Our choice of footwear can significantly impact our foot health, as well as our posture and even the quality of our walk. In recent years there has been a rise in ethical footwear options. This week, we explore what ethical footwear involves and shine a spotlight on Green Shoes, a Devon-based ethical footwear company.
The Importance of Good Footwear
Wearing the right type of footwear is important, not just for your feet, but also for the rest of your body. The type of shoes we wear impact on our posture, balance and even foot shape as it grows. By choosing the type of footwear we wear more carefully and consciously, we can help to improve our overall physical health.
Improper fitting shoes can also lead to a range of problems; from rubbing and sores, to more serious issues such as back pain. Choosing the correct type of shoe for the terrain or activity you are doing is also important to help you avoid injury and reduce the chances of slips and falls.
What Are Ethical Shoes?
There are some key factors to consider when it comes to ethical footwear. Firstly, the types of materials that are used to make the shoes and how they are sourced are of primary concern. In recent years there has been a shift towards more natural materials and substances, as well as an increasing number of vegan-friendly shoes on the market.
Another important fact is the manufacturing method of the shoes themselves, including any harmful chemicals or by-products created as a result of the manufacturing process. The carbon footprint of ethical shoes also takes transportation and packaging of the raw materials and final product into account. Typically, ethical footwear companies have a greater tendency to locally source materials and try, where possible, to minimize packaging.
One of the downsides of ethical shoes, however, can be their price. In many instances, ethical shoes are more expensive to purchase than shoes found in high street shops or chains. The argument is that, although their initial upfront costs is greater, ethical shoes are more durable and long-lasting.
Spotlight on Green Shoes
Although there are a range of ethical footwear companies to choose from, this week we will focusing on Green Shoes, an ethical footwear company based in Devon.
About Green Shoes
Started in Totnes, Devon in 1981, Green Shoes aims to create shoes which were not only beautiful, but also durable. With their workshop now based in Dartmoor, Devon, the company is comprised of a small team of 3 shoemakers and 1 workshop/shop manager.
At the heart of the company is a commitment to ethical production and creating a collaborative workplace, which at present, is run by women. All shoes are hand-made by the small team using materials which are sourced from suppliers based within the UK. The energy requirements for their workshop are low, meaning that they can keep waste to a minimum, and the company uses only the minimum packaging required.
According to the company, wearing Green Shoes “is a refusal to endorse the global system of brand name mass-produced show-manufacture.”
From sandals to boots, you can purchase shoes for men, women and children. Each pair of shoes is hand-made to order and is based around foot drawings of each person’s feet, meaning that shoes are unique and specifically tailored to each individual.
As well as leather shoes, the company also has a vegan range. Moreover, all footwear at Green Shoes is fully repairable. As such, not only are their shoes long-lasting, but they are more sustainable, as they reduce waste. In addition, Green Shoes also run workshops for anyone interested in crafting their own shoes.
This week, we invite you to reflect on your choice of footwear. Which shoes do you feel most comfortable in? Why? Are your shoes supportive? How do they affect your gait as you walk? How is the quality of your walk affected depending on the shoes you wear? What impact do your shoes have on the rest of your body, even your mood?
If you are looking to buy new shoes, why not consider purchasing a pair from an ethical footwear company? Alternatively, look at your existing shoes and consider ways in which you can repair them. Perhaps you have a favourite pair of boots that need to be resoled or re-heeled?
Do you have any suggestions for ethical footwear options? Share your thoughts in the comments below and as always, we invite you to share this post with others.