At the forefront of our minds here at Sockshop is the planet, and the ways in which we can shift our business (and life) practices to be as earth-minded as possible. We know that many members of our community and extended Sockshop family feel the same, so read on to discover all of the earth-conscious items in our Eco Edit.
We love to see the brands we love using recycled materials in their production process, working to lessen the waste output from their factories. Highlighted below are a few of our favorites, all created with recycled materials
1. Baggu Reusable Bags
Baggu's reusable ripstop nylon bags hit hard in planet protection, as they're produced from recycled materials AND allow you to cut down on the waste you create. Each bag is made with 40% recycled nylon produced from pre-consumer waste, saving scrap material from the landfill. Baggu even has a recycling program, so when your bag has reached the end of its carrying capabilities, you can recycle it by dropping it off at any of their store locations, or by shipping it to:
9860 Gidley St
El Monte, CA 91731
Once you’ve sent your bags to be recycled, send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll provide you with a discount to use toward a new bag!
2. Teva Sandals
Starting in 2020, all straps across the entire product line are made from traceable, verifiable recycled plastic using REPREVE yarn. Since then, Teva has diverted 40 million plastic bottles from landfills, cleaning and shredding 755 tons of used plastic bottles into pellets. The pellets are then spun into yarn, and that yarn is woven into the ultra-strong webbing used in Teva footwear.
"We're turning waste that pollutes the planet into something that helps you explore it."
When you've worn through your Teva sandals, you can give them new life through the Teva Forever program. Send your old sandals in for free, and they will be deconstructed and reborn. Through a partnership with TerraCycle, a company that specializes in recycling the hard-to-recycle, old sandals are turned into playgrounds, running tracks, and more. The ultimate goal, however, is to create a closed loop of production in which new sandals are created from old.
3. Outlands by Socksmith Cabin Series
Socksmith has rolled out a new line of outdoor-focused socks, utilizing recycled cotton, polyester, and wool to create thick, cozy socks that are as good for the planet as they are for your feet. To create the socks, excess apparel scraps that would otherwise be sent to landfill are collected by Socksmith partner Recover, then separated by color and sent to the production factory in Hickory, North Carolina. The fibers are then spun and twisted with nylon and spandex to create the finished knitting product. A bonus? No dyes and zero excess water are used after the fiber's initial apparel run. Not only is resource use limited during production, but the water, land, pesticides, and herbicides used to grow new cotton fibers are removed from the process as well.
1. Keen's PFC-free Product Line
In 2014, Keen embarked on a 4 year journey to make their product line 100% PFC free, becoming a trailblazer in the work to get "forever chemicals" out of footwear. PFCs, or perfluorinated chemicals, are man-made chemicals that never break down, remain in the environment, and enter the food chain. These chemicals build up in wildlife over time, and have been found in rivers and lakes, in many animals on land and in the water, and even in our blood.
PFCs are most commonly used in durable water repellent treatments in outdoor footwear, and as a result have creeped into components of active footwear that don't even require waterproofing. Keen was able to eliminate 70% of the PFCs in their footwear from components that didn't even need to be waterproofed. For the remaining 30%, however, Keen dedicated approximately 10,000 hours to developing a safe alternative that met Keen's standards for repelling water and dirt. As a result, they now have a 100% PFC free product line, with over 150 tons of fluorinated chemicals saved from being introduced to the environment.
2. Keen & the Leather Working Group
Leather Tanning is a dirty, resource-intensive process that Keen is working to make cleaner, by developing solutions that reduce chemicals, energy usage, and water pollution. Through their partnership with the Ranitec water treatment plant in India, Keen has created a closed loop on their water usage. When water arrives to the treatment plant from the tanneries, it is separated from bio-solids, then treated and separated from chemicals through reverse osmosis and desalination. The only bi-product from the process? Salt.
Once the process is complete, both the water and chemicals are piped back to the tanneries, with the water clean enough to drink. All water and chemicals are then contained to be used again and again, keeping the resources already used within the system, and eliminating the need for any excess water or chemicals.
