New Year, New You with Newsky Shoes

by Tiffany in Eco Fashion

This morning I hit the gym for the first time of 2012. Not only did I feel like the energizer bunny (thanks to paleo/primal foods!) I wore some new athletic shoes thanks to the fine people at PlanetShoes. Last month they sent me a pair of the “new” New Balance shoes, called NewSky. I already have some New Balance minimalist shoes in black and pink, though not this version and I love them so I was excited to try NewSky. I absolutely adore the blue/grey coloring (I was getting sick of pink) and these shoes come in wide width so they are way more comfortable than my other ones. Yes, those are my pasty white legs in the photo above. I don’t usually wear shorts in the snow but I haven’t done any laundry since the week before Christmas. I got some pretty strange looks at the gym today, LOL. Shorts and a parka isn’t a good combo?

Anyway, NewSky shoes are special because they are a much greener version of the classic shoe. They are minimalist and uber lightweight, which is important to me. You also know as you lace them up that the material they are made of is different. 95% of the upper section is made of recycled P.E.T, also known as recycled plastic bottles. Cool beans! I often hesitate to buy products that make the same claim because who wants to sleep on a pillow filled with plastic bottle filling or wear a shirt made of plastic bottles, but shoes are perfect. I always wear socks with them so they don’t come in contact with skin and athletic shoes typically wear out so fast that it is reassuring to know they are made from recycled materials. Also in order to make a shoe with so much recycled material they had to completely redesign it and that meant reduced waste overall. All of the inner materials you see in typical shoes like foam and reinforcer materials are not there. This makes the material very soft and pliable, not stiff. It is evident in putting on the shoe since you need to mold it your foot and then lace it up. This makes NewSky very different from other shoes but I personally think this it is rather awesome. The fit feels custom and perfect, like I am not even wearing shoes.

Cool fact: Each pair of NewSky shoes uses 8 20 ounce plastic bottles.

I first wore these on a quick two mile hike earlier this week. They were comfortable from the get-go and I never got a hint of a blister despite them being brand new. I can’t say the same of my other New Balance shoes. Today I wore them to the gym. I had to take them off before I jumped in the pool of course but afterwards I did some weight training and they performed well. I think these will be prefect for colder days when I can’t wear Vibram Five Fingers as I normally do.

Love the fit, love the comfort, and I love that they are made from recycled materials. They get an A+ from me! If you are interested NewSky shoes come in the blue/grey you see above as well as pink and a yellow/green combo. They also have NewSky shoes for men.

Contest Closed! The winner is Debbie Clauer, congrats!


Jambu Nottingham Barefoot Boots

by Tiffany in Eco Fashion

Fall is officially here and it is time for some lovin on the Fall collection of Jambu shoes, which have become a big favorite of mine over the years. They seem to have the right mix of fashion and style mixed with sustainability and outdoor adventure. For Fall I opted to try something I had never before seen.. Barefoot Boots! If you recall I have a love affair going strong with barefoot shoes. I wear my Vibram Five Fingers just about everywhere… the gym, the store, the zoo, hiking, traveling… I love them beyond all measure. Barefoot boots seemed like the perfect solution for minimal footwear in the winter AND despite the fact that I have been in Ohio for over 5 years, I still have never owned a pair of winter boots. What’s up with that?!

Anyway I selected the Jambu Nottingham Barefoot boots. They come with grey/black, brown/blue, and red/black color scheme options. I chose the brown/blue. I love that they can be worn up past the calf as a high boot but yet rolled down to mid calf for a shorter boot. It is like getting two pairs of boots in one. The former would be perfect for tighter pants and the latter for bulkier pants and jeans. They actually are minimalist as well. It’s very much like wearing pair of barefoot shoes, but slightly heavier and much warmer. The fit is very snug, which is going to take a bit of getting used to for me because usually, if I am not wearing five fingers (were all my toes can stretch out), I am wearing flip flops or other shoes chosen specially for their “roominess”. Though I suspect that come winter and the temperature dips to 10 degrees, the snugness won’t bother me as much. I can see some nice leisurely strolls at our local parks this winter, sporting these boots.

