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.
A source of clutter my in my home that has long bothered me is the shoe rack inside our door. Rather than tucking the shoes neatly inside an available space my kids usually just throw them into a pile on the top shelf until they spill onto the floor. The shoe rack was a step up from the basket we used at our old place but that was cluttered and messing looking too. I am still looking for a way to hide the shoe clutter but we won’t budge on having that designated space because the shoes come off first thing after entering the house. And while it does keep mad searches for shoes to a minimum we do this to keep nasties out of the house.
When you walk around inside the house with shoes you just wore outside you are likely bringing with you dust, dirt, lawn and garden pesticides (even if you don’t use them yourself), industrial toxins, animal feces, dust mites, and allergens. The dust and dirt is reason enough for me to make sure we are all taking off our shoes when entering but the idea of pesticides all over our floor when we already try to minimize this my nixing those products, is kind of scary. A report from a few years back called The Door Mat Study also shows us that lead contaminated soil from outside the home is being transported into our homes in the form of lead dust. I have also heard that somewhere between 80 and 85% of the dirt in our homes was brought into the home via our shoes and considering what we may have stepped on, that is just gross!
Our first line of defense is a good door mat where all family members need to wipe their feet. It is pretty easy to find ones made of recycled materials like tires or even flip-flops. Scrape or shake off as much of the dirt and dust from your shoes as possible. Then the second line of defense it to take your shoes off and keep them somewhere near the door so you never have to trek around the house in shoes. A simple shoe rack or even a shoe bench which also has seating is nice. To ensure space we have to rotate the shoes between seasons because few benches can handle everyone’s summer and winter shoes all at the same time. And we have to remind our kids that roller blades are not meant for this space… put those in the garage or carry those up to your room… do NOT roller blade to your bedroom!
When you have visitors it is up to you on how to handle this. You can ask them to remove their shoes or let them wear them in the house. We usually make exceptions for visitors. Babies and little children can be used as a great excuse to ask people to remove shoes though, aka “We would appreciate it if everyone removed their shoes.. we have a little one who likes to crawl on the floor and we want to keep it clean.” That same study I mentioned earlier claimed that a door mat and taking shoes off got rid of 98% of toxic dust over a 5 month period. Now if only I could keep the shoe area from looking so cluttered!
How do you handle the shoe situation?
If given the choice I will usually opt for soy or beeswax crayons. The conventional ones made from petro products are not a favorite. I will usually make an exception for recycled crayon products though because you are buying used instead of new. The fact that Eco Stars are made from recycled materials, along with the fact that my youngest needs to work on his grasping skills according to his therapist at school, made me think this product might be a good fit for us. Theses crayons are melted down into cute little stars and they are perfect for my son’s little fingers to grasp.
The box is also made form recycled materials so all around a pretty earth friendly product and the color array is good too. They are also pretty exciting to a four year old as well. No idea yet if it is helping with his grip issues but its not as if crayons will go unused in this house!
These, along with our beloved crayon rocks, might just be the cutest crayons ever.
Boon has quickly become one of my favorite companies for kids products. Their BPA free bowls and utensils for kids rock, they have an awesome potty bench that we are using, and the design is modern yet slightly retro. The design mom in me loves them. Oh and they are also sticklers for safe plastics that won’t poison our kids.
They have just come out with some really cute and safe bath toys that are free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates, as have some other companies. Here are some safer bath toy options:
The Scrubble (picture above) – A set of three interchangeable bulbs and textured attachments. For fun, fill the bulb with water and squeeze it out. The toys are easy to keep clean, just unscrew the parts—and they can even go in the dishwasher.
The Original Rubber Duck – This classic has been re-done with a non-toxic spin. All natural materials and hand painted with non-toxic paints.
Green Toys Tugboat – Made by the amazing company, Green Toys and from recycled materials no less.
Water Bugs – Kids can scoop up these colorful critters as they glide across the water. Set includes three floating bugs and a mesh net. My kids would LOVE this!
Have a great weekend everyone! I leave you with a few cool links to check out over the weekend.
I ran across some cool DIY instructions on Keesta for making your own Disco ball made from recycled materials. I think I have enough junk CDs to do this but no Styrofoam ball and I would hate to buy one…maybe paper mache might work? This would be pretty cool hanging in the basement along with the strobe light I got when I was 12. If I set up my iPod sound-dock down there then the kids and can get our Saturday Night Fever on.
Jenny at The Green Mommy posted about WWII Conservation requirements and how during the war people had to conserve as much as they possibly could, “food, metal, cloth, dyes, food, fuel oil, rubber all come to mind. Those that stayed behind engaged in a united effort to halt consumption and maximize their conservation of resources.” The article also talks about what we can learn about the women from that era and their ability to refashion existing clothing to suit new purposes. It is very interesting article with some cool links.
In the same vein there is a blog I found yesterday that seeks to refashion, renovate, and recycle previously loved clothing and the blog has very retro look. This site even brings out the inner fashionista in me and it is pretty darn hard to lure that side out…. :)
The League of Maternal Justice a blog I am digging lately reminds us that stores like Wal-Mart are under no obligation to remove lead toys and products from stores when they recalled. The recalls are voluntary. One reader’s story about being able to buy recalled baby bibs with lead many months after they were recalled should be a wake-up call to Wal-Mart shoppers. :(
Mike Adams at NewTarget wrote a wonderful rebuttal to the ludicrous study released this week that supposedly claims that autism cannot be linked to mercury.
Lastly, I added a Natural Family Events page to this blog. I like to attend a couple events or festivals like this every year and it is hard to keep track of them. I plan on adding any events, conferences, or festivals that might appeal to natural/green families. So if you know of any…let me know! Furthermore if you do attend any of these events or any similar I would be interested in having you post your experience on this blog. ;)
TGIF! Have some great family fun this weekend!