Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring is here...time to break out the flip-flops

Shoe-shopping with The Conscious Shopper

The temps hit the upper 80s yesterday here in Raleigh, and while I was hanging with my kiddos at the playground, my feet started screaming, "Get me out of these shoes!" This is the time of year when I toss the boots and sneakers to the back of the closet and switch to full time sandal-wearing.

I enjoy many things about living la vida verde, but shoe shopping is not one of them. The used shoe selection at my local Goodwill basically sucks, but buying new shoes requires hours of research and debate: what are they made of, where are they made, who made them, how long will they last, how much do they cost...Here are a few brands I've been looking at, but I'm really interested to hear what kinds of sandals you greenies have bought and why you love them.

Two years ago, I bought a pair of Simple Shoes flip-flops on clearance for an amazing deal. They are cute and comfortable...and pick up every piece of dirt they come in contact with. After two years, they're so dirty, it's embarrassing to wear them beyond my own backyard. Simple Shoes current line of flip-flops look like they'd stay clean, but they also look identical to the kind I could get for $25 cheaper at Old Navy.

Before beginning my green journey, I was definitely a $5 flip-flop kind of girl, so I've been kind of interested in these Okabashi shoes and their $15 price tag. They're made in Atlanta, GA, contain recycled material, and are recyclable by sending them back to the company, but they're made of plastic, and I have this thing about plastic shoes being the ugliest shoes ever invented. (All you Crocs lovers can shoot me now.)

Nowadays, I wouldn't mind paying more than $5 if I felt like I was investing in a real quality pair of shoes. I've had my eye on these handmade-in-New-York Aurora Shoes for awhile now, but maybe vegan shoes from MooShoes would be a better choice than leather and it's environmental issues. Or maybe I should check out some of the "green" apparel companies like Patagonia or Keen.

Or maybe I just need to make my own sandals.

What recommendations do you all have for a sandal-loving greenie?


Kate said...

I invested in a pair of Ssekos last year, and am looking forward to wearing them again this season (I live in Cleveland and have only had a couple of sandal-wearing days so far). They were quite a bit more than $5 and are the tie-on kind but I wore them for walking everywhere last summer (I only have access to a car once a week or so, so we walk everywhere most of the time) and they did really well. I'm a recovering synthetic and non-fair trade flip flop kind of girl too, but I really enjoy my strappy, comfy sandals.

Green Bean said...

I too had Simple Shoes flip flops a few years back. Their options were a lot cuter then than they are now!

I haven't found any cute eco-flip flops that I like! Picked up a decent pair of second hand (non-eco but 2nd hand makes them eco) at a consignment store and, here's a confession, a cheap pair at TJ Maxx. I'd happily shell out the money at Simple again - or somewhere else, if I could get a cute pair that would last for a full summer!

Anonymous said...

I haven't been to the one in Cameron Village in a while (no longer live in NC), but I just saw some neat sandals at a Ten Thousand Villages in Missouri. You buy the foot and the straps individually and then can tie them on a bunch of different ways. May be worth dropping in to see if they've got them in Raleigh, too.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

@Kate - I am in love! What perfect sandals, and the interchangeable laces are ingenious.

@Anonymous - Hello from Raleigh! Sounds like you're describing the same shoes as Kate. I love them and will definitely check out the Ten Thousand Villages in Cameron Village to see if they have them. It would be awesome to avoid shipping.

Anonymous said...

Ok that does look like them! I'm glad to know what they're called. Happy hunting!

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Over Coffee - the green edition said...

Just an FYI: Old Navy is actually upcycling old flip-flops with TerraCycle now just in case you have any of those left over $5 flip-flops ;-)


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