Eco Friendly Shoe SOURCE.











Thongs by some accounts can be considered the oldest form of footwear. Egyptian Hieroglyphics dating 15000 BCE depict images of footwear that closely resemble the modern day flip flop. The laborious construction of ancient footwear were of organic harvested materials like, wood, leaves, plants, grass, tree bark and coconut skin. Egyptians appear to be the first to employ vegetable tanning techniques and spun flax for thread to hold the shoes together. The Egyptians, also famous for their fondness of jewelry, would adorn their thongs with beads, metals, gold and precious stones. For those of you like me wondering, the name “flip flop” derived from the sound the shoe makes when walking. Flip Flops are universal footwear and concepts of the original design appear in ancient Rome, India, Asia South Africa and other countries. Other names for flip flops include Thongs, Jandals, and Chappal.

Ancient Egyptian Sandal-15000 BCE

Ancient Egyptian Sandal 15000 BCE

Flip flops are the simplest of all shoe designs; featuring just two components, a simple sole and strap (thong) that holds the front of the foot to the shoe. What I found most interesting about these ancient shoes is that they were typically worn by men of means. Thankfully for us fashionistas, Flip flops have come a long way in that regard.

Terra Plana Dopie White-Eco

Terra Plana Dopie White-Eco Summer 2009

Flip flops evoke a carefree, relax mode. For me, other than a great pair of 4 inch heels, I live in flip flops. Thongs serve a great purpose for me; I can still look cute sporting a FABU pedi, when running to the market or just taking a stroll. Flip Flops are great alternative to sneakers.

Flip flops have crossed the threshold from just beachwear to everyday footwear. As workplaces are adopting more relaxed dress codes, it is not uncommon to see flip flops in the office. Many probably remember when some in the public went aghast as Northwestern’s Women’s Champion Lacrosse team showed up at the White House for a photo opt donning Flip Flops. Now it is not so uncommon to see thongs wearers, at casual and red carpet events. Mainstream shoe designers have channeled the Egyptians and are adorning thongs with sequins, metallic, swarovski crystals, gemstones, diamonds, and offering them in varying heel heights. Eco footwear designers seem to be inspired by the ancient origins of thongs by their use of the similar organic materials. Once again, because of its simple design, styling options for flips flops are unlimited.

These delicious Mink Shoes Thongs and are vegan. Mink never disappoints with their play on animal names for their shoes. These are called Lemur. I love the delicate petal applique that frames the sides of the foot. Perfect for that flowing sundress and matched with a flower in your hair.

Pink Lemur-Vegan

Pink Lemur-Vegan

Hip hop-eco flip-flops with a little BLING! Melissa Shoes, brings it with their patented Melflex plastic technology. There’s no sin in these thongs that are made of recycled plastic and has a delightful fruity smell added during manufacturing. The Sin+J Maskrey shoe is dazzling with the crystals on the T. This flashy eco flat is ideal for petite gals looking to elongate their legs and pairs nicely with a short jumpsuit.

Melissa Shoes Sin+J Maskrey

Melissa Plastic Dreams Shoes Sin+J Maskrey

Go for a bold look with Olsen Haus eco friendly thongs aptly named Goliath. These gladiator thongs are strong and solid with an adjustable buckle. Olsen Haus doesn’t overdo it; they’ve kept this black and tan sandal simple. This thong has a great profile from the side and the top. For a knockout look, this shoe can be coordinated with classic linen.

Olsen Haus Goliath Thongs-Vegan

Olsen Haus Goliath Thongs-Vegan

I’ve come across some very impressive eco shoe companies. Pikolinos is certainly ranks among the most impressive. They are located in Spain. Their 2009 Summer Orinoco collection was awarded the EU Eco-label. The EU Eco Label certifies that strict environmental standards are adhered to during manufacturing. It doesn’t stop there. Pikolinos, committed to reducing it’s carbon footprint has a “zero paper” policy and waste generated within the company is recycled. And on a social responsibility front Pikolinos collaborates with several social, cultural, sport and development projects. Endeavors include UNICEF; our Mundy Organization in Ancash, Peru; the Aderbissinat Community project in Tadibene, Nigeria; AMAMEC (Woman Breast Cancer Affected Association) in Elche, Spain; and, investigation projects in Elche Hospital in Spain. You can’t help but feel good with a purchase of Pikolinos.

