It’s an exciting time to live in, if you like sustainably produced footwear that looks spot on fabulous. Wait, isn’t that everyone? Here’s a top 5 of exciting brands to watch, and to shop your new sneakers, sandals or flip flops from.
1. Oat shoes
What: sneakers and a few bags, for both men and women.
The Story: The Oat sneakers don’t only look good now, but also when you plant them in your garden. Oat was the first to produce 100% biodegradable shoes. You can actually plant them in your garden, eventually the shoe will disintegrate, and flowers will bloom. The company behind these ‘shoes that bloom’ was founded in Amsterdam in 2009, and have seen a lot of international press since.
Social Responsibility is ‘in our DNA’ as Oat calls it, making sure that all materials are ethically sourced and the factory workers receive a fair wage.
Check this out: They also have the cutest little baby shoes called ‘Oaties‘. Teach ’em while their young!
What: Sneakers for men, women and les enfants (children).
The Story: This French sneaker company was founded by two friends in 2008. Having worked in the field of sustainability and seeing how many projects were really just ‘green washing’ rather than making a real impact, they decided to launch Veja.
Transparency is an important value and there are photo’s, video’s and audit reports on their website to give details on how they work as sustainably as possible.
Check this out: They not only share what is going well when it comes to building up a transparent and sustainable supply chain, they are also very open about the things that are still a work in progress.
The Story: Buyamba means ‘to help’ in the local language spoken in Uganda, where Buyamba is based.
The Ugandan women that work for Buyamba are incredibly skilled with rollings beads out of paper. Buyamba saw a market for footwear adorned with beads, which in turn means employment for over 200 displaced Ugandan women. They’ve partnered with a non-profit charity organization, which focusses on feeding and educating Ugandan children in need.
Check this out: For fashion advice and background stories on Buyamba’s work, read the stories on their blog.
4. Free waters
What: Flipflops, for men and women.
The Story: Free waters started out in 2010 in an art studio dubbed by Free Waters’ founders ‘the Shaolin temple’. These surfers wanted to make great quality flip flops, while also adding their bit to help more people to have access to clean drinking water.
A percentage of gross sales going to a fund that finances water wells in Kenya and water filter systems in Haiti.
Check this out: They also have a stress-free warranty, which does not cover your pet chewing on your slippers, but does cover most other damages.
What: Flats, custom boots, accessories and textiles, all very vibrant and colourful.
The story: If bohemian is how you roll, Teysha’s collection will be your new best friend. The colourful shoes are made in Guatamala. Teysha believes firmly in empowerment of local communities, and sources all their materials from small businesses across the continent.
Teysha believes ‘the world can be more vibrant, more unified, and more caring place’. Which can begin by knowing exactly where your clothing came from. The attached label to your new pair of shoes will tell you who made them.
Check this out: Browsing through the Boot-spiration gallery where happy customers show off their funky boots is very uplifting!
Which pair would you like gracing your feet this summer?