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.

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