Friday, July 3, 2015

Ethical sneakers - do they exist?

Working in a non-clinical role this year, I can wear casual dress to work. Back in February, I decided it might be nice to pick up new sneakers (not for running, just for wandering around). It's now July and I have been unable to find any that fulfil my basic requirements for apparel purchases. Now that I think about it. I also looked around when I was in London and Portland last year and couldn't find any to satisfy my "ethical" criteria. Ethical sneakers are even harder to find than ethical bras! (For the record, I picked up a few Canadian-made Fortnight bras during my travels next year. They are gorgeous, comfortable and supportive.)

The first requirement is that they be fair trade, or made somewhere with reasonable labour conditions. I found one Australian-made brand, Gideon, which makes very cool-looking sneakers. However, these are not the style I'm after.

A 2012 Guardian article by ethical shopping guru Lucy Siegle led me to French brand Veja, which ticks numerous boxes (and has some very stylish designs). However, ordering from them would involve shipping sneakers halfway across the world (and, if they don't fit, all the way back). Siegle has also recently written on the topic of "ethical running kit".

New Balance have some "Made in UK" sneakers but limited styles are available in Australia, particularly in women's sizes, and I don't want pumpkin-coloured shoes

Adidas has just announced a prototype shoe made from marine waste. Maybe I should hold out for a pair of those.

While pondering this post, and deciding that it's ALL JUST TOO HARD, I guiltily remembered that I have at least two pairs of 1990s Converse All Stars, some 1980s Puma sneakers and a brand new pair of Dunlop Volleys I won a few years ago. None of these are the style of sneaker I want (I had a pair of 1990s Converse in that style, but the soles fell off when I tried to wear them in London last year, a cobbler told me they were not salvageable and they ended up in the bin). I should just suck it up and wear what I already own. Also, I need to clear out my shoe collection and donate of all my unworn and unwanted shoes.

Then maybe I'll have room for these Australian made ankle boots.