The upper part of the boot is a knit material (bonus for natural fibers) and the bottom part is nylon. You would expect that in a winter boot though. I am not sure what the inner liner is made of, but it is soft and comfy. The outsoles are made with partially recycled rubber, rice rubber to be exact. This allows flexibility and natural motion which emulates the one of a kind feeling that only walking on sand can give you. They are warm, comfy, and very minimalist. Other than being a bit too snug for my personal liking, they are a perfect minimalist shoes option for winter. In my estimation they run at least a half size small, so ordering up might fix that.

What are you wearing this winter?


Many thanks to Jambu for sending me a pair of shoes from their Fall line!


Patagonia Shoes Review

by Tiffany in Eco Fashion

The Patagonia brand is no stranger to me. They have a reputation for being a very green and ethical company and their products are a reflection of that. They are also widely known by outdoor enthusiasts since so many of their products are geared towards fitness and outdoor play, whether it be their shoes or their clothing. I have wanted a try a pair of their hiking shoes for a long time and actually had a few of their products bookmarked in my web browser in preparation for purchasing a good pair of winter hiking shoes. My Vibram Five Fingers got me by in style and safety all spring and summer but I am not into the whole primal thing of hiking in the snow wearing minimalist footwear.

Patagonia footwear is also doing something really cool right now that caught my attention. They have teamed up with Healthy Child, Healthy World and are donating $10 for every pair of shoes sold until October 14. This is a great pairing because both companies care about chemical safety for our planet and for families. Healthy Child Healthy World obviously advocates for corporate policies and government legislation that protect children from environmental health risks. They also seek to increase consumer awareness so we can vote with our dollars and attack this issue from that angle as well. Patagonia is known for their eco awareness and their efforts to reduce harmful chemicals from the manufacturing and dying processes of their lines. They too are advocates for a healthier planet.

Their footwear can be purchased through shoe retailer OnlineShoes. They have free shipping and free returns which is important to me because I have lots of issues getting shoes to fit (wide feet and really high arches). For this promotion, OnlineShoes was kind enough to send me a pair of the Patagonia Hiking Boots. I got the Patagonia Drifter A/C Gore-Tex® in Canteen and Dark Celadron colors. Its a waterproof trail shoe which will be important for hiking in the snowy Ohio weather and it has a 20% recycled footbed. It is manufactured by ISO 14001 Approved Suppliers, which means that materials are sourced from companies that follow a strict set of environmental standards. It can be resoled if need be and the Vibram® Trail Ecostep outsole is made of 30% recycled rubber.

They fit like a dream and they are very comfy so far. I haven’t done any serious hiking in them yet but I am all set for our local winter hiking series now. Last year I hiked in regular tennis shoes and slippage was a problem so I can’t wait to break these babies in on the trail. I plan to pair these with a comfy pair of wool socks (see my Eco Friendly Hiking Gear for Women post for my top choice). My tootsies are gonna stay warm and dry.

Monday, October 10th, 2011

126 Comments on Patagonia Shoes Review


Green Your School Year with Recyclebank

by Tiffany in Eco Fashion

It is that time of year so I  have been posting regularly about greening the upcoming school year. I have been doing this for a couple years so it is habit now but yet even I need reminders and motivation sometimes. Going to Walmart and tossing the cheapest stuff in the cart as fast as you possibly can is certainly tempting when your to-do and  your to-buy list is super long. If it were easy all the time then it wouldn’t be called “making an impact” would it? Even green parents can start to run low on steam and that is why I am loving the Green Your School Year challenge from Recyclebank.

Recyclebank is a community I first discovered a year of so ago. It is a place where a community of 2 million members keep track of their goals and successes while keeping it green. This is facilitated by great information and pledges to do just a little more. For this school year they kicked off a challenge to help parents keep the school experience green. In the first phase you walk through a nifty tutorial for shopping for greener school supplies. Right off the bat they recommended carpooling with another parent or family so you are conserving resources just making the trip to your local store. This was a step that escaped my mind for sure. Pledge to carpool and you get your first 10 points in the challenge!

