CategoriesFootwear Sustainability

Sustainable Shoes: Small steps to help the environment

This week at Uufey we are looking into the topic of sustainable shoes, and choices we can make to be more environmentally friendly with our footwear. There are numerous solutions and things to try, but it all depends on what you have and what you want to do.

Reuse or repair

First of all, what about using your old shoes? A fairly common practice for old shoes is using them for tasks where they may be damaged or ruined, like painting or DIY projects. Some people use shoes like these for dog walking, taking the backs out of the shoes to make them easier to slip on or other modifications like removing the laces.

Another option is to repair if you are the crafty type with the tools to do so (or know someone who is). You may find the part of your shoe that bothers you is easily replaced, repaired or changed. Scuffs can be buffed out and polished, leather can be treated and stitches can be resown.

Shoe Donations

But the shoe doesn’t always fit. In these cases, it’s best to give them a new home with someone who they will fit. Depending on the pair, you may be able to get some money back by reselling or if you’re feeling charitable, donating them. Options for donating differ depending on your location, but they include the Red Cross and Shoeaid. Usually, people will individually go to their locations to drop off their shoes, but some workplaces organize events where the employees give together. Another option if you have access to a printer is to print off a label and ship them, or a shoe bin may be available near you at a shop. A map of locations and more advice is available here.

Considerations for future purchases

But what about your next pair of shoes? If you want to be a little more environmentally friendly going forward with your shoe purchases, you might want to consider brands that take the environment into account (like us, for example). There are many stages and facets to making shoes that could be very anti-environment, from the tanning of leather to chemical glues. Good alternatives to these processes have been around for a while now, like faux leather and synthetic glue. The challenge is in finding a shoe like this that also fits you comfortably. Luckily, I think we can help you with that.

Protection from wear and tear

When you have your new shoes, how do you keep them that way? There are many options here, like waterproof protection spray, particularly useful in the unpredictable UK. If you feel like going the extra mile, you can regularly polish the leather and even stuff the inside of them when you aren’t using them so they keep their shape. Or maybe something happens to your shoes, for example, they get stained or muddy, use a soft, dry brush to remove loose dirt first (a lot of people use spare toothbrushes for this), then use a mild cleaning solution gently on the upper of your shoe and soles. If you need to clean the laces, a handwash tends to be best, then let them air dry.

clothes on hanger
CategoriesFashion Sustainability

Fast Fashion Impact on Workers and The Importance of Choosing Transparent Brands

Do you know where your clothes are coming from? Are the businesses you buy from transparent when discussing the manufacturing journey of their products? These are important questions that people should be asking.

Let’s Recap On Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is the cycle in which brands are overproducing low quality garments in order to follow trends seen in fashion shows. Consumers are then encouraged to buy these products and discard of those which they had bought when following the earlier trend. Over production leads to over consumption, which is not a sustainable process in which the fashion industry can continue to follow. The fast fashion cycle is causing many problems for not only the environment but in the lives of garment workers.

If you would like more insight into this topic then you can read about it on our blog post ‘The Impact of Fast Fashion On The Environment’.

Fast Fashion: A Danger To Garment Workers


Sweatshop is a term you have likely heard of but what exactly does it mean? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a sweatshop is ‘a small factory where workers are paid very little and work many hours in bad conditions.’ This is a very simple explanation to what is actually an incredibly complex problem.

The World Counts found that ‘the clothing industry in Bangladesh accounts for about 80% of the country’s exports and around 40% of its industrial workforce.’ This is an example which portrays how vast this problem actually is. With this data in mind, it is estimated that there are over 3.5 million garment workers, with over 80% of these workers being women.

Bangladesh is just one of many countries that have these sweatshop working environments. Millions of people are working long hours in poor conditions and are often paid less than minimum wage. And why? Because the fashion industry promotes over consumption, according to the Wall Street Journal ‘In 2018 the average American bought 68 garments a year.’ Meanwhile the workers creating the garments are paid well below the minimum living wage. Whilst overproduction is a problem that needs to be sorted by brands themselves, it is also down to consumers to be more mindful in who they give their business to and how they dispose of old garments.

Dangerous Working Environments

work environment

There are thousands of stories from workers who have discussed the terrible conditions in which they are forced to work. An example that shows truly how much of a danger these environments are, is ‘The Rana Plaza Disaster,’ which involved 5 Bangladesh garment factories collapsing. Killing over 1000 workers and injuring a further 2500, this is one of many tragic accidents that have occurred due to problems being overlooked for the sake of fast fashion. 