Pikolinos Lima Summer 2009-Semi Vegan

Pikolinos Lima Summer 2009-Semi Vegan

Hopefully, I’ve provided a good start for you to consider as shop for your Summer footwear. Why not add a couple eco pair? So whether you’re off to the beach, market, dinner or special event walk like a modern Egyptian eco style.

~Ar

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I’ve been conducting a poll over the last couple weeks asking people how they plan to commemorate Mother’s Day.  Responders include people with large families with several siblings, only children, people whose mothers’ live a distance and some whose mothers are deceased. The common thread among these individuals is that their Mother’s played a very significant role in the shaping of their lives.   They view Mother’s Day as an special opportunity to give back to their Mom’s.  For me, on Mother’s day, I too reflect on my own unique experiences with my Mother and mother figures who played and continue to play significant roles  in shaping me into the woman I am.Little Girl ShoesMy mother and these other women are strong, spiritual and sassy.  My mother unwittingly, helped mold me into the earth loving shoe diva that I am.  As a young girl, with narrow feet, it was a challenge for her to find shoes that fit me.  We shopped at specialty shoe stores that were beautifully laid out with a variety lovely shoes.  I have very vivid memories of Saturday “shoe outings” to specialty shoe stores to find the perfect shoe with the perfect fit. I recall feeling special.   My delight was barely containable when the salesperson brought boxes of shoes for me to try on.  I felt as if  I was being catered to as the shoes I carefully slipped my foot into shoes.  It was such a glorious experience!

In this post, I’ve sourced shoe eco friendly shoes that pay special homage to Mother Earth in their sustainability, use of recycled materials, and custom-oriented designs.  These shoes are as fresh as a Mother’s Day bouquet.

The Hetty Rose shoe experience likens to my childhood. What I feel is special about Hetty Rose is the client participates in choosing the style and fabric for their hand made shoes. Hetty Rose, located in the UK is eco because all shoes are not only made of recycled fabrics, but exquisite vintage Japanese kimono fabrics. What better gift for Mom than a pair of shoes made specifically to fit her? You can create your own special shoe memory with Hetty Rose shoe. I encourage you to visit the site; while there you can view a short film on the making of their shoes. It’s a fascinating process. http://www.hettyrose.co.uk/

Handmade Shoes by Hetty Rose

Handmade Shoes by Hetty Rose

Another company known for its luxurious custom vegan shoes is Mink. I’ve features some Mink shoes before. Mink is known for their vegan friendly high fashion shoes and creative use of eco friendly materials such as cork, denim, linen, faux fur, as well as animal friendly substitutes. Being in Beverly Hills, I’m sure is a constant source of inspiration for shoe designer, Rebecca Brough. I love the witty names chosen for their styles, like Orangutan. This Oranguntan shoe is from the Resort Collection. Mink shoes are extremely unique and are offered in a very limited production.

Mink Orangutan Wedge Custom Shoe from Resort Collection

Mink Orangutan Wedge Custom Shoe from Resort Collection

Anther shoe design house that aptly represents mother earth is Terra Plana. In keeping with the individuality, these Melito pumps are made from recycled Pakistani quilts. Again in keeping with the theme, each pair in this style family is unique.

Terra Plana Melito Pump-Recycled Quilt

Terra Plana Melito Pump-Recycled Quilt

Happy Mother’s Day to all who are Mother’s, Mother Figures and love Mother Earth!

~Ar



When I learned that  reality TV fashionista, Kim Kardashian, had co-founded  ShoeDazzle, The World’s Premier Shoe Society, I was immediately intrigued by the concept.  Kim is an experienced stylist and retailer. She has styled many celebrities and co-owns D-A-S-H with her sisters.  ShoeDazzle would be launched with all the shoes priced at $39 including shipping.  Each month, society members’ personal ShoeDazzle stylists would recommend  five styles.  Members would then pick 1 pair to be delivered.  A revolutionary way to shop for shoes online indeed.

The Process

Of course being all about shoes, I had to check ShoeDazzle out for myself.  I contacted ShoeDazzle Customer Service and inquired as to the origin of the shoes and wanted to find out if they were eco.  I first received an auto reply and then an actual person replied to me within 24 hours.  The response was “all of the shoes constructed with man-made materials and therefore vegan.”  Mystery solved, sign me up!

