We talk about leaving a carbon footprint so what about the shoes on our feet? What impact are they leaving on Mother Earth? Leather shoes can take up to 45 years to decompose in a landfill while rubber soles of shoes can take up to 80 years. And some estimates put the decomposition rate of sneakers at about 1000 years! Many customers are also searching to keep animal products off their bodies. Not only can you purchase vegan food but you are able to also invest in vegan shoes! So make certain to accessorize your bamboo clothing with some eco-friendly shoes.

Sanuk offers the ideal summer shoe line featuring flip flops, beach sandals AND surf sandals. While you will discover some leather offerings and some non-recycled materials used, the majority of their offerings get a large green thumbs up. The “Beer Cozies” line (what a ideal summer name!) uses recycled yoga mats for the foot bed, an eco-friendly PU Nubuck strap and can be a vegan offering. Their Recycled And Sustainable Trade Alliance (also identified as R.A.S.T.A) are produced with sustainable latex, hemp uppers, recycled tire outsoles and recycled PET liners.

Colorful Grass is actually a shoe provider that (according to their web-site) strives to be the “global leader of environmentally sound fashionable shoes & accessories.” Before they even began to design the shoes, the Colorful Grass team spent 2 years talking to customers about what they wanted in an eco-friendly shoe and what they wanted is the basis of their shoe line. Buyers wanted “vegan shoes, recycled soles, fashion shoes beyond sandals, eco shoes that are stylish and have a metropolitan style and most of all comfortable eco shoes that can be dressed up and/or worn with casually,” and Colorful Grass responded with a modern collection of eco-friendly shoes!

For anyone searching for shoes that are truly one-of-a-kind, consider the “infinitely interchangeable eco-friendly sandals” from mohop! Started by Chicago-based architect Annie Mohaupt six years ago, mohop sandals are made to order and customers can continue to customize their look with interchangeable laces. Thankfully, for those who cannot afford the $360 or so price tag, mohop is introducing a ready-to-wear line this spring featuring three styles - low ebony thong, mid walnut wedge and the high cherry wedge. Not only are they versatile with their interchangeable laces but they are also eco-friendly. Mohops are created using wood from Malaysian rubber trees that would normally be destroyed once they no longer were useful for latex production. The soles are produced in an ethically run factory in China before being finished in the United States.

Take the extra step and be sure to recycle or repurpose your old shoes. But don’t replace perfectly good shoes just for the sake of replacing them. Wear your shoes until they truly cannot be worn any more or if they are in good condition, donate them to a local shelter or Goodwill store. For truly worn out shoes, some people get creative and turn them into planters or bird feeders but if you don’t want your old shoes on display in your yard, recycle them! Nike collects old running shoes and repurposes them into supplies for sports surfaces including basketball courts, fitness flooring and playground safety surfacing. For non-running shoes, check in your area to see where to drop off shoes for recycling.

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