The story of shoes as we have come to know them begins in the slaughterhouse. Eco foot wear are cruelty-free shoes. These are shoes no one had to die for, is non exploitative to humans, animals and as far as possible, the wider environment. It has no part in the killing of beautiful, intelligent animals for the leather on their back. A number of them also maintain the broader vegan ethic of non-exploitation.
Harmful Leather, Harmful Exploitation
The U.S. alone is estimated to produce over 350 million pairs of leather shoes using toxic dyes and glues, chemically-tanned leather, synthetics, plastics and petroleum-based rubber - all combining to produce millions of pounds of waste. Many shoes contain leather made from the skins of cows, sheep, pigs and goats. Descendents of outcasts known as burakumin , who were made to do leather work in Japan hundreds of years ago, are still stigmatized today. The noxiousness of leather processing also made it the work of Untouchables in India, along with handling dead bodies and cleaning up waste.
In North America 10 billion animals are bred and slaughtered every year. The system, therefore does not allow animals to be treated with compassion.
All over the world more than 95 percent of leather produced is chrome-tanned. Wastes containing chromium are considered hazardous. When plastic components in shoes like polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, when incinerated as garbage, produce dioxins, potent carcinogens that may harm immune systems and children's development. Flexible vinyl also contains plasticizing chemicals called phthalates, many of which affect reproduction and sexual development in animal experiments.
Eco Footwear Comes a Long Way
Eco footwear has come a long way since they first came in to the public eye. Today there is a wide range of hip suede, microfiber or faux leather numbers on the market to choose from. The eco footwear range does not include only day-wear like tennis shoes or slippers. There are extremely fashionable business shoes, boots, high heels, and outdoor hiking shoes, with textures ranging from luscious looking faux suede, to shiny and impressive leather replacements, to everyday sneaker material. Also use material to meet the needs of the eco-conscious and green consumer.
Eco footwear is mostly made out of hemp, which, being strong, yet flexible, is a great substitute for leather. Unlike traditional textiles like cotton, hemp is a very strong fiber and is strongest when it is wet. Hemp is also a renewable resource that doesn't need toxic agri-chemicals for cultivation. Hiking boots, athletic shoes also are made from hemp and are very durable, long-lasting and comfortable.
Vegetan is another synthetic material that is frequently used. In look and feel it is very similar to leather but is completely animal-free. It’s a perfect choice for shoes as it is waterproof, breathable, and scuff-resistant, making it the perfect choice for shoes.
The uppers of some boots are made from microfiber which is naturally water-repellent and more importantly — breathable! The soles are made of rubber and have traction support. They are trimmed with a stylish faux fleece look, making then especially comfortable during the winter days. For purchase of microfiber shoes visit Vegetarian Shoes and Bags . If your country is not listed in the shopping cart you can mail them for inclusion.
Shapes and Styles
Eco footwear comes in variety of shapes and styles. To make it easy for women to go to work on sloppy snowy days you can get faux leather or soft faux suede boots (see shoes.com). Visit Great Green Shoes for a variety of eco-footwear to choose from. Try online shopping at WORN AGAIN
Popular Brands, Innovative Materials
Deja Shoes, are made of used soda bottles, recycled metal, magazines, reject coffee filters, file folders, corrugated cardboard, recycled rubber, plastic milk jugs, polystyrene cups and the plastic trimmings from disposable diapers and wetsuits. The website of Simple Shoes says that if everyone visiting their website wears a pair of their sneakers it would prevent a lot of car tires from going to the landfill. Materials used in their shoes include recycled car tires, bamboo, organic cotton, and PET from all those plastic beverage containers we throw out.
Deja Shoes, introduced in 1991 as the "world's first shoe made from recycled materials, received several honors, including the National Recycling Coalition Award for Best Recycling Innovation. Made from sustainable hemp or TerraGuard (its newest leather-free alternative), Deja continues to expand its line while closing the recycling loop through its packaging, manufacturing and return policy.
Deja Shoes are made of used soda bottles, recycled metal, magazines, reject coffee filters, file folders, corrugated cardboard, recycled rubber, plastic milk jugs, polystyrene cups and the plastic trimmings from disposable diapers and wetsuits. Deja donates five percent of its pretax profits to Amnesty International, The National Recycling Coalition, Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and the Species Survival Commission. And the shoe cartons, which are decorated inside, can be turned inside out to make gift boxes
Eco Dragon uses 100 percent hemp sandals are hand-crafted from two pounds of organic hemp, and are recyclable, compostable and animal skin-free. Used sandals can also be returned to the Earth Pulp and Paper Company, which recycles them into paper fiber.
Birkenstock , famous for its comfortable designs since 1964, has a new non-leather line called Birko-Flor which contains tightly-spun felt fibers whose preconsumer waste is pressed into tiles for acoustic insulation. Their footbeds are made from recycled and reclaimed cork from wine bottlers
Deep E Co.'s U.S.-made footwear line uses hemp and Treetap (a waterproofed, cotton-backed latex material hand-crafted by rubber tappers in the Amazon rainforest).
- Fall head over feet for eco-friendly shoes