Posted by Tammy Kulpa on January 26, 2015
Sustainability and the Availability of Materials
You can probably guess the benefits of using material that is 100% made in the United States- we’d be creating more American jobs, supporting the middle class and our economy, and minimizing the resources that we need to transport the material (what a great way to reduce your carbon footprint!). So with all of these good intentions, why is it so hard to find a shoe that is genuinely 100% made in the USA?
When the shoe making industry left America in the 19th century to mass produce shoes in countries like China, Korea, Indonesia or the Philippines, the technology and materials left with it. (In 2012, China accounted for 63% of production in the shoe industry!) Our goal is to produce a shoe that is made from 100% American materials with no outsourcing (we also prefer to use recycled materials when they are an option). We use as many American made materials as are currently available to us. Right now our firmer Vibram soles are made in America, as is the light mesh we use in our tongues, and our micro-bamboo lining is knit in the USA.
Our shoes proudly display "Made in U.S.A." tags!
A Note About Vegan vs. Synthetic Material
We have put a lot of thought into the use of vegan (animal free) material. We want to know what is important to YOU.
In many countries around the world, animals that are used for human consumption are treated humanely and are used in their entirety- every part of the animal is used- so they produce virtually no unnecessary waste. We’ve explored many options, including fish leather- which is arguably better for the environment since fish skin is normally just discarded.
Fish Leather. Photo from http://thefishleather.co
Synthetic materials are free from animal products but are usually made with plastics, which require the burning of petroleum for their production. Recently, one of our good supporters directed us to a microfiber material that another shoe manufacturer uses. We did some research and decided that this wasn’t the route we wanted to take. Basically, we learned that most of the materials use synthetic fibers, which end up polluting our oceans. Here is the link to a great article we found from The Guardian. At the end of the day, we decided that leather is the closest to natural in terms of fiber content.
We’ve been doing a lot of research and have been keeping an open mind. We are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality hand made products using the most environmentally friendly materials.
We know that these issues are important to you- they are important to us too! We are always looking for innovations in our industry. If you have any idea or suggestions for American made and/or vegan materials, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or respond in the comments section below the blog.