5 Ethical Trainers In The UK That Don't Cost The Earth, Because Sustainability Shouldn't Be Hard Work
It's clear that humans are having a huge detrimental impact on the environment. From what we wear to the incessant packaging that we use, it's up to us to make the change that is needed to stop the damage in its tracks. Luckily, more and more sustainably-minded companies are popping up to help. One sector that has switched focus is footwear. Many brands were admittedly once hard to source but you can now pick up several ethical trainers in the UK.
You may be think that ethical products are often more expensive than their non-ethical counterparts; and in many cases this is true. Why? Because ensuring all workers are fairly paid for their time and effort, ensuring materials are locally sourced wherever possible (and 100 percent natural too), and ensuring that easy-to-use yet harmful chemicals are banned in factories cost money.
While you may not be able to buy sustainable trainers for less than £50, at least you can purchase something that is giving back to the environment — and other people in most cases. From brands that are working to defuse the refugee crisis to labels seeking innovative alternatives to toxic fabrics, the following will ensure your wardrobe finally has the good conscience it deserves.
1The Brand That Prioritises Its Workers
Ethletic didn't start off as a trainer brand. It actually invented the world's first fairly manufactured football. After realising that it could use natural rubber for shoes, the German company utilised its Pakistani factories to create a range of 100 percent vegan trainer styles. The resulting shoes became the first to be given Fairtrade certification for cotton and with the soles awarded Forest Stewardship Council certification. Containing no toxic chemicals or pesticides, materials are sourced from farming areas that look after the natural habitat, rather than destroy it. Ethletic also gives 15 percent of the purchase price directly to its workers in Pakistan, allowing them to decide whether to use it for childcare, healthcare, or anything they like. There are so many colours and styles to choose from but this bold blue pair stand out among the rest.
2Trainers With A History
Novesta is a Slovakian brand dating all the way back to the 1930s. Its entire production is eco-friendly from the natural rubber and cotton that it uses to the hand-finished tyre mark look on the sole. It also eliminates the need for any chemicals, making these chunky trainers a win win from any viewpoint. If this has been happening for almost 100 years, it makes you wonder why the rest of the industry has been slow to catch on. You can buy Novesta straight from the brand's own site or pick a vibrant-soled pair up from stores like Size in the UK.
3The Shoe That Helps Others
If you're always looking to help others when purchasing new additions for your wardrobe, then look no further than Good News. Founded in 2016, the British brand focuses on simple yet bold shoes that give back to the many refugees living in Europe. The company is part of a wider collective called Good Luck Shoes. Together with other footwear designers, photographers, and graphic designers, the initiative has managed to donate more than 500 shoes to those who really need them. Good News also ensures that every pair of shoes it sells is produced ethically by paying close attention to the supply chain. Corduroy couldn't be more in right now so why not try this brown pair? They're organic.
4The Converse Swap
Starting life in a London flat in 2006, Po-Zu has grown to become one of Britain's most ethical footwear brands. Every single material used by the company comes from naturally renewable sources and contains no toxic dyes, bleaches, or pesticides. Each shoe is made without solvent-based glue, improving the health of factory workers. Instead, Po-Zu uses a mixture of natural latex and stitching to secure parts. The brand also uses a wide array of innovative materials including cork, chrome-free leather, and one made from pineapple leaf fibres. This high-top design is made in Sri Lanka using fair trade rubber, organic cotton, and a removable insole made from coconut husk and natural latex. Oh, and and 10 percent of the company's net profits go towards environmental charities.
5A French Classic
French brand Veja has been around for quite some time but thanks to its no advertising policy, it has remained rather secretive until now. The label boasts a completely transparent supply chain, using ethically sourced wild rubber, organic cotton, and leather. It manufactures all of its trainers in Brazil; a country where factory workers are routinely paid more than the minimum wage. Renowned for their minimalist look, Veja's trainers are easy to style with any outfit and can be bought at high street store Arket in the UK.
Step-by-step is all it takes to make the world a slightly better place.