If you want to be active in protecting the nature from harm, you might often wonder to walk on somebody else’s shoes so you can do what you want to conserve the nature. However, actually conserving the nature can be as easy as walking in your own shoes.
Yes, and by that it was meant literally and figuratively. Figuratively we can do it from just an easy action such as turning of the lamp, and literally you can help in conserving the nature by just walking in your very favorite pair of shoes.
But it wasn’t until you decide to wear sustainable and eco-friendly shoes of course. Shoe companies are responsible for many environmental impacts from its material to its manufacturing process. Most of the impacts might have not been publicly known since the companies hide it.
However, why should you risk the nature just to go in style? There are a lot of innovation in the world of shoes that brings you eco-friendly shoes as good as the ones conventionally manufactured. This is what we are going to talk about in this article.
Conventional Shoes Contributes High Carbon Footprints
Shoes are parts of fashion in this modern days, just like clothes and accessories. However, not every fashion item is sustainable and eco-friendly, and that’s why some researchers were trying to measure the carbon footprints of fashion items.
In the study, the researchers found out that shoes belong to the ones that contribute the most carbon. If it was to be counted, the amount of carbon emitted by producing a pair of running shoes may reach up to 13 kilograms.
And sneakers are considered to be the least eco-friendly ones because they are made of many distinct parts. Those parts need to be manufactured with steps like injection, foaming, heating, cutting, and sewing which each contribute relatively high amount of carbon.
Another point to note is that more than 75% of the world’s footwears come from China. The country itself is depending highly on fossil fuel, including in manufacturing the sneakers. We already know how severe the air pollution in the country is.
One of the main cause why most shoes are not sustainable is simply just because they are not made of sustainable resources. Those resources either produces much waste, needs to be treated with dangerous chemicals, or simply non-degradable.
Take example leather, the tanning process of this material to make a pair of shoes is environmentally costly. It consumes a huge amount of water in the process, while it also produces great amount of waste, both solid and liquid.
Another popular material is synthetic leather that you can find in the liner of most sneakers. The processing stage is eco-friendlier than actual leather, but it also brings harm to the nature in its own way. mostly made of PVC and polyurethane, it is not biodegradable.
Synthetic rubber, which is usually can be found in the soles of your shoes, are also environmentally costly. Being the byproduct of petroleum, synthetic rubber needs to be treated with chemical compounds, creates waste, also consumes much energy and water.
As a solution to encounter the harmful activities that manufacturing shoes may cause, there are many shoe companies are already developing sustainable and eco-friendly shoes. The main concern and methods to be sustainable and ecofriendly are various. Here we give you some examples.
3D Knitted Sneakers
Among other kinds of waste, fabric is one of the biggest byproducts in manufacturing shoes. That’s why, reducing the amount of fabric waste is another point to be done by shoe companies to reduce their carbon footprints.
And innovation has been made by Native Shoe using 3D knitting method to reduce their fabric waste. The company also uses recycled materials for their shoes to guarantee the zero-waste achievement they are boasting about.
The models of the shoes are also up to date, so you don’t have to worry about being left behind by the fashion industry. Thus, by using the zero-waste shoes that the company produce, you can show your support to the nature in style.
Eucalyptus Pulp Running Shoes
Another method to reduce shoes manufacturing carbon footprints is by using sustainable resources to create the products. A choice made by Allbirds shoe company is by using Eucalyptus pulp instead of synthetic rubbers and leather.
With breathable knit upper made with the eucalyptus pulp, the company assure that their products are high quality shoes. Not only that, they also build the complete shoes from recycled polyester laces, padded sole, and bio-based TPU eyelets.
For the style, it appears as good as other manufactured shoes you commonly find on the market. With only $95 a pair and a little consciousness toward the nature, you can get off-white, light blue, or dark grey sustainable running shoes from Allbirds.
This kind of footwear is pretty different from the other two mentioned above. The difference is, the whole body of this footwear is made of algae. Thus, the products can show the supports to the nature in two ways, one is by being bio-degradable and two is by helping the water bodies preventing algae blooms.
The company harvest algae from many water bodies under the threat of algae bloom and turn them into closed-cell foam known as ethylene-vinyl acetate or EVA. Vivobarefoot, London-based purveyor, together with Bloom, a firm that works on materials innovation, is the company responsible for this innovation in footwear.
Using EVA to produce footwear, Vivobarefoot said that for every size 42 shoes they produce they can return up to 57 gallons of clean water to the nature. Not only that, they can also remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere equivalent to 40 balloons.
“This is a true revolution for the footwear industry with the first plant-based alternative to the petro-foams in ubiquitous use. We are thrilled to be the first company to use Bloom in our shoes and further our mission to make the perfect shoe—perfect for feet and minimal impact on the planet,” said Galahad Clark, founder of Vivobarefoot.