Enrolling is easy. I answered 21 simple questions with photographs of runway fashions, shoes, fashion brands, and celebrities; demographic info such as, age, sizes and color preferences.  The survey is meant to give the stylists an idea of my individual fashion tastes.  I then registered my email and credit information. I would only be charged after I placed my first shoe order.  A day later, ShoeDazzle sent me an email notification that my stylists had made five great shoe selections for me to review in my “personal showroom”.  Talk about appealing to a fashionista-ego.   Once I logged in to ShoeDazzle, as promised, their were 5 glorious pairs of shoes.  I must admit, it was slightly difficult for me to pick just one pair; my stylists recommendations for me were spot on.  If I were visiting a shoe store, I would have definitely targeted in on the shoes they selected.  The styles ranged from flats, pumps and stilettos.  I vacillated several times before settling on the Michael Antonio Sandals.  Mainly because they were black and the most versatile of the shoe selections.  Coincidentally, they were selected by Kim.  I received confirmation emails when my order was, placed and then shipped.   ShoeDazzle uses FedEx and I was able to track my shoes delivery process with automated emails.

Delicious ShoeDazzle Box

Delicious ShoeDazzle Box

My heart started racing after I got the call from the concierge in my building that my FedEx package had been delivered.  The ShoeDazzle box has a delicious pink top with a lavender and pink floral design on the bottom.  The lid remains affixed to the box making the reveal of the shoes all the more dramatic.  Once opened, neatly placed inside the box was a Pashmina scarf.  What a pleasant surprise!  The scarf was my gift for being a first-time customer. Also included was a pretty pink shoe bag for my new darlings.  Great for traveling.  ShoeDazzle included a welcome letter, packing slip and return label.  Shoes can be returned or exchanged within 30 days of delivery.   There is a $5.95 return shipping fee…blah, blah, blah.

My Michael Antonio ShoeDazzle Shoes

My ShoeDazzle Shoes


The Shoes

I carefully separated the lavender tissue paper to uncover my gorgeous new Michael Antonio Black sandals.  The embossed faux leather textured shoes have a .75″ platform base with a 4″ stiletto heel.  Because I have a narrow foot, there is a little space between between the top upper thick strap designed to caress the foot.  I plan to  fix that with Dr. Scholls or SummerSoles insoles, which are great for the heat of Summer.  (In case you’re wondering, I’ve searched for eco insoles, but haven’t found any appropriate for sandals)  Because the shoes are vegan and not leather, there won’t be the issue of the shoes stretching.  I’m in love with the silhouette of this sandal.  Michael Antonio knows how to design a shoe for women’s legs and feet.  I put my new shoes to the test by walking around on hardwood, ceramic tile, and carpet.  I even slept in them.  Insane I know. 🙂  These vegan shoes were made for strutting not sleeping, but the fact that I didn’t kick them off during the night says a lot.

Cons:  The insole is “lightly” padded.

Pro: Solid construction, sexy, goes with any look.

ShoeDazzle

ShoeDazzle

The shopping experience with ShoeDazzle is secure and the company is a member of the Better Business Bureau.  Customer Service was responsive and friendly  I can’t wait until my closet is full of more cute ShoeDazzle boxes.  All shoe lovers should get ShoeDazzled!  To get started, visit http.www.shoedazzle.com. I’d love to compare stylists selections with you.

~Ar



{April 14, 2009}   I’m Shoe Dazzled!

Well vegan shoe lovers, I have just opened my first shipment from ShoeDazzle. Kim Kardashian, Chief Fashion Stylist and Co-Founder of ShoeDazzle selected the sexy Michael Antonio, Artemisa vegan stiletto sandal for me. I love them! I’ve been wearing them since I finished taking the pictures for you (please excuse the quality, I used my iPhone).

1st ShoeDazzle Society Shipment-March 2009

1st ShoeDazzle Society Shipment-March 2009

Based on my initial experience with ShoeDazzle I’m pleased and will continue my membership in the ShoeDazzle Society–only $39! I will share more about my experience with the company in my next post. I just had to give you a taste for now. In the meantime, you can find out how the ShoeDazzle’s Shoe Society works by visiting www.shoedazzle.com

Lovely ShoeDazzle Box

Lovely ShoeDazzle Box

~Ar



YES YOU CAN be eco and luxurious! Designers Beyond Skin Sui Generis shoes and Rachel Cassar are very adept at producing impeccable eco friendly designs that are sophisticated.

Although Rachel Cassar is not an eco shoe designer, she showed up on my radar as many eco designers do.  Rachel hails from Australia and has a passion for eco fashion.  Both of these designers maintain unwavering ethical production standards. Sui Generis uses vegetable materials and 90% of Rachel Cassar garments are from recycled materials.  Rachel’s eco couture designs are  simply beautiful and would definitely pair well with these Beyond Skin Sui Generis vegan sandals.

