Footwear is one of those areas where I have a hard time. As a vegan and someone concerned about my environmental impact, it's tough sometimes to find shoes that are as green as I want them to be. Shoes can have quite the eco-footprint (get it?). From the fabrics and dyes to the glues and labor to make them, it's tricky to find eco-friendly shoes.
One easy way to make your shoe shopping low impact is to buy used shoes. The boots on the left in the photo above are a pair I snagged on eBay for $25. They're Earth shoes, and I've had them for six years now. The shoes on the right are not second hand, and honestly they're not the most eco-friendly, either. They're a pair of vegan boots from Moo Shoes. The materials are all man-made, which means they're probably petroleum based. They're a great pair of boots though! Warm, comfy, and they've held up for about as long as those Earth Shoes.
Why Repair Old Shoes?
When a pair of shoes starts to go bad, your first instinct is probably to replace them. If the sole is falling off or the zipper pops, you can't keep wearing those suckers for long. When these two pairs of boots started to go, I decided that instead of shopping for new shoes, I'd find a cobbler and get them repaired.
Repairing instead of replacing is a much greener choice, but I wasn't sure if it would be a hassle or not. I mean, do cobblers even still exist?
Finding the Right Cobbler
Finding a shoe repair place wasn't too difficult. There were probably half a dozen shops near my house that do shoe repair. If you're looking to have soles repaired or scuffs buffed out, you can probably look on Yelp or even just Google a shoe repair shop and pop in unannounced.
If you're looking to get zippers repaired or replaced or do anything else that's more complicated, I'd definitely call ahead. I called every shoe repair shop near my house and couldn't find one that worked on zippers! I finally found the shop that's fixing my shoes up now pretty much at random - it's in the same shopping center as the Whole Foods, and I popped in just to see if they did zippers. Persistence is key here.
My shoes will be ready next week! Not only was getting my shoes repaired quick once I tracked down a shop that could do the repair, it was cheap! Fixing a zipper on each shoe and re-attaching the soles on one pair cost me $35. That's much less expensive than buying a new pair of boots! Now, I just need to figure out how I manage to destroy the zippers on my boots.
Don't you love it when the eco-friendly choice is wallet-friendly, too?