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Eco Friendly Footwear - Walking The Green Walk

Footwear is essential for most of us, but have you ever stopped to consider just how green your footwear really is? Many issues come into the production of footwear, from ethical footwear production, to the use of sustainable, organic and eco friendly materials like hemp, cotton - even vegan footwear, which avoids the use of animal products like leather ...

Organic Footwear - Why We Need It

Many people are putting the call out for choices in organic footwear.  The movement for ethical shoes has become so popular that companies like Timberland, Rebok, Nike, and Keds are responding by adding organic footwear to their lines.  But why is there so much outcry for this alternative footwear?

Well, you may not realize it, but manufacturing shoes is about one of the worst environmental processes on earth.  Creating leather footwear requires tanning, and tanning is an environmental nightmare.  In order to make animal skins pliable for wear they must be softened.  The softening of animal skins involves highly toxic agents like formaldehyde, mineral salts, and even coal-tar derivatives.  The most popular process for softening animal skin is to use metal chromium.  In fact, metal chromium is used in 95% of all the leather in the world.  Metal chromium pollutes the air and water and has been proven to cause bronchitis and lung cancer.

Organic footwear does not contain leather.  Instead, manufacturers of organic footwear use cotton, linen, canvas, ramie, hemp, and even bamboo to create surprisingly stylish shoes.  Organic footwear is important in order to protect the health of people and the planet, because leather isn’t the only toxic material used in today’s footwear.

Just as bad, or possibly worse than leather are the plastics used in much of our footwear.  Most of these plastics are PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and it is another environmental nightmare.  PVC is, unequivocally, the worst plastic for the environment and human health.  The process of making PVC generates dioxins, which are high among the worst toxins on earth.  To make matters even more desperate, you cannot recycle PVC.  The Association of Post Consumer Plastics Recyclers has labeled PVC a contaminant.

To illustrate the impact of PVC on our lifestyle we have to inform you that the new sneaker, new car smell some people like so much is nothing less than the off gassing from PVC.  Don’t inhale too deeply because those fumes are saturated with formaldehyde, benzene, and methane and are carcinogenic.

Are any of you still wondering about the popularity of organic footwear?  If you are, we can also consider the labor element.  Most of today’s shoes and sneakers, boots, and pumps are manufactured in developing nations.  This is mostly because air and pollution standards in other countries don’t allow for some of the toxic processes we have been discussing.  It is also, however, because the standards of labor in these countries are low and employees work in sweatshop conditions for a far less than equitable wage.

Most organic footwear manufacturers are involved in Fair Trade practices.  They might even advertise their products as Fair Trade shoes or Fair Trade footwear.  Fair Trade guarantees that old fashioned manufacturing standards are used that involve no tanning or plastics.  This is possible because most Fair Trade producers are small business craftsmen who follow generations of tradition in the creation of their organic footwear.  Fair Trade also guarantees proper working conditions and equitable wages for workers.

With this information in hand, it becomes easy to see why the popular demand for organic footwear is growing worldwide.

Vegan Shoes

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What is Vegan Footwear?

Have you ever heard about vegan footwear and wondered what it meant?  To put the definition in the simplest of terms, vegan footwear is footwear that is non-leather.  In fact, vegan footwear contains no animal parts whatsoever.

You cannot make leather from a cow or fur from a mink without harming the animal.  Even wool is considered questionable for vegan footwear because of abuses associated with shearing.  Silk is not well thought of either because it takes 3000 silkworms to make one pound of silk.

Instead of using some of the more common materials associated with footwear, like leather and some of the others we have mentioned, vegan footwear is made with alternative materials.  Things like hemp, cotton, and even bamboo are substituted for animal parts and byproducts.  Truly vegan footgear will not have any materials associated to animals used in its manufacture.

You might be wondering what kind of shoes you can get from using these sorts of alternatives, but remember that up until a few decades ago sneakers were made almost entirely of canvass.  The truth is that some vegan footwear companies have very stylish and attractive shoes to offer.  In order to discover this for yourself, you need only look around on the Internet.

More and more vegan manufacturers and distributors are showing up every day.  You can really find a surprising selection of vegan footwear on the web.  You can choose between everything from vegan pumps, boots, and sneakers, to sandals.  Wearing sustainable footwear is a movement that is catching on worldwide.  It has gained popularity as rapidly as animal rights.

