beach days or even more formal styles like a pair of men’s dress shoes or perhaps a pair of ladies’ stylish pumps, there’s a “green” shoe to fit you!
Shoes are often produced using “first materials,” which puts a drain on resources. From factory production to transportation, they leave a big “carbon footprint” trail behind them on their way to your feet. Certain types of shoes that are made from a variety of materials can be difficult to recycle, resulting in them landing in the garbage bin, further increasing their burden on the environment. Eco-conscious shoes fit the “green” bill because they are composed of recycled materials like recycled rubber and fabrics or other natural materials that need less intense processing and are therefore more earth-friendly.
Once you decide your old comfy worn-out sneakers are ready to be retired, think green by locating a running shoe recycling program in your area. Many areas have shoe-recycling drop-off centers while the “reuse-a-shoe” program offers a mail-in option, as well as information about organizing and starting up a shoe-recycling program in your community if you don’t already have one. Some programs turn running shoes into their favorite counterpart – an athletic-grade surface! Other programs reuse the shoes through charity organizations worldwide. Two good places to begin looking are www.recycledrunners.com and www.nrc-recycle.org/reuseashoe.aspx.
After you’ve found an eco-friendly way to dismiss your old shoes from service, the fun begins.
Recycled shoes often take other difficult-to-dispose-of items and turn them into useful ingredients to make a long-lasting, earth-friendly, foot-hugging shoe. For example, old automobile tires enjoy a comeback as part of the latest from Flat Tire Footwear. These green shoes will put the bounce in your step with their unique “crumb rubber” soles made from recycled tires. They’re cushy and comfortable and offer plenty of traction. The line includes men’s and women’s shoes in several styles including sandals, clogs and casual shoes. Many feature suede-leather uppers.
If you need durable, earth-friendly shoes for enjoying nature, the Patagonia Company offers a large variety of hiking shoes and boots for men and women that feature a significant percentage of recycled plastics and cork. They also offer trainers, flip-flops and two-in-one slip-ons, all of which come in very stylish earth tone colors.
If you like tennis shoes or bicycle shoes, Worn Again is an environmentally conscious British company that creates spiffy shoes with great attention to detail. Worn Again boasts products that are made from inner tubes, airline seats and other surprising materials.
If you need some suave dress shoes, Ecolution has designed some great “green” ones for men including hemp oxfords. They are naturally organic and come in black, brown and light tan.
If you feel like splurging, treat your feet to a pair of Beyond Skin pumps or heels. They are available in a wide variety of ultra stylish designs and are all made from earth- and animal-friendly materials.
The Zoe & Zac line by Payless Shoe Source features a naturally different assortment of women and girls’ summer shoes produced by using organic materials and recycled rubber.
The next time you shoe shop, go green with your footwear. The ground you walk on and future generations will thank you.