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Eco-friendly Shoes & French Fashion

When was the last time you looked at foot fashion from an ecological point of view. Does the idea of environment friendly shoes throws you into a dilemma of choosing between good conscience and fashion sense ? If yes, read on to find out about the creators who have turned similar predicament into fashion statements in the foot world.

 

Moyi Ekolo Shoes by Annbel Gérenthon

courtesy: Annabel Gérenthon, Moyi Ekolo Shoes

 

Moyi Ekolo

eco-friendly shoes by Annabel Gérenthon

In a country where fashion consciousness is second nature, it was only a matter of time before someone thought about combining foot fashion with eco-friendliness.The ecological brand of shoes 'Moyi Ekolo' was born in 2007 after its creator Annabel Gérenthon received the National Award “Ekilibre” for a project in the field of fair trade. Annabel is a leather technician who designs the range and works with Julien Adda to manage the house of Moyi ekolo, that literally means «citizen» in Lingala. The line of shoes received European Union's Eco-label in 2007.

Moyi Ekolo shoes are designed from eco-friendly material from natural rubber soles to the leather tanned using natural dyes in addition to their claim of a 'unique micro-structure that makes them extremely supple and incomparably comfortable.' The production house utilises local French know-how to combine it with hand-crafted ornaments (depending on the models) from fair trade concern in Namibia. Moyi Ekolo shoes are sold through their exclusive collaboration with Bionat boutiques, addresses of Paris boutique is given below. Addresses of other boutiques in Lille, Toulouse, Châtenois etc. as well as the option of buying through on line store are available. The shoes cost 165€ upwards.

Bionat Paris / Montreuil
20 rue de Valmy 93100 Montreuil
Tel : +33 (0) 1 49 72 05 14
Metro: St Mandé (Line 1)
Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 12:00 PM- 06:30 PM

 

Ethletic

combining ethics with athletics

Ethlectic is born out of the vision of fair trade ont the industrial scale by Martin Kunz, who participated in various reflection groups at the heart of UNESCO. Ethletic has a range of athletic shoes (sneakers, French 'baskets') and balls. The uppers of the shoes, including laces, are made out of organic cotton, certified by IMP*, sourced from India and later conditioned in Pakistan. The rubber soles, certified by FSC**, are sourced from Sri Lankan plantations of natural rubber (hévéas) that correspond to the strictest environmental and social norms. Part from the proceeds of the sale of Ethletic sneakers goes towards the betterment of social life in Sri Lanka and Pakistan- a bonus of 0.50€/ kg of latex is given to the producers of rubber in Sri Lanka and a bonus corresponding to 20% of the production price is given for projects such as micro-credit enabling the producers to buy pumps for irrigation etc. in Pakistan.

In addition, the sport ball (football, volley ball, basket ball,...) manufactured in Pakistan are done in accordance with the fair trade standards. For their activities that might have an impact on carbon-dioxide emissions, they support Climat Mundi: an organisation that finances projects such as energy saving, renewable energy etc. that reduce the CO2 emission. Other products from Ethletic range include balloons, rubber bands, multi-use latex gloves etc.

Ethletic shoes cost around 65€ and can be bought from the on line store of Ecolo Shoes.

 

El Naturalista

continue walking through life - 'Caminar por la vida'

El Naturalista, a shoe company with a global perspective, originated in 2001 in La Rioja in Spain- an area known for its shoe-making history with a healthy balance between tradition and fashion.

El Naturalista shoes are characterised by 90% tanned vegetable leather or natural leather, recycled rubber used for soles and insoles, wherever possible and are hand-stitched. In addition, the company engages itself on environmental front by using natural material and dyes, promoting traditional methods of production and using whenever possible, recyclable and biodegradable substances. In addition, it carries its social responsibility program through Atauchi Social Project committed to working for education in disadvantaged populations eg. Peru, Namibia etc.

El Naturalista shoes are available from 109€ onwards for adults and 85€ for children. These can be bought from its flagship store in France located in Paris at the following address or from their on line boutique:

El Naturalista
78, rue de Rennes, 75006 Paris
Tel: +33 (0) 1 42 22 61 82
Metro: Saint Sulpice (Line 4)

website of El Naturalista (in English, Spanish, German & Japanese)

 

FYE shoes

minimal impact on nature at all steps

FYE is quite a young company with an equally young success story of 25,000 shoes sold by 2010. Founded in France in 2007 by Emmanuel Cortez, FYE shoes stand for 'For Your Earth' and are made with organic or recycled material, whenever possible.

The casual looking summer shoes are available in two models: shoe uppers made from organic cotton or recycled polyester of bottles. The soles of the shoe are made from 50% recycled shoes, 25% natural rubber and 25% synthetic rubber. The insoles are made from recycled shoes, sawdust, 25% natural rubber and 25% synthetic rubber. The laces and the lining are made from organic cotton. Non-toxic water based adhesives replace the usually toxic adhesives and natural or certified non-toxic pigments and dyes are used for colour.

FYE's philosophy is to have minimum impact on the environment at every step from production to the final recycling of used shoes, while passing through advertisement on recycled paper, reducing wastage by minimizing the size of the cardboard box for packing etc. The social responsibility of FYE comprises a reforestation project with Planète Urgence to offset carbon emissions and to dedicate 5% of the price of the shoes to improve working conditions, supporting, for example, health-related projects.

