I’ve always thought that shoes are the number one clothing item that is worth investing in.
I don’t know about you, but in my wardrobe they are the items that take the most battering and are always under a lot of strain, they are also the item that can physically affect you and your health.
Shoes are one of those things that (for day to day use, anyway) you should buy the best quality you can afford.
When it comes to buying shoes second hand I think most of us can get a little funny about it, they have to be almost new or in spectacular condition. I have done in the past, a prime example can be found in a previous post here. But they have all almost exclusively only been worn once or twice before sale.
So, hands up right now, I don’t think any of the shoes in my wardrobe are ‘ethical’ (yet)- I have a pair of sandals which were made by a shoemaker in Athens so fully traceable, but that’s about it.
I would say however that my collection is fairly ‘sustainable’, before buying I make sure that the quality is high so they will last a long time, that they are either classic in style or interesting enough so I won’t get tired of them and I look after them, usually making a few trips to the cobbler a year to get multiple pairs re-soled. I currently have a pair of Russell and Bromley oxfords on their 4th re-heel and 2nd re-sole (still love them!)
ANYWAY … The whole point of this post before I started to ramble on is because I wanted to share 3 brilliant ethical shoe brands I’ve been thinking a lot about lately who are all making SUPER COOL STYLISH SHOES who are making it EASY to buy sustainably!
Brand: OTTOWIN FOOTWEAR
Based: Bristol, UK
What: Leather boots, shoes and sandals
Handmade by the owners in their Bristol studio OTTOWIN first came on to my radar when I moved to Bristol a year ago, and to be honest it was love at first sight.
Most of the components are sourced from UK suppliers, all the styles are unisex and they offer a service to repair (if possible) and resole. The styles are kept fairly classic by the blocked and natural colour palate but all have added interest with the chunky buckles and soles.
I do really love the sandals and have been eyeing up the sling backs in particular but as my athenian ones are still going strong I’m thinking it might be a better idea to wait and invest in a pair of the shoes or boots when it gets a bit colder.
Based: Tel Aviv
My friend Sofia tipped me off about these, and I’m glad she did as I think they are great!
Moses is a brand set up by Sarah Gurt who worked in the fast fashion industry for a long time, it sounds like this took its toll on her, and she then made her way back to Tel Aviv and set up her brand.
The sandals are waterproof, washable, amazingly scented (like milk and honey) and come in a whole world of colours and collaborative designs with artists. I love it when a brand just does one product but does it well.
The Freedom slippers are made from PCU (polycarbonate-Urethane) which is a ‘superior’ grade of sustainable and eco-friendly plastic which is injected with air. They are also animal friendly and made in socially compliant factories in the P.R.C
I have heard a lot of talk on the internet about how similar they are to the Birkenstock Arizona’s, and yeah they are, however these are much thinner and lighter and I have it on very good authority (from Sofia – I haven’t bought a pair for myself yet as we already own about 80% of the same clothes, I thought it polite to wait a bit, 😉 ) that they are also very comfortable.
Brand: Mari Giudicell
Based: Brooklyn / Brazil
OMG these pumps are my current shoe fascination, I saw a pair being worn by someone supercool on Instagram and had one of those instant ‘I love those, I need those’ reactions. Luckily they were tagged in the image so I immediately found all the UK suppliers that stock them (Modern Society, Avenue 32 and Alex Eagle)
Mari Giudicelli is a model and footwear designer and I think this is her debut collection. The shoes are made in her family factory in Brazil and her ideals lay in countering the disposability of the fast fashion world by creating well-made and beautiful designs.
This is definitely more of a ‘luxury’ shoe but I’m pretty sure could be worn with anything, I’m going to have to go and try a pair on next time i’m in London.
*All photos used in this post were borrowed from the respective brands websites and Instagram pages*