Eco Friendly Shoe SOURCE.

Payless ShoeSource announce plans to launch the first-ever affordable green footwear line due in stores early next year and that it has signed an agreement with Summer Rayne Oakes, Discovery Network’s Planet Green fashion and beauty expert and author of Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion & Beauty (Chronicle Books, February 2009), to serve as the green footwear brand’s Eco Consultant.

Payless ShoeSource Zoe & Zac

Payless ShoeSource Zoe & Zac

Payless ShoeSource also announced the immediate availability of its new Zoe & Zac brand, which offers “fresh green fashion”(TM) with a full collection of shoes, handbags, jewelry and socks for under $30 an item — making it the first-ever affordable line of green footwear and accessories.  The Zoe & Zac products are green because they are made from eco-friendly components and materials such as organic cottons and linen, natural hemp, recycled rubber outsoles, eco-friendly-EVA cushioning, and water-based glues for the shoes. Natural materials like dyed Tagua and Acai nuts are incorporated into the jewelry. The product packaging is eco-smart as well, utilizing 100 percent recycled shoe boxes and soy-based inks for the printing.

About Summer Rayne Oakes

Summer Rayne Oakes is a model-activist and spokesperson, resident expert, and youngest board of advisors for Planet Green, Discovery Network’s new eco- lifestyle channel. The Cornell University graduate and environmental scholar has received media accolades including Vanity Fair naming her a Global Citizen, Outside naming her one of the Top Environmental Activists, Cosmopolitan naming her Fun, Fearless Female of 2007, and CNN’s Nicole Lapin nominating her as a “Young Person Who Rocks.” Through her work as a consultant Summer Rayne advises companies and organizations, and works on sustainable development and environmental programs in the U.S. and abroad. In February 2009, she’ll release her first book, Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion & Beauty published by Chronicle Books.

SOURCE Payless ShoeSource, Inc.

This is a big step for Payless ShoeSource, a moderate price shoe retailer, joining the eco fashion footwear market. High end retailers have paved the way by offering successful fashionable lines for several years.  Payless’ announced eco collaborations will certainly make purchasing eco friendly shoes more widely accessible, which is ultimately a benefit for eco conscious consumers and the environment regardless of the price point.



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.

et cetera