Sneakers are a no-brainer wellness staple–whether you’re into running, walking (aka LISS), spinning, or just being comfortable while you dash around town doing errands. Unfortunately, your average pair of sneakers is created with polluting ingredients (like petroleum) using unstainable methods. But take heart! Some innovative, earth-conscious brands are changing that. If you’re in the market for new kicks, check out these brands committed to producing shoes that are better for your feet and the environment.
If you’re on the hunt for a new pair of shoes to help get you through a summer of hiking and a plethora of other outdoor activities, look no further! The highly innovative, London-based shoe company Vivobarefoot has made a killer pair of athletic shoes called the Ultra III Bloom, all while ridding the earth of a harmful and highly toxic organism: algae. (And yes, the shoes are vegan!)
These shoes are giving us some serious one-with-nature vibes…
Algae has been widely regarded in the beauty industry as an age-defying, skin-soothing wonder ingredient. Unfortunately, in its natural element, algae can pose a significant threat to the environment, devastating local ecosystems and wreaking havoc on the health of humans, plants, and wildlife. Harmful algal blooms, also known as red tides, blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, occur when colonies of algae become overgrown and produce hazardous toxins like microcystins, which can contaminate drinking supplies and cause nerve damage in mammals. The overproduction of algae can also block sunlight and can deplete the water of oxygen — both of which other organisms depend upon to survive. Although uncontrolled algal blooms are often caused by natural events like hurricanes, floods, or drought, there are also many man-made triggers that cause the algae to overproduce, such as water contamination and climate change.
In order to help prevent algae from growing out of control, Vivobarefoot teamed up with Bloom (a performance-based materials manufacturer that harvests excess algae from freshwaters to make flexible foam) to create a more sustainable version of their signature ultra-thin, foot-shaped, “barefoot” shoes.
Snatch up a pair of these Women’s Ultra III Bloom, $80.00
The eco-friendly shoes are lightweight and designed to make the wearer feel like they don’t have anything on at all in order to maximize sensory feedback. The Ultra III Blooms are water resistant and provide wet and dry traction, perfect for exercising, off-road activities, and everyday wear. The Ultra III Blooms are also available for men in sizes 7 to 13 and every pair of men’s size 9 shoes sold returns 57 gallons of clean water to habitats and reduces 40 balloons worth of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere!
These comfort-chic shoes are all about using sustainable materials–from recycled cardboard to tencel (which requires 95% less water than traditional fabrics) to laces made with recycled plastic bottles. The star material in their newly released Tree Runners is eucalyptus fiber, a sustainable material that feels silky smooth while allowing feet to breathe and stay cool.
Allbirds is Forest Stewardship Council-certified, meaning they follow strict sourcing standards that protect the forests and the people who rely on them. The insoles are created with ethically harvested wool, which, yes, is an animal product, but one that can be sourced with kindness (not to mention it biodegrades unlike its synthetic counterparts). Allbirds used bio-based TPU in its eyelets, a material created when unique microorganisms consume plant sugars. According to Allbirds, it’s tougher and more resilient than traditional material used in eyelets.
Allbirds Women’s Tree Runners, $95
Allbird Tree Runners are so soft, they can be worn sockless while the natural material helps reduce odor–score!
Are you planning to give Vivabarefoot Ultra III Bloom sneakers or Allbird Tree Runners a try?
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Photos: Allbirds, Vivobarefoot