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.
Wide Selection Of Vegan Shoes And
Styles - Step into a pair of Vegan friendly TOMS! Vegan TOMS
are made from a blend of recycled products, faux suede insoles and
rubber outsoles. And, with every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a
pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.
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.
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
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.
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.