Sui Generis Odessa T-Strap-Vegan

Sui Generis Odessa T-Strap-Vegan

Rachel Cassar Collection

Rachel Cassar Collection

I love this quote from Rachel “The only way people are going to accept eco fashion is if they’re not sacrificing anything for it…” It certainly conveys the sentiment of those of us who are pursuing fashion consciousness.

My hope is once the plethora of eco fashion options are discovered, they will become the standard and not the alternative for all.

~Ar



I am often asked, “What is Eco-Friendly,” “What are Vegan Shoes,” “What makes green shoes “green”?”  I’ve sourced it to 5 Things that make Eco Friendly Shoes:  Materials, Manufacturing, Social Responsibility, Design and Consciousness.

1. Materials

Eco friendly shoes differ greatly in content. Vegan shoes are animal-free, meaning all materials used contain no animal byproducts. Most vegan shoes have a synthetic microfiber which looks like leather. Cruelty-free uses animal byproducts such as wool, alpaca and cashmere that are harvested in a human manner. Eco Friendly designers use materials from organic plants, like bamboo, hemp, cork, organic cotton, silk, sasawashi, that are grown in pesticide-free environments. Recycled content such as carpet padding, clothes, plastic, and rubber are also creatively used to produce eco friendly shoes. As seen here, designer, Arti Upadhyay, has used all vegan materials for her Neuaura Shoes Shiner shoe.

Neuaura Shiner

Neuaura Shiner

If you haven’t heard of Melissa Shoes, I have no doubt you soon will.  Melissa Shoes is another innovative company using recycled plastic and some really neat technology. I will be featuring some of their amazing shoes in future posts.

2. Manufacturing

The manufacturing process is probably the most important element that differentiates “eco friendly shoes.” The use of non toxic chemicals and solvent free adhesives alleviate strains on the environment. Some facilities are even powered by solar or wind energy. Many implement conservation and waste reduction practices that are put in place and as part of the work culture. Designers featured in Eco Shoe Source posts take proactive steps to minimize the impact on the environment during the all phases of shoe production.   Eco friendly designers are impacting local communities in developing countries by providing opportunities for fair living wages and decent working conditions.  Neuaura Shoes are manufactured in a factory in Brazil that received the Green Seal in 2008 in recognition for its compliance with Brazilian environmental laws.

3. Social Responsibility

I’m sure it’s hard for us to fathom that some would pose as caring about the environment purely for profitable reasons. What I’ve found is social responsibility is what compels many eco shoe designers to Go Green. You will be impressed by their commitment to sustainable practices from conception to production. Kailia Footwear is an eco friendly company that has successfully merged the concepts of eco, ethical and social responsibility as part of its operations and core mission.  Charmone,  Neuaura, Melissa and Kailia and their Do-Ni line are just some designers that donate to some of the same organizations that we support to either protect animals, the environment and/or women’s issues.

4. Design

One of the most impressive aspects that we eco fashionistas expect is exceptional styling of shoes. It’s often the aesthetic that appeals to us first.  Going Green doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style, selections or comfort. Often when I tell people I’m wearing eco shoes, they’re amazed!
“Whaaat! Those are eco,” is often the refrain. Celebrities are joining the field of eco designers as eco friendly shoes become more mainstream. Most notably is the success of
Stella McCartney and recently Natalie Portman’s collaboration with Te Casan.  We welcome them to the movement and the publicity they bring.  Chunky heels, boots, platforms, strappy sandals, flats, pumps, peep toe–there’s a style for every taste.

Cydwoq Vegetable Tanned Leather

Cydwoq Vegetable Tanned Leather

5. Consciousness

The beauty of the Eco fashion and Go Green! movement is there are differing shades of green.  If you rather buy eco friendly shoes than recycle, that’s a valuable contribution to the environment and perfectly acceptable.  As you see, the efforts that goes into bringing eco friendly shoes to market is quite prodigious.

Stella McCartney Spring 2009

Stella McCartney Spring 2009


Yes, the shoe industry as a whole still has some work to do, but we all do. The great news is that there are many emerging eco friendly designers offering fashionable eco friendly options.  Going Green is attainable for all and any effort is valuable.  The point is to DO SOMETHING.  Since I started  Eco Shoe Source, I learn more everyday and am encouraged by the challenge to help make the world we live in  better place.
~Ar



et cetera