1. Chaco & the Re-Chaco Program
With their Re-Chaco program, Chaco places the focus on longevity, helping to limit waste and keep worn down shoes out of landfills. When your Chaco Z/Sandals start to feel a little too loved, mail them in to the ReChaco repair center located in Michigan to receive a spruce up and be returned to their former glory. Straps worn out? Get them shortened, lengthened, or replaced (by piece or in entirety). Outsoles or buckles no longer working? Get a traction upgrade or new buckles with ease. They'll even repair single shoes, so you can replace only what you need. In 2019 alone, 25,000 pairs of sandals were repaired, keeping tons of garbage out of landfill.
"Because the most sustainable products aren't disposable, they're repairable".
2. Teva's Paired-Down Packaging
Beginning in 2017, Teva committed to reducing waste in their production process by reducing the amount of packaging they used for their shoes, and using recycled materials for the packaging they do use. All Teva shoe boxes are now made from 80% post consumer waster. And, since 2017, Teva has saved 348 million gallons of water and reduced the total weight of packaging used by 4.1 million pounds. This is proof that minimizing your impact in every step of the production process truly does add up to a greater effort towards sustainability.
Brands that Give Back
We love brands that put sustainability to practice, but we love brands that also put their money towards it even more. Below are some brands that use their profits for progress, protecting the planet we love so much
1. Conscious Step: $1 Per Pair
Not only do they focus on mindful manufacturing throughout the production process, this brand also goes the extra mile for environmental (and social) causes, donating $1 from every pair of socks sold to various partner charities.
For the ocean lover, each purchase of these shark socks gives $1 to Oceana, which has worked to protect over 4.5 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures.
Other partners of Conscious Step include Conservation International, which empowers people to protect the lands we love through science, policy, and global reach, and Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, who works to protect endangered species across the continent.
Teva commits money each year to a variety of organizations that champion both social and environmental causes, focusing on conservation and outdoor accessibility simultaneously. Teva is a member of the Conservation Alliance, a group that provides a link between large businesses and the conservation community. The Conservation Alliance has created a group of like-minded companies, and has dispersed over $25 million in annual membership fees to grassroots environmental organizations since its inception in 1989.
Teva is also a partner of Outdoor Afro, which celebrates Black connections in nature, and is leading the way for inclusion in the outdoor space. Similarly, Teva donates funds to Soul Trak, based in DC, which works to expand outdoor access in communities of color. Soul Trak is a "coalition of diverse outdoor stewards using nature as a unifying mechanism."
Keen has also been a member of the Conservation Alliance since 2005, and has been a partner of Outdoor Afro since 2012. One of the main projects Keen backs is the Making Waves Swimmership Program, which offers scholarships for swimming lessons to Black children and adults, in an effort to increase accessibility in both water and the outdoor space.
While we do our best to support brands that support the planet, we also know the importance of taking action ourselves, and implementing actions in our daily business practices to lessen our load on the environment.
We're proud to be a certified California Green Business, and are committed to continuing to take steps towards becoming an even greener store. Requirements of becoming a CGB include use of LED lights, opting for open doors and windows over air conditioning, following proper recycling practices, and using only recycled paper products, including printer paper, receipt paper, toilet paper, and tissues.
One of the biggest categories of waste we see in the shoe industry as a retailer comes to us in the form of packaging. An unfortunate and discouraging reality is the sheer volume of materials used just to get the shoes into our hands. So, in order to get them into yours without contributing to the packaging waste, we reuse whatever and where ever we can. This means that for every shoe we have shipped out to you, both the shipping box and the stuffing were reused. This has allowed us to avoid sending perfectly good materials to landfill, and lessen the new waste we create. A small step, but we are proud to say we have yet to purchase a new shipping box since the birth of our site.
In addition, when you shop on our site via ShopPay, carbon offsets are automatically purchased to cover any carbon emissions created through the shipping of your order. Another small step that adds up in a meaningful way.
We can't always be perfect, but we can always do the best we can to protect the land we live on as much as we are able. We as a business are committed to growing in both our practices and our knowledge, so that we may show up for our planet in the best way that we can.
For happy feet, and a happy planet.