The importance of footwear cannot be over-emphasized. Apart from protecting our feet from sharp objects or bacterias and giving balance, shoes have now become essential to our fashion world; thus, making a fashion statement goes beyond our clothing but also our footwear.
As a result of global warming, people have become more concerned about how to go green and protect their environment in the little way they can. While some create awareness about the depleting ozone layer and the ecosystems, others minimize the effects of global warming by purchasing eco-friendly products. Industries have also taken part in this exercise by developing products that do not pose a threat to the safe health of residents. Nowadays, more products are being produced while considering environmental health; these products are termed sustainable products.
The shoe department is not left out in this exercise. Statistics have shown that in developed countries, consumers also consider footwears that are eco-friendly before making purchases. Individually, opting for environmentally-friendly shoes would contribute to keeping your environment safe.
What are Eco-Friendly Shoes?
Eco-friendly shoes are shoes whose production process, use, and disposal do not harm the environment. They also include shoes that can be recycled, produced from recyclable materials, and can be biodegraded. Eco-friendly shoes are referred to as sustainable shoes; this means that in the course of their production, there is reduced pollution, the reduced release of green-house gases to the ecosystem, and reduced production of waste and toxins to the environment.
How are shoes harmful to the environment?
During shoe production, the types of machinery used are powered by coal and other fossil fuels, which result in the release of greenhouse gases to the environment.
One of the major greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide. Large amounts of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere during shoe production. These greenhouse gases are responsible for climate changes and global warming.
Chemicals such as chlorinated phenols, azodyes, tribromphenol, ortho-phenylphenol used in preserving materials for shoe production sometimes end up in factory waste that is released to water bodies. These chemicals are not just harmful to the environment but also to the human body as most of them are carcinogenic.
Much like the production, when shoes are disposed of, they release chemicals utilized in their production process to the soil, water, and plants; this affects sea creatures, wildlife, humans, and the ecosystem.
How are Eco-Friendly Shoes Designed and Made?
Producing or designing eco-friendly shoes can be quite a difficult task as they may not look as trendy or fashionable as its counterpart. They may also turn out to be more expensive. Statistics have shown that about 73% of people would preferably purchase an environmentally friendly product. These statistics are increasing by the day.
When designing and making sustainable shoes, many things are considered, such as materials to use (more organic materials), production process, and waste reduction. That’s why it is crucial to identify what characteristics make a shoe eco-friendly.
Characteristics of an eco-friendly shoe
- The production process is less harmful to the environment
- It is produced from recycled materials
- They are recyclable
: Environmentally friendly shoes are produced via methods that reduce the production of greenhouse gases, thereby reducing the depletion of the ozone layer. An example is the reduction of glue for the soles in shoes, resulting in reduced glue production – another material that is harmful to the environment.
: Sustainable shoes are sometimes made from recycled materials like glass, wood, polyester, water bottles, metals, plastic, and other waste materials; this is a win-win for the environment because it serves as a way of ridding the environment of toxic waste while creating something new.
: Eco-friendly shoes can be recycled without causing harm to the environment; this means that old shoes can be used to create new ones without producing large amounts of carbon dioxide. Hence over time, there will be a massive drop in the production of carbon dioxide.
Some eco-friendly shoes are almost entirely biodegradable down to the soles, except for some parts like the buckles.
- It is produced from natural materials
: Some eco-friendly shoes are manufactured using natural products like natural plant dye, rubber, cotton/organic, using plant-based fibers, soy, hemp fibers, cork, bamboo, as well as protein fibers like wool and silk, and even pineapple husks.
Most shoe-producing industries are trying to produce comfortable, long-lasting shoes with natural/organic materials. Still, when it comes to raw materials for creating eco-friendly shoes, the possibilities are endless, and there is more to discover.
For durability, store your eco-friendly shoes in clean spaces.
Popular brands of eco-friendly shoes
It is advisable to purchase eco-friendly shoes from reputable brands in the market. This way, you can be sure to get the best quality.
Famous shoe manufacturers of eco-friendly shoes include TOMS (this is the most popular), Allbirds, and Veja. You can safely purchase any of these brands. It is also beneficial to buy a shoe that fits you well.
Eco-friendly shoes are difficult to produce, especially those made from natural/organic materials, because procuring these materials in large quantities can be quite demanding. As a result, eco-friendly shoes are more expensive. More demand will increase the need for natural products; this might also result in deforestation or the production of technologically engineered plants.
The bottom line is that trendy looks don’t matter if, in the end, there is no safe and healthy environment. However, fashion-conscious manufacturers are now devising means to make eco-friendly shoes more adorable.
A healthy environment equals healthy plants, safe wildlife, and good health for humans. Everyone can participate in the go green exercise with their shoes as there are sustainable shoes for men, women, kids, and teens.
If health is wealth, then we should opt for a healthy ecosystem by joining the trend that mitigates greenhouse gases and environmental hazards. Make purchasing only eco-friendly shoes a necessity. Also, see how to keep them clean‘ always.