Little Green Feet
A large part of making green choices for kids' footwear is following the three “Rs," reduce, reuse and recycle. Buying or acquiring used shoes and donating old shoes when kids outgrow them are good ways to reduce and reuse, particularly for kids who often outgrow their shoes before wearing them out.
Choosing new shoes with recycled material is another important way to keep kids’ feet green. Shoes with recycled content are becoming increasingly available as companies strive to improve their sustainability and as more people choose green options in footwear. A growing number of shoe companies now use recycled and eco-friendly materials in their shoes, for adult and children’s sizes alike.
In the past few years, choices in eco friendly shoes have blossomed, and are increasing every year. Take Simple, for example; in 2007, the company began using recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) from recycled soda and water bottles in its shoes, in 2008 it introduced recycled car and bike tires and inner tubes, and in 2009, it brought in recycled carpet padding. Now every shoe Simple makes contains sustainable and recycled materials. Other companies are incorporating these materials in their shoes as well, such as Timberland, Patagonia, Chaco, and the four other companies featured in this article. Although it is still difficult to find a 100 percent recycled shoe, there are many options for shoes with recycled content.