Vegan footwear is important to people who are against cruelty to animals and the use of animal products and byproducts for any manner of things.  Most of the people who will not wear shoes made with animal associated materials are also non-meat eaters, vegetarians, or vegans.  They believe deeply in the rights of every creature to a life free from exploitative death.  They do not accept that man has the right to use animals for his own purposes, be it food or clothing.

Today, companies have sprung up out of vegan and animal rights movements.  These companies seek to provide food and clothing materials necessary for man in a manner that reflects their deepest beliefs against animal exploitation.  Many of these companies began gaining ground, slowly, about twenty years ago.  Since then, they have grown along with the popularity of their respective movements. 

Vegan footwear has become one of many popular niche markets catering to the vegan and environmentalist communities.  The growth of these niche businesses has come with the growth of these two communities.  It is worth noting that the environmentalist and vegan communities continue to grow worldwide.  With this observation comes the realization that these niche businesses, like footwear, will continue to grow and offer more products to the purchasing public.

You don’t have to be a vegan or an environmentalist to appreciate vegan shoes.  If you like animals and don’t want to contribute to their abuse and exploitation, consider trying on some vegan footwear and seeing if you like it as an alternative to what you wear now.  

More information on vegan footwear ...

 

Ethical Footwear Business Endorses Human and Animal Rights

You may be hearing or reading things as of late about ethical footwear and wonder just what ethical footwear is all about.  Ethical footwear, first and foremost, is footwear made of alternative materials.  By alternative materials, we mean things other than animal products or byproducts.  Leather, for instance, is not ethical footwear.

The concept of ethical footwear has been gaining support for many years.  Footwear made from alternative materials is a natural offshoot of the animal rights and environmental movements.  Preservation of animal rights is an apparent concern of alternative footwear supporters, manufacturers, and distributors, but so are environmental concerns with attention to conservation.  Conservation of the earth’s animal population is a great consideration among many Green Living boosters.

As young people, many of the businessmen and women now involved in manufacturing and marketing alternative footwear became involved in one or both of these ecological movements.  As they have grown to maturity they have brought with them eco-responsible business practices which have grown into movements of their own, such as ethical footwear.

The concept of alternative footwear also brings to bear the concerns of the human rights movement.  Part of the devotion to alternative footwear includes the movement against sweatshops and unfair labor practices.  Most companies touting ethical footwear will not involve themselves in any of these unjust and inequitable labor practices.

Therefore, we have an emerging concept in international business.  Let’s call it the ethical business movement.  Ethical businesses concern themselves with creating and marketing products whose manufacture does not violate the rights of humans, animals, or the conservation of the earth.  A successful example of ethical business is Fair Trade coffee.  If you are at all familiar with ethical footwear, you are most likely familiar with the Fair Trade movement.

Fair Trade coffee is probably the most successful ethical business in operation today.  It protects human rights by guaranteeing safe working conditions and an equitable wage for coffee farmers and their workers.  It promotes environmental responsibility because it supports small traditional farmers who grow their crops using natural pesticides, fertilizers, irrigation, and crop rotation.  It is uncertain how it might benefit animal rights, but certainly no animals are harmed or exploited by the making of Free Trade coffee.

With the success of Free Trade coffee, tea, and chocolate, other ethical business opportunities have begun to follow.  One of these is the manufacture and marketing of ethical footwear.

Contrary to some belief, a consumer needs to sacrifice nothing in terms of style to the alternative footwear market.  All types of shoes, boots, sneakers, and sandals can be found in the ethical marketplace.  Comfort does not need to be sacrificed, either.  There is no evidence that a leather shoe is more comfortable than one made of cotton or hemp.  If you need to prove this to yourself, simply try on a pair and find out.  Many retailers are beginning to offer footwear alternatives and there has long been a market on the Internet for the purchase of ethical footwear.

Recommended:

Vegan Footwear - Browse a large range of vegan footwear, including boots, sandals, sneakers, heels, flats, walking, athletic, comfort, loafers, oxfords, and slip-ons. Lots of styles and designs from some of the world's best vegan footwear companies. More details ...

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