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Steps for the World

Shoes are a necessity that may not be thought about that often, except when we are buying them. When you really think about shoes, how they are made or the amount of waste that comes with their wear in a dispensable-minded society, you might just find there is more to consider than style or size.

A large number of shoes, especially the plastic variety, may be comprised of harmful toxins. One study showed that the shoes they sampled contained alarming chemicals regardless of the price range or where they were produced. Investigations like this one advocate for the consumer’s right to know what is in the products that their hard earned funds are shelled out to obtain. Also, child labor and unethical working conditions are unfortunately rampant in the shoe manufacturing underground.

It’s doubtful that people would opt to purchase shoes if they were touted with truthful labeling, stating that they contain known carcinogens or that children or workers were harmed in their production. It is a good idea to have a little buyer awareness when it comes to your shoes and give some thought to how they were made along with the compounds they may contain.

Another smart thing to do is to buy recyclable or biodegradable shoes. Natural materials and vegan options come in many styles. Ecosalon’s sustainably made shoe list has some inventive ideas by creative, eco-friendly designers.

The uncountable amount of shoes that are simply wasted by being thrown away when the wearer decides to downsize a closet is an extraordinary number. Some shoes that are trashed can actually be good enough to get some more miles out of them. If all they really need is a good cleaning or a minor shoe repair, consider donating a pair. One example of a place that accepts shoe donations for a good cause is Soles4Souls. According to them, 300 million pairs were tossed out last year in America alone.

You can also buy from companies who will match your purchase by providing another to feet in need. Look for resourceful businesses, such as TOMS, or other shoe dealers who offer this charitable service when you decide to buy new footwear. Knowing you bought a pair for someone in need would probably feel pretty neat, especially when you look down and get to revel in an all new kind of shopper’s joy.

So, are you comfortable in your shoes?  Even when buying the necessities, we can all take better steps for the world, literally.


Hök, F. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation Report. Retrieved on October 19, 2012 from: Chemicals –Up Close:  Plastic Shoes From All Over the World

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