Line art drawing of shoe.
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If you’re in the market for new footwear, why not try environmentally friendly shoes. From sneakers, to flats, to heels, there’s likely to be one that’s just right for your liking. You don’t need to give up style and comfort in order to become a friend of the Earth.

When people hear the term “environmentally friendly shoes,” the first things that enter their minds are Birkenstocks or moccasins. This should not be the case, because modern eco-friendly shoes don’t sacrifice style for their lower carbon footprint.

Environmentally-friendly shoes are made of organic or recycled materials. Their linings can be made from bamboo or recycled yarn. The outer layer of the shoe may be made from hemp, organic bamboo, or any other sustainable material. Their soles are often recycled from old tires, while their laces can be made from recycled plastic.

There are several companies that manufacture environmentally-friendly shoes. These companies make a conscious effort to decrease their carbon footprint with regards to their operations, including their processing, manufacturing, and shipping activities. Even big companies are restructuring their processing methods in order to conserve energy – thus decreasing their carbon emissions.

Consumers should be well informed and should read the labels to find out whether the pair of shoes they’re considering buying are environmentally friendly. Some labels contain information about the total environmental impact of the pair. Some manufacturers have a rating system with regards to the carbon footprint a pair has. If the product is said to be organic, then it should have an USDA label. This certifies that the product was made from materials grown and was processed without any chemicals. The health of the ecosystem where the sources of materials were grown will also be considered.

Fair trade is another matter which people should consider when buying shoes. Farmers are among the worst treated professionals in the world. “Fair trade” means good working conditions, fair wages, and reasonable treatment of the environment. Fair trade also gives farmers the freedom to choose whom to trade their goods with. And with fair trade, toxic pesticides and GMOs are out of the question.

Most environment-friendly shoe manufacturers use minimal and biodegradable packaging, to keep their carbon footprint low. Some companies also donate a portion of their profits to organizations that help the environment.

You can go online and do your research to find out where you can buy green footwear. Some retail stores have entire “green lines” because of the demand for such products. Buying and using environmentally-friendly shoes is one easy way to help care for our planet.