FYE shoes are available from 45€ onwards from around a dozen boutiques in Paris or from on line stores. Get details. (in English & French)

 

La Maison de l'Espadrille

preserving the tradition with nature

The use of Espadrille shoes have survived centuries from being the first known shoes to the present day image of relaxed/ lounge wear during summer. Similarly, the material used in their fabrication has hardly changed as shoe uppers continue to be in cotton and soles in corded jute. The only addition of the last century is the use of natural, vulcanised rubber to line the jute soles for added durability. La Maison de l'Espadrille has been preserving the tradition of espadrille fabrication in their family since 1960.

Espadrilles from Maison de l'Espadrilles cost 19€ upwards. They can be bought at most of the shoe stores or on line boutiques.

 

Think !

natural, healthy and beautiful

Created as a result of a family tradition of shoe making of 200 years combined with the sensibility of Martin Koller in the end 80s in Austria, Think ! line was created to combine the comfort of wearing shoes with aesthetics. 100% natural material area used in fabrication from vegetable-tanned leather uppers to leather or natural latex (hévéa tropical) soles. Their leather, bought at certified tanneries in Europe, is not treated with chemicals such as almuminium, cholrine, mercury or other toxic substances for preservation, only salt and cold chain suffices the process. Metallic component, wherever present, are nickle-free.

Think ! shoes are available from 80€ onwards. Their French flagship store is in Paris.

Paris Think ! Store
169, rue Faubourg Saint Antoine, 75011 Paris

website of Think ! (in English & German)

 

Simple Shoes

simplicity and functionality

'Simple Shoes' are available from Deckers Outdoor Corporation. These shoes are made of eco-certified leather and suède, hemp, recycled bicycle tyres, recycled carpet lining, recycled wool, silk, bamboo, coconut, and organic cotton. as per their claims, their shoes are 100% ecological.

Range of Simple shoes and slippers starts from 25€. These are available atthe following addresses in Paris. Other addresses in France- Lille, Dijon, Clermont Ferrand, Angers etc. are available from their website as well as the facility to purchase on line.

Atelier Chaussures
5 rue du Renard, 75004 Paris
Metro: Hotel de Ville (Line 1, 11)

Madox
28 rue Saint Denis, 75001 Paris
Metro: Chatelet (Line 1, 4, 7, 11, 14)

Sagone/ Sakso Sarl
9 Rue Mondetour, 75001 Paris
Metro: Etienne Marcel (Line 4)

Website of Simple Shoes (in French)

 

Pikolinos

minimum impact on nature

Recepient of theEuropean Eco Lable, Pikolinos shoes combine hand-craft shoe making with latest techniques to bring out fashionable, environment and eco-friendly shoes.

Website of Pikolinos Shoes (in English)

 

Po-Zu

nature meets originality

'Po-Zu' line of shoes was launched in 2006 by Sven Segal after he spending a couple of years trying to execute his idea of developing the ultimate ecological shoe which, he concluded, must be biodegradable yet durable. Po-Zu shoes are made from a variety of natural materials such as coir, latex, cork, hemp, unbleached wool, organically tanned leather and low impact dyes. In addition, the company avoids harmful glues by stitching all the components together, which makes the shoes more breathable, durable, repairable and recyclable. The Po-Zu range of shoes has eclectic names such as vegan and vegetarian ! The surprise element just doesn't stop here as there is an 'edible shoe cream' that can be used, as per the claims, not just to keep your shoes shining but also as a 'lip balm, skin moisturiser, hair conditioner, massage oil and cooking oil ! '

Po-Zu shoes are available from 80€ onwards from a handful of prime UK retail stores, namely Post Mistress, and Post in London or from their on line boutique. (website in English)

website of Po-Zu Shoes

 

Loint's

Loints of Holland had a humble beginning in 1918 in the sheds behind the house of C.Klijsen, an independent shoemaker in Kaatsheuvel in the south of the Netherlands. This area is the main area for tanneries and shoe manufacturers. A unique combination of timeless design and superb fitting comfort, taking the environment into account along the way, helps Loints live up to their motto "ART for your FEET". Natural elements used in Loints shoes include less lining with leathers, less glue, repairable soles, non-use of Benzedrine and pcp from the tanneries and PU-out soles without the use of freon. An average Loints shoe undergoes 200 production actions ! Loints may be closest to hand-made shoes one can get in the Industrialized Western world.

Loints shoes are available from 135€ onwards. There are various dealers and resellers of Loints shoes in France whose addresses are available here.

website of Loint's

 

Other brands of shoes such as some models of Pataugas of France, Ecolution of Romania, Chipie, Moheda toffeln of Sweden, Sanita of Denmark and Chaussettes Vertes for socks are available. They have partial components or some series that are eco-friendly. Dedicated on line boutiques stocking various brands of ecological shoes exist for the discerning customers- Chaussures Ecolo, Sarenza Green and Kenka.

 

*The Institute for Marketecology: A leading international certification and inspection agency, specialising in the certification of organic and sustainable food and non-food products. Founded in Switzerland in 1990.

**Forest Stewardship Council : Global Organisation for Protection of forests throughout the world that encourages the responsible and sustainable management of forest resources.