Unimaginable Working Hours And Unpaid Wages

The Worker Rights Consortium estimates that during the pandemic, garment workers have been denied over half a billion dollars of earned wages. The average worker is doing over 100 hours of work per week and taking home a wage far less than the living standard, often forcing themselves to work overtime in order to be able to pay for necessities like rent and food.

With working excessive hours and lacking the money to nourish themselves it is incredibly common for factory workers to be injured whilst at work. However, workers do not have the opportunity to join worker unions and are often left jobless without financial support.

Taking Advantage Of The Vulnerable In Society

fast fashion worker

These factories seek out the most vulnerable in society in order to exploit them and force them to work in such inhumane conditions. According to Labour Behind The Label ‘Gender discrimination runs deep throughout all of the countries in which garments are currently produced. Women are often subjected to verbal and physical abuse and sexual harassment.’

As well as this, the industry also employees an incredibly high number of children. Child labour is an incredibly common problem which is often overlooked due to the lack of support workers receive. According to Eco Friendly Habits ‘there are an estimated 250 million kids working in sweatshops worldwide. In developing countries, an estimated 168 million children aged between 5 to 14 years are forced to work in apparel factories.’

Tackling The Fast Fashion Problem: Brand Transparency

Going forward, brand transparency is incredibly important. It is time for businesses to take accountability for their actions. Industry giants are being encouraged to create a more sustainable manufacturing process. Fashion Checker states that ‘transparency in production supply chains is the first step towards improved working conditions but it is not the solution.’

Whilst putting pressure on businesses it is also important for consumers to take action. There are a vast number of resources that will help you understand which retailers are taking on the transparency pledge and working towards creating a more sustainable world. Brand transparency benefits consumers as they are made aware of the manufacturing process, this added insight can help when deciding to buy products from brands.


Are Sustainable Shoes Worth The Investment?

Are sustainable shoes worth the investment? Research from thredUP has found that ‘73% of apparel is sent to landfill or incinerated, 95% of which could be reused or recycled.’ With the increasing number of shoes and garments being sent to landfill it is important to look into creating products that are long-lasting and will remain apart of someone’s wardrobe for many years instead of being thrown out.

Quality over quantity: The problem with mass production

Statistics shows that in recent years, shoe production increased to over 20 billion pairs being made annually. Having mass produced products leads too many to have the mindset that garments, or shoes are easily replaceable. Mass production leads to low quality items which are often disposed of only after being worn a handful of times.

Businesses create mass quantities of products because they want to ensure that they can make the most money from each passing fashion-trend, yet they overlook the impact they are having when encouraging consumers to clear out their closest and buy a new range of products to stay ‘on-trend.’

Over production is an extremely big problem, especially because most shoes which are created, are done so through unsustainable production methods.

However, it is not only down to the big corporations to take responsibility, research by The Guardian states that ‘One in three young women, the biggest segment of consumers, consider garments worn once or twice to be old.’ If this mindset is tackled and people urged companies to make higher-quality products that where longer lasting it would have a significant impact on reducing environmental issues.

Looking for a change: Fast Fashion vs Slow Fashion

Fast fashion is a term used a lot within society which refers to how the fashion industry is producing products at a fast pace, resulting in low quality garments which are often discarded quickly as consumers are hoping from trend to trend.

Fast fashion leads to many unsustainable processes, for example ‘open-loop’ production cyles are often used and can result in polluting water and surrounding land. Rather than recycling or reusing materials. According to Access Government, ‘As an estimate, it takes 200 tonnes of water to produce 1 tonne of dyed fabric. This requires sourcing fresh water and releasing water that is tainted, rendered toxic, undrinkable or otherwise polluted back into the ecosystem.’

‘Unlike fast fashion, slow fashion is an attempt to convince consumers to buy fewer clothes of better quality and to keep them for longer.’ – European Parliament

Slow fashion obviously is a term that opposes the results of fast fashion, it tackles the whole manufacturing process from design to the consumer. Slow fashion incorporates eco-friendly materials, and it encourages businesses to source more sustainable processes. With more traditional methods being used throughout production it does result in less garments being created; however they are of a higher quality than those involved in fast fashion.

What people may consider a downfall of slow fashion is that due to the traditional techniques and less quantity, the price of products may seem higher than usual. However, it is always good to remember that when paying for a slow fashion product, you are paying for higher quality and lifetime wearability. Research by Edge fashion intelligence also states that ‘Consumers in the United Kingdom have an estimated $46.7 billion worth of unworn clothes in their closets.’ Slow fashion encourages consumers to truly look at what products they are buying and if they are suitable for donation. Sharing and reusing garments is an impactful way in which an individual can act to help tackle the climate crisis.