Next up… pledge to buy green, recyclable, or recycled school supplies for another 10 points. As an added bonus they also have a download for you with a checklist of items to check/consider when researching companies and brands that you may purchase from. I love, love, love that they encourage people to research the ethics, certifications, and integrity of the companies and products you want to purchase.

The next screen had two quiz questions.. which I got right. Ding, ding! No doubt this feature is designed to help educate us on what to look for in these products and also make us aware of trends in family spending. They should turn this into a video game. ;) A link follows this page and and it provides a resource for you to recycle qualifying electronics and they offer up to 200 bonus points in return. I saved this info for future use.

Further on there more polls and informative links for keeping school supplies sustainable, including the wardrobe. It was a VERY fun tutorial and I enjoyed participating. I think I got all the available points could, minus the extra credit recycling points but I may end up finding some stuff to recycle and claim some of those too. When the challenge concludes they will be awarding some great prizes to some lucky winners including Bodhi Electric Bicycles (Yowza!), a solar backpack, gift certificates to department stores and grocers, lunch kits, vitamins, etc.

The next phase, which starts in a couple days is all about the first day of school. So after you join up and claim your points for greening the school shopping experience, make sure to check back with Recyclebank for the first day challenge. Good luck!

This post is part of a campaign sponsored by Recyclebank.

The Best Choices for Vegan Shoes

by Tiffany in Eco Fashion

You don’t have to be a vegan or a vegetarian to be concerned about the ethics of wearing animals. While many feel comfortable eating animals they may feel a bit less inclined to want to wear them around on their feet or on their handbag… especially when there are alternatives. The animal industry has an abysmal record when it comes to cruelty. And since the animals can’t speak out about the matter ethical vegans have taken the lead in speaking for them. It is really thanks to their outspoken voices that we have so many cruelty-free options on the market today. I am not vegan and have no desire to be so but I do appreciate the availability of animal free shoes and clothing.

Choosing vegan does not mean you have to sacrifice style and comfort. As a matter of fact, vegan shoes are out there, in the same style as the latest trend in leather fashion. Dozens of vegan shoe brands are now sprouting all over, catering to the needs of those who do not want to wear shoes with faces.

They are made of plant-based materials like hemp, and some synthetic fibers. Most of the time, these shoes also consist of recycled materials such as used rubber tires, making them not only animal-friendly but earth-friendly as well. They come in different styles, too; thus making any pair of feet fashionable.

Since vegan shoes are often made of biodegradable materials and not animal-based products, wearing vegan shoes is one way to minimize our environmental footprint. What’s more, vegan footwear is really durable and longer lasting compared to its non-vegan counterparts. To give you some idea what brands of shoes hold vegan choices, here is a list.

Converse – it has a wide array of vegan shoes that are mainly made of deconstructed hemp. Converse vegan shoes are tagged with a marked hemp on he heel for the world to know that they are cruelty-free shoes.

Jambu – A reviewed a pair of these a couple weeks ago. Their water diva vegan shoes are comfortable, stylish, and cruelty free. They also use some recycled materials.

Merrell – is known for its sports and hiking shoes and I have been eyeballing these for quite awhile. If only they made their barefoot shoes (the glove) vegan because those are the ones I want. Merrell does offer some vegan shoes though that are ideal for hiking and any form of exercise. Its vegan footwear also features a pumping system that keeps water out. I love their Encore Breeze clogs.

New Balance – offers vegan shoes especially made for runners. These shoes are made with New Balance’s trademark sole-support system and also equipped with shock-absorption technology.

Okabashi Flip-Flops – Their awesome shoes (I have a pair) are made of recycled materials and no animal products.

LifeStride – offers a wide range of 100% animal-free shoes for women. Fashionable choices include high-heels, flats, sandals and boots.

The price tag can seem high on vegan shoes but they really last. If you have resolved to try and wear less animal made clothing then these vegan shoes will get you off to a great start.