Adopting Sustainable Practices for Footwear

Few people think about how many chemicals or raw materials go into sneaker manufacturing. In addition, we rarely discuss the negative impact sneakers have on our environment when they’re disposed of at the end of their life cycle.

As awareness of these effects increases, more brands are committing to creating sustainable footwear. With these changes, we expect the impact on the environment to be positive. The core concept behind the adoption of sustainable practices in the sneaker industry is to implement techniques and methods aimed at reusing generated waste products to create new products.

Sustainable Practices: The “Why?”

The shoes we wear are made from toxic chemicals materials such as Polyurethane, Isocyanates, and Polyols that can cause serious health problems. The good news is that by simply altering the business model and adopting a circular economy approach, sneaker brands can reuse materials such as dyes, recycled fabrics, plastics, and more to make a significant impact.

These materials will ultimately end up in landfills, which further compounds the problem. The benefits of sustainable practices in the sneaker industry have given rise to:

  • Sustainable consumer purchase decisions where buyers align more with brands that share the same environmental awareness values as they do.
  • A growth spike in the recycling industry where, for instance, brands such as Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Obra, and more are now making sneakers only from recycled and biodegradable materials.
  • Adoption of ethical sneaker manufacture processes that primarily focus on fair wages and empowering communities to take charge of conserving their environment. This not only makes a positive social impact but also influences economic and environmental elements as well.
  • A gradual shift from petroleum-sourced materials to more biodegradable, carbon-negative sources has spurred the growth of innovation, and material science resulting in more efficient sneaker manufacture technology.

While aesthetics and functionality remain important considerations when shopping for a fresh pair of sneakers, remember, the rule of thumb is to be sure to look out for brands dedicated to conscientious, sustainable production methods. While the sneaker industry leaders agree sustainable practices are the way to go, a lot more remains on the list of things we need to do. The good news: we are well on our way.

At GotSneakers, we support the circular economy through recycling and reusing sneakers and keeping them out of landfills. We have stopped over 60 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere while recycling and reusing over 2 million pairs of shoes (and counting!). Get started today by requesting your FREE Clean Out kit!


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