Not long ago I visited the new showroom for Simple Shoes in NYC. I recently wrote about the exciting New Balance 70 eco-friendly shoe, so I was interested in checking out another company's interpretation of sustainability. Simple Shoes is in the throes of their recent "less>more" advertising campaign, and is eager to share their story.
Simple Shoes aren't necessarily that well known outside of the West Coast (they're headquartered in Santa Barbara), though it seems like they have been slowly percolating over the past few years. Their shoes are available on their website, in some independent shoe stores, and in full-service Whole Foods locations. Simple Shoes have a relaxed and decidedly skate and surf-influenced look. Case in point: the laid back CAReen shoe, adorned with a placid blue ocean landscape shot by hip surf photographer Joe Curren.
It turns out Simple Shoes is actually part of Deckers Outdoor Corporation, a California-based company that also owns other "alternative" icons like UGGs and Teva sport sandals. What makes the company green and responsible? At the showroom a brand associate told me Simple "has always worked with hemp, organic cotton and jute." They've also been upping the recycled content of products and packaging, making use of recycled tires, carpet and other materials. The boxes are made of post-consumer recycled paper, with soy-based printing ink, natural latex and starch-based glue. Some shoes come in biodegradable bags instead.
"Our shoes use a thimble of water-based adhesives, instead of the two shot glasses of petroleum-derived glues that is typical," the spokeswoman told me. She also pointed out the comfy-looking sandals, which are made out of recycled rubber and hemp, organic cotton or durable, animal-free EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate), a less-toxic alternative to PVC. "We're working to make them biodegradable," she said. Some designs also include a bamboo liner, and some are glue-free.
Simple makes men's, women's and children's shoes, and has some cool styles coming out in fall. The company's popular, classic Tuba shoes now come in hemp or organic cotton ($70) -- check out the fun plaid pattern! I particularly like their corduroy GUMshoe slip-ons ($60). The upper is certified organic corduroy cotton, and the sole is recycled rubber, with recycled carpet cushioning. Some of the styles, like the organic flannel-lined CARwalk ($75), are made of eco-certified suede, which is soft and supple. The ecoS shoe ($70) is a rad vegan-friendly option made of unbleached hemp and a recycled bike tire. The laces are recycled PET and the bottom is recycled car tire.
Many of Simple Shoes' designs are vegan friendly, and some also include natural cork and laytex. The company also has a few relaxed organic cotton t-shirts, and some cool bags. The women's Blottoe bag ($75) is cute in certified organic cotton and unfinished brass hardware. For men the Hemp Overlap bag ($70) rocks a chill messenger look.
Note: for a limited time, Kaboodle is running a giveaway of a free pair of Simple Shoes. All you have to do is comment on their post to be entered. Have fun!
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