I’ve been meaning to write a post about shoes for a while now. As someone who is slowly (too slowly, I’ll admit) trying to become vegan, what my shoes are made of is something that increasingly matters to me. I do have a couple of pairs of leather chappals, both of which I continue to refurbish at the cobbler. But when they finally are done I don’t know if I’ll get another pair made out of an animal.

But then the waste issue comes into this scenario and I have to answer the question: do I want chappals made out of plastic. And I don’t. But I do need rubber chappals (which are essentially plastic) to wear in the bathroom and inside the house at the very least. Also a pair to wear outside during monsoon season.

The one alternative I’ve found so far is Paaduks, which I love, not only because they use recycled rubber from tyres for the sole of the shoe. They’re 100% vegan and use recycled materials. Plus the rest of the shoes are made out of cloth–jute, cotton. The shoes–mostly because of the excellent sole–are extremely comfortable. The only problem is that the part of the shoe where your foot goes tends to wear out a bit too quickly and then they look old and raggedy. I’ve been trying to deal with this by keeping a daily pair and then keeping a nice pair for going out or to weddings and such. The other reason I continue to support them is that it’s a company with a soul: it is a beautiful livelihood building project that works to ensure a better living wage for the cobblers who produce them.

Today in The Better India I read about a new startup, called GreenSole, that is also trying to collect old athletic shoes in order to create beautifully designed chappals, which they in turn donate to people who cannot afford to buy their own chappals. It looks like their shoes will be available for purchase in the near future as well.


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