The Impact: How change benefits more than just the environment

Slowing down the rate at which products are being created will help to reduce pressure on the climate and limit the negative impact on the environment is extremely important. Another increasingly fashionable way to reduce the negative impact of the fashion industry is called ‘Circular Fashion’ this is the process of simply recycling old useable garments and the materials are re used in another production process, this limiting the number of products in landfill.

Benefits for the environment:

  • According to Edge Fashion Intelligence ‘using recycled cotton saves 20,000 litres of water per kilogram of cotton, a water-intensive crop.’ This not only helps to reduce water waste but helps to save on materials.
  • An even smaller benefit yet will have a great impact is that slow fashion encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ or recycle garments. This minor change will help to reduce problems caused through the shipping process.

Benefits for garment makers

  • Putting an end to ‘sweatshops’ to protect workers. Due to the decrease in production rates, these dangerous working environments will be forced to close.
  • Whilst many people worry over garment workers losing their jobs due to less production, the United Nations Alliance on Sustainable Fashion reports ‘the fashion industry employs over 75 million people worldwide.
  • Business transparency, the slow fashion movement promotes fair-pay and healthy working conditions, putting an end to the terrible working and living conditions for garment workers which have previously been overlooked.

Benefits for the consumer

  • Long-term money saving, people may find that certain sustainable products cost a little more than usual however this is something that will in the long run, save you some money! Rather than buying a pair of shoes which are of low quality and then having to replace them a month or so later, you can rely on sustainable shoes to be wearable for a good amount of time.
  • Shoe shopping is a task which we all do, so why not do your part to help the environment whilst picking up a fresh pair of trainers. When you buy an eco-friendly product, you get instant gratification that you are doing your part in creating a more sustainable world.
  • Slow fashion also helps to increase mindfulness, a previously mentioned statistic discusses the amount of clothes left unworn in wardrobes across the UK, this is an astonishing statistic which shows that consumers need to consider what they are buying before completing a purchase. Being more mindful also allows people to recognise what clothes they no longer need and can donate to those who may need it more.

    Uufey’s guarantee: our approach to creating sustainable shoes

So, ‘Are sustainable shoes worth the investment?’ The answer is YES, and this is something we care about deeply at Uufey Shoes. We acknowledge that that the fashion industry is one of the main causes of climate change and it is important for businesses like Uufey to take a stand and ensure that we are doing everything within our power to create a sustainable product that leaves little to no impact on the climate.

Uufey shoes create environmentally conscious comfort shoes. All materials involved within manufacturing are ethically sourced. Our amazingly talented employees in Spain handcraft each shoe to provide ultimate style and comfort for our customers. Uufey sustainable shoes are built to last in order to reduce overproduction and bring lasting comfort for years to come.

CategoriesFashion Sustainability

The Impact Of Fast Fashion On The Environment

According to the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, the fashion industry generates around 20% of the world’s water waste, resulting in being responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions.

What is “Fast Fashion?”                   

Fast Fashion refers to how brands are creating cheap catwalk inspired clothing products, these are often part of a trend and once it has passed the clothes are quickly discarded as consumers are moving onto the next popular style.

The idea of discarding clothing on a frequent basis leads to overproduction and overconsumption and increases the impact the fashion industry is having on the environment. Not only is this textile waste a huge problem, but according to Fashion Checker 93% of brands are paying garment workers below the living wage. Research in recent years also has shone a light on how many workers are forced to working longer hours in dangerous conditions.

It is not only the fast fashion brands who should take accountability but also the consumers who buy into it, we all need to be working together towards a brighter more sustainable future. For example, ending ‘throwaway’ culture is something that could have a great effect, it is becoming increasingly popular for people to buy ‘pre-loved’ or ‘vintage’ items, rather than throwing away garments after a handful of uses, trading, donating, or recycling the materials will help to decrease the production rate for new products.

Sustainability… in style!

Here at Uufey Shoes we are care a lot about how fashion is impacting the environment, our products are lovingly hand-crafted in Europe, and we try to infuse sustainability measures into every stage of our production process.

Our materials are ethically sourced, and we encourage, when possible, to recycle any of our bio-degradable packaging that is no longer of use. Whilst designing Uufey shoes we wanted to ensure that they are sustainable and built to last, with only 15% of clothing and footwear being sent to recycling we want to ensure that Uufey products are durable and will keep you comfortable throughout your days.

As time goes on Uufey will continue working towards become an eco-friendlier company, so join us for the journey!

Enjoy reading this content? Sign up to our newsletter for our VIP club and weekly updates!

Add to cart