How to Choose a More Ethical and Sustainable Pair of Sneakers
It’s no secret when it comes to choosing the right pair of sneakers for your personal aesthetic, there is a multitude of brands and styles to choose from. However, if you’re someone who is actively aware of their own individual environmental impact or are new to sustainable fashion and looking for sneakers that are more ethically made, you may not know where to look – or what to look for – when it comes to purchasing shoes that are sustainably and ethically made.
Thankfully, there are many brands whose standards for the quality and sustainability of their products are top priority, so if you’re on the hunt for a pair of sneakers that benefit everyone from the consumer to the hard workers making the product, then read on to find out why dropping some cash on a pair of ethically made sneakers will forever outweigh buying fast fashion and footwear.
Our Favorite Ethical Sneakers - Nisolo Diego Low Top Sneaker
Smart enough for work and casual enough for the weekend, the 100% living wages, 0% net carbon Diego Low Top is a super ethical pair of sneakers you don’t need to feel guilty about buying.
The Environmental Impact of Sneaker Production
All sneakers are not created equal. In fact, according to a 2020 report, the fashion industry is responsible for 4% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, which is staggering, to say the least. The production of sneakers undoubtedly contributes to that percentage, which is likely higher in today’s current climates, considering the study was conducted using data from 2018. And according to a study done by MIT, researchers found that two-thirds of running shoes and sneaker’s carbon impact comes from the manufacturing process, which is why it’s essential to pay attention to how a product is created and manufactured.
Not only is the manufacturing process a key component in how sustainable a company’s footwear products are, the materials obviously play a role in the environmental and societal impact of sneaker production as well. Many sneakers are made from mostly plastic or other plastic-like synthetic materials. They hold up better than natural materials and make total sense for putting out a durable product since sneakers usually go through more wear and tear than a pair of Oxfords, brogues, or other dress shoes. On top of that, because of the combination of different plastics and/or synthetic materials often used to construct sneakers, it’s incredibly difficult to recycle them and many sneakers end up in landfills.
With all that being said, when looking for a more ethical and sustainable pair of sneakers, it’s important to look for companies and brands that are also Certified B Corporations.
What Is a Certified B Corporation?
In order for a company to obtain a Certified B Corporation status, the company must “meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.” Thankfully, more and more fashion brands are aiming to achieve this status, and Nisolo, a company that sells both men’s and women’s shoes, as well as other sustainably sourced and made products, is quickly becoming one of fashion’s go-to brands for ethically made shoes.
Why Nisolo Is One of the Top-Rated Brands for Ethically Made Shoes
Nisolo is one of the top-rated Certified B Corporations in fashion, and per their website, “100% of the people creating products in our factory earn a living wage,” which means the company is not only one of the best choices when it comes to adding sustainable clothing products and accessories to your closet, but it’s also a company that values its workers.
Additionally, Nisolo uses solar panels on the rooftops of their factories to further reduce their carbon footprint, protects “111,406,473 sq ft of the Amazon Basin from deforestation” to offset carbon emissions, and even has an up-cycling and recycling program for their footwear to keep shoes out of landfills.
How To Style Ethically Made Sneakers
Now that you’re well-versed in the realm of sneaker production and the effect the fashion industry has on the environment, let’s answer the age-old question many people have when it comes to footwear: how do you style sneakers? As previously mentioned, sneakers can be dressed up or down and are an absolute wardrobe staple that every person should have in their closet. You shouldn’t just limit yourself to one pair of sneakers; however, if you’re looking for your next go-to pair of shoes that can be worn with both casual and dressy outfits alike, then Nisolo’s Diego Low Top Sneakers should be the pair of shoes to add to your wardrobe.
Not only do the Diego Low Top Sneakers come in six different colors so you’re guaranteed to find a style that works with your personal aesthetic, but they’re also made from Leather Working Group Certified leather, which is as sustainable as it gets when it comes to raw materials for footwear.
Nisolo Diego Low Top Sneaker Versatility
As far as what to wear these kicks with, it obviously depends on the color you choose, so start there. If you opt for a neutral color like Bone or Tobacco, pair ‘em with everything from denim of all washes to chinos in bold colors, patterns, or neutrals, and finish off your look with a crisp short or long sleeve button down or a high-quality plain t-shirt or graphic tee. An ensemble like this is perfect for daytime events and activities, be it a day wandering around the museum, grabbing food and drinks with your family, or just running errands.
If you go for a darker color, like Dark Olive or Black, you can wear the Diego Low Top Sneakers with dressier outfits, including business casual attire, “smart casual” attire (think engagement party, fancy BBQ or cookout, or even a wedding, depending on the dress code) or even with dark, destroyed denim and a leather jacket for an ultra-cool, casual “I just got off my Harley” vibe.
The bottom line is, sneakers will always have a place in fashion (and your closet), so no matter what you pair them with, the most important thing when it comes to choosing a more ethical pair of sneakers isn’t just what they look like, it’s how they’re made, what they’re made from, and how they affect who and what is involved when producing them.
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