Eco-Friendly Shoes You Can Feel Good About Buying

For many of us the holiday season is a time of great abundance. Brightly wrapped packages under the tree, delicious meals with friends and family and celebratory nights out on the town are reminders of how fortunate we truly are.

This is also the time of year when recognition of that abundance inspires us to give back to the world. We're filled with inspiring thoughts of how to make the world a better place -- through charity, kindness and responsibility.

eco-friendly shoes

This week's blog post is full of shoe-shopping ideas that will appeal to your higher self. Plenty of shoe companies do business with a moral compass just as strong as your own. Here are some examples of some shoes with soul -- shoes that you can feel good about buying.

1. TOMS Shoes

TOMS Shoes' One-for-One program is probably the most well-known charitable shoe company giving program. The program began in 2006 when TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found that they didn't have adequate shoes. He founded TOMS out of his desire to help and since its beginning, for every pair of shoes purchased, the company has donated a pair of shoes to a child in need. The program expanded when TOMS opened their eyewear segment and is now growing to include coffee through TOMS Roasting Company. For each bag of coffee purchased, TOMS will donate a week of clean water to a person in need.

TOMS' success has been remarkable. They have given away more than 35 million pairs of new shoes to children in need and with their cute and comfortable styles continuing to gain popularity, their good work is sure to continue.

2. Bangs Shoes

Bangs Shoes was founded by Hannah Davis after discovering a pair of canvas work shoes while teaching English in China. Hannah originally began with the idea that the different colors of shoes her new company offered would represent a different charitable cause that would be supported. Over time, though, the Bangs' mission has changed and now shoe purchases support entrepreneurs both domestically and around the world.

Bangs means "help" in Mandarin and we love the idea that these cute, sturdy and functional shoes are really helping people all over the world.

3. Po-Zu Shoes

Po-Zu Shoes is a company that recognized the costs of traditional manufacturing and decided that they wanted to do something a little different. They recognized that the average person sent three pairs of shoes to the landfill every year and they wanted to create shoes that people could fall in love with and keep. Their shoes are built to last and they are "created with love for people & planet, and with respect for traditional craft communities."

Po-Zu expresses their commitment to ethical practices in the following ways.

  • Materials -- Their materials come from naturally renewable sources and are responsibly harvested. They contain no pesticides, bleaches or toxic dyes and are locally sourced whenever possible.
  • Manufacturing -- Po-Zu shoes are made in a small factory in Portugal, a country which derives over 70% of its energy from renewable sources.
  • Workers -- All workers are paid a fair wage and the factory provides a safe, 100% toxin-free environment by avoiding glues and solvents.

Whether you choose to purchase from one of these socially-responsible companies or not, there are plenty of ways you can be more mindful with your shoe-shopping. Here are some basic tips.

  • Take care of your shoes so they last. Keeping your shoes in good shape means keeping them out of the landfill. If you are ready to find a new home for your shoes, donate them to a local charity.
  • Make a commitment to donate to charity with every purchase you make. Even if the company you're purchasing from doesn't have a charitable giving program, you can create one of your own.
  • Get to know the companies you purchase from. Buying local makes this a lot easier, but even if you purchase from a national corporation, learn about where your money is going when you support their company.
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