There were a few great eco shoe companies at the beginning of this decade that sadly fizzled out. Perhaps there were a variety of reasons, but obtaining sustainable and recycled materials at a feasible cost was a biggie.
Not only are “green” resources more available today, there are authenticity and certification programs, as well as trace systems that track from field to retailer. Simple Shoes is a business with deserved admiration for establishing sustainable material suppliers through a combination of programs. They appropriately describe themselves as a “nice little shoe company getting in touch with its inner hippie.”
The usual natural materials utilized are organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, wool, and silk. Less typical are recycled tires, inner tubes, cork, and recycled plastics (PET for shoe laces).
Creative sourcing kudos for materials such as recycled carpet padding, which consist of scraps and recycled foam. Also natural latex rubber, which is tapped from trees to make all kinds of footwear parts.
Sometimes Simple Shoes runs their rubber through a “creper” for a grippy and crinkly surface that is used in their soles. Their foot forms are created from post-consumer recycled paper and cardboard. Their leathers come from eco-certified factories that meet BLC or ISO 14001 standards and requirements. Impressive, huh?
Simple Shoes offers collections for men, women and kids. Examples are ecoSNEAKS®, which leaves a better ecological footprint than ordinary sneakers; Green Toe™, which represents their most innovative and envelope-pushing constructions and materials; and PlanetWalkers™, introduced in 2008 as shoes you can live comfortably and emotionally good with.
For businesses, know that there is a corporate sales program with discount pricing that provides products for meetings, incentives, gift programs and group orders. To qualify for the program, a minimum of 25 pairs of the same model shoes are required. Dealer queries are welcome for wholesale terms to retailers.
Don’t forget there is a contest poll titled Best Sustainable Footwear Designer. Nominations are honored through May 31st, 2009. Read details and look for late June winner and runner-up announcements. Let’s hope the designers at Simple Shoes participate with individual and self nominations!