Confession – I Have A Lot Of Pairs Of Shoes, But They Are Mostly “Green”.


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I like shoes. There, I said it. It has been a problem of mine for a very long time and I am just now starting to admit it as such. However (and you knew this was coming), I have made great strides in making sure the majority of my shoes are “green”…even if that does not really excuse the fact that I have so many pairs. At least I don’t think it does…does it? Right now in my closet I have 6 pairs of shoes from Simple – yep, 6. 2 pairs of flip flops, 2 pairs of sneakers, and 2 other pairs that are more “shoe” like rather than “sneaker” like. In addition to these 6 pairs, I also have running shoes, a couple of pairs of dress shoes, some hiking shoes, and an old pair of boots that needs to be replaced ASAP. When the time comes, I will probably be buying these Earthkeeper boots from Timberland, but they are kind of pricey and I just don’t need or want to shell out the cash right now.

Now, I don’t have that many other articles of clothing, so is it OK to own this many pairs of shoes? I don’t know, but if I had to choose, I would definitely choose more shoes over more t-shirts. 🙂 But trying to buy only “eco-friendly” shoes can be difficult. How about you? When you go shopping, do you try to buy eco-conscious goods? Do you have an addiction to a certain article of clothing?

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  1. Ryan, while I understand what you are saying, we all still have to wear shoes, and I would rather buy from a company like Simple than a company like Nike – at least they are making the effort. (BTW, some of Simple’s shoes are 100% biodegradable) Until a completely CTC shoe comes along, we all have to buy the “most green” that we can, right?

  2. I think it’s really hard to label something as “green” if it doesn’t reflect a cradle-to-cradle approach to manufacturing. I have searched and searched for shoes that are 100% biodegradable, but with no success. I want my products to not only come from nature but also return to nature. Simple shoes in my opinion do not meet this requirement. They are made from recycled materials, however this may only fuel the manufacturing of the inputs (e.g., rubber tires) that the shoes are made from. And those shoes can’t be turned into other shoes again. They will eventually end up in a landfill. The materials have just taken a temporary detour on your feet. I know this sounds cynical, but to me this is is just “downcycling” not “recycling” and in the long run is not a sustainable solutions for the environment. If someone could develop a shoe that would decompose in a reasonable amount of time, they would have a truly “green” product.

  3. Hey Tim

    “in the water”…funny 🙂 I do have those sneakers, they are the EcoSneaks – I have 2 pairs in different colors and I wear them almost every day. And I would buy them again if I needed to! (Psst – be sure to get the discount code for Simple shoes if you order them)

  4. Ryan – I do totally get what you are saying, and everything happens in stages. For instance, my office chair is certified CTC – I have a follow up article tomorrow about it. We all can only do what we can do, otherwise we can go live in caves, and I am just not willing to do that just yet…maybe when the oil runs out. 🙂

  5. Dave-
    I’m wearing a pair of Simple ‘OS’ right now. And let me tell you, they put the O back in OS! So I think I need an upgrade, you know, a ‘dress sneaker.’ Do you own those Simples that are pictured at the top of your post? Are they comfortable? Which ones would you recommend?

    I think that quality shoes are not something to be skimped on. Happy feet means springy legs and a happy back. I’ve been told that I too seem to have a shoe thing, so maybe there was something in the water!

  6. Good to know that Simple has 100% biodegradable shoes! My only point was that perhaps something shouldn’t be labeled as “green” unless it satisfies certain criteria (cradle-to-cradle, low energy used in mfr., etc.). I don’t agree with companies who are labeling products as “green” just because it’s made with recycled content. While that’s certainly better than using virgin resources, I think we shoot for a higher standard than that. But perhaps this will just have to move in stages.

  7. I do like Simple Shoes, but I wish they were a little cheaper, to be honest. I don’t have a ton of money, but I want to buy green. Green should be cheaper!

  8. @michael: i think it’s worth pointing out that the prices of widely-available inexpensive goods (clothing, shoes, food) are artificially suppressed, usually as a result of unethical production practices somewhere along the line. that is, the reason other shoes are so cheap is that they are most likely made in a way that involves poor labor conditions, non-sustainable materials, etc. one could say the same about more expensive local organic food vs. inexpensive food from a supermarket.

    however, this still doesn’t change the fact that i can’t afford them either :/

  9. david, it’s funny that i wrote this comment yesterday, because last night we attended short film night that included a 15-min piece by the sierra club called the true cost of food (you can watch it on their site). it was produced by the same folks who did the meatrix. the message is essentially the same point–that cheap food actually has a lot of hidden costs to the earth and to taxpayers. all in a cute flash cartoon. check it out.

  10. Right now I’m wearing Worn Again sneakers, which are 99% recycled, which is good, but made in China. At least the company checked out the place they’re made in and admitted the factory was not ideal, but could be worse. But I’ve got my eyes on the Blackspot Unswoosher next. Vegan, union-made, hemp and recycled materials, with the look of a Converse shoe without supporting Nike. It’s hard balancing all my ethical requirements, especially in footwear, but these seem to cover it.

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