I love a good slip-on shoe, especially in the summertime, so when the folks at Kandals contacted me about reviewing a pair of their vegan shoes I said, "Yes, please!"
Kandals are made in Spain, and I was pretty impressed with the materials list they sent me. According to my contact at the company, the shoes are made from:
- Upper Material: 100% Organic Cotton
- Outsole: Natural Rubber
- Insole: Polyurethane Cotton
Not too shabby!
I've been wearing these suckers all over town, and they're cute and comfortable. I love the quilted look on the upper, and the insoles are supportive with plenty of give. The company also plants a tree for every pair sold, which is a nice way to offset some of the impact from producing and shipping them.
There was one thing about these shoes that struck me as a little odd, though: the scented soles. I can see the merits to this idea. Wearing slip-ons without socks can be a stinky situation. Some essential oils might be a nice way to control odor. I asked the company several times for clarity on what they use to make the scent, and they were a little bit dicey about answering me.
The first time I asked, they said:
The soles of each pair of KANDALS are dyed with a strawberry scent so that every time you put them on, you get a fresh newness to your shoes. The scent is not perfumed on the fabric but dyed with the rubber sole prior to being assembled, making the scent subtle and long-lasting.
OK, so the scent is mixed in with the sole material, which is helpful but doesn't really answer what they use to formulate the scent. I asked again, and here's what they had to say:
The strawberry dye is internally mixed with the rubber sole prior to being assembled. A natural liquid strawberry gets combined with a liquefied rubber which afterwards gets molded to an outsole. She can also check our "About Us" section of our website which give a detailed explanation of how KANDALS are constructed.
The About section, as of this writing, doesn't explain what the dye is. Is it a chemical fragrance? An essential oil? Why won't they tell me? I asked one last time, and at this point I think my contact was getting a little bit annoyed at my fixation with knowing what this scent was:
The strawberry is not a fragrance applied on the outsole, but