How to tell if a shoe is sustainable?
While there are many factors that can make a shoe more environmentally-friendly than others, there are a few main areas a sustainable brand should focus on to ensure a low environmental impact. Here are a few things you can look out for to help you in your search for sustainable heels.
1. Recyclable or renewable materials
The materials a pair of heels is made from is one of the biggest contributors to its environmental footprint. From the production of the material to its end-of-life treatment, environmental costs can add up quickly.
First, more sustainable heels will be made from materials that can be recycled or reused to create new products. This greatly reduces the amount of waste taking up space in landfills and allows for new shoes made from pre-used materials (thus eliminating some of the costs of raw material production).
It’s important to ensure the shoe can actually be recycled! Only 5% of shoes are recycled today. While we could all be a bit better about recycling old shoes, this low percentage is largely a result of how the shoes are put together in the first place, as many shoes contain non-recyclable components that are difficult to separate. Sustainable heels must be designed with their end-of-life in mind in order to ensure that disassembly and recycling are a viable option.
For example, HILOS shoes are made using a single 3D-printed platform, rather than gluing together many different components, which helps to simplify disassembly and encourage recycling. This also allows for less material waste and a lower-emission production process - parts of the sustainability equation that are just as important as circularity.