It's not easy to find the right eco-friendly shoe!
In the case of clothing, it's possible to find second-life garments very easily or eco-responsible designs with a little effort. In the case of shoes, for reasons of hygiene and deformation, it is not recommended to wear used shoes.
The first challenge when it comes to shoes is obviously over-consumption. In France, it is estimated that 5.4 pairs of shoes are bought each year, and that women own an average of 17 pairs, while men own 9. In Canada, these figures are similar, and while the price of shoes is falling, the associated sales are also rising... This means that more and more shoes are being sold on the market.
The shoes conception
The most common composition of a shoe is 25% leather, 17% polyurethane, 16% synthetic rubber, 14% ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), 8% polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other materials.
The materials used in their design generate pollutants or become pollutants at the end of their life. For example, when leather is tanned, a potentially toxic heavy metal (chromium) is widely used. As for polyurethane and glues, they generate chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
We can also understand that some materials are made from petroleum and, like all plastics, are not biodegradable. The end-of-life of a shoe, which can come fairly quickly, is not without an ecological footprint!
Transport and sales
When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions and the energy used to produce a shoe, manufacturer Timberland has estimated that more than half of the energy used comes from the production and transformation of the raw materials used to make shoes. The rest of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with footwear come from its transport and distribution of sale.How to choose an eco-friendly shoe?
Obviously, the first thing to assess properly is the need!!!! Let's take a quick tour of needs in a country like ours. In an everyday context, and disregarding professional needs for example, the basis would be :
- Sport sandals
- Clean sandals
- Sport shoes
- Clean shoes
- Winter boots
This brings us to a total of 5 pairs. If you choose them well, you can keep them for an average of 5 years as an adult... So we shouldn't buy more than one pair of these every 5 years, one pair per year, which represents 4.4 pairs less than the French average!
A more eco-friendly shoe is one made from materials with a lower ecological footprint and that are renewable. Organic cotton, recycled plastic and vegetable-based leather and dyes are preferable.
Although this doesn't apply to vegans, it can still be less environmentally friendly to buy shoes made from cotton and plastic than from leather, which is generally more resistant and durable. Here again, it's important to buy leather whose origin and tanning process (chrome-free) are known.
And while we're at it, we'll also be favoring ethically-designed shoes that involve adequate living conditions for workers.
What shoes do we find made here?
- Le naturaliste
- Matt et Nat
- Simple Shoes
So there are some great alternatives when it comes to footwear.
It's our shared responsibility to make more ecological and ethical choices in everything we consume, including shoes. The Internet is full of information on the different processes used by brands, and it's always possible to question the company that produces the shoes you want.
So, once again, we invite you to use your power as a consumer!