Sustainable fashion isn’t just about the garments. These days, footwear manufacturers are also trying to gain a foothold in this eco-friendly fashion sector. Such brands are beginning to use sustainable products, such as recycled ocean plastic, old truck tyres and denim scraps among others, as materials for making footwear.
The aim of such sustainable products is to reduce our carbon footprint within the next decade. Patrons are now conscious about the environment and are creating a demand for minimal, ethical, and eco-friendly footwear where comfort and durability go hand in hand.
Here are a few brands that are changing the fashion game by offering sustainable footwear choices.
Neeman’s is India’s first footwear brand which uses sustainably-sourced merino wool in its newly launched range of shoes. Neeman’s has partnered with The Woolmark Company, the global authority on wool, to source the finest Merino wool from Australia. The shoes, conceptualised in America and designed in London, are made from natural, renewable and biodegradable fibre. The finest Merino wool, plant-based castor bean oil for insoles and recycled rubber are the materials used for these shoes, which are comfortable to wear round the year. The collection consists of sock-free, odour resistant, flexible and lightweight shoes.
About the new collection, Neeman’s Founder Taran Chhabra says that it was his own personal struggle to find a shoe that could truly provide all-day comfort and be eco-friendly that resulted in this line. “This led me to look beyond synthetic fibre and my search ended with the naturally versatile Merino wool fibre,” he says. “Neeman’s has created a path-breaking collection of shoes by using Merino wool from Australia, which is superfine and lightweight, moisture-wicking and breathable, naturally odour-resistant and keeps the skin cool and dry even in extreme temperatures.”
Chhabra focused on bringing truly comfortable footwear that looks good, feels good and is good for the planet. He says, “Today, when the whole world is talking of organic and natural resources, we decided to follow nature’s path of environmental sustainability using natural fibre along with recycled and renewable materials.”
Amar Preet, co-founder/director (operations), Neeman’s, says, “Traditionally, wool has been sought-after as a product for winter because it’s bulky, heavy on the skin. Neeman’s is breaking this myth by using Australian Merino wool, which is superfine, eco-friendly and lightweight.” Neeman’s shoe collection comprises joggers (multi-functional lightweight running shoes), classic sneakers with a modern twist, and simple yet elegant loafers. All these are made in subtle colours which are fit for all occasions. The shoes are good to wear throughout the year and have the ability to withstand every weather condition. These are made with Merino wool, boast high quality, and are available at www.neemans.com.
Woodland is known for its eco-friendly initiatives and has now strengthened its sustainability campaign by launching a new range of biodegradable footwear. This launch is in keeping with the company’s CSR initiative, Proplanet, which is all about responsible manufacturing. The new range is one of the most exciting environmental innovations in India’s footwear segment.
The brand is offering biodegradable shoes and sandals that are sturdy, durable and aesthetically designed. No major processing is involved in the making of these shoes. The materials used are free of any harmful substances. The outer sole and heel of the shoe are made of crepe rubber (natural raw rubber) and its upper part is made of vegetable-tanned leather, which has also been utilised in the lining of the shoe. Cellulose has been used to make the insole, the toe puffs and counters. The footbed is made of latex foam and covered with vegetable-tanned leather. A water-based rubber adhesive has been used to put together the shoe, whose upper part has been stitched to the insole and the sole. The thread and laces are made of cotton.
Harkirat Singh, managing director, Woodland, talks about the collection: “The new range of biodegradable footwear is another step towards strengthening the brands associated with the environment. This new range is the result of significant research and development. We are very proud of this line, and I hope that environmentally conscious customers will be thrilled with our new offerings.”
The new range is available at select Woodland stores.
As we all know, the pollution of seas and oceans worldwide has taken a toll on marine life. As a response, Adidas and the non-profit organisation Parley partnered for the ultimate sustainability project. The brand has unveiled its new eco-friendly Parley limited edition UltraBOOST and UltraBOOST X footwear. Adidas also creates high-performance sportswear made from recycled plastic waste. Continuing its battle against the lingering threat to our oceans and our planet, Adidas has combined the finest performance technology with progressive eco-innovation. Each pair of shoes is made of approximately eleven plastic bottles recovered from the ocean. Also, the yarn spun used in these shoes while processing is made from other waste found in the ocean. The shoe’s upper part has been crafted using ClimaCool technology which allows it to be breathable and flexible. Shoes like these are perfect for running and workouts. The sneaker has a white base with hints of blue through the body.
Adidas Parley is an eco-friendly line of running sneakers, pants and socks created to limit the amount of plastic bags, microbeads, and other man-made trash in waters. The Parley shoes are priced from Rs 15,999 to 17,999.
Every year tonnes of tyres go to landfills which accumulate vast amounts of waste. An Indian brand, Paaduks, has taken up the initiative of recycling these tyres. Paaduks makes handmade footwear with scrap tyres as soles and with other eco-friendly materials— such as cork and jute—they make the base and flaps of their footwear.
The designs on offer are completely inspired by street cobblers. The brand procures used tyres from the scrap market. Initially, they were using truck tyres and they have now moved on to using aeroplane tyres. The cork or jute, for the base and flaps of the shoes, are sourced locally and are beautifully crafted into amazing yet unassuming pairs of footwear.
The price for a pair of Paaduks ranges from Rs 500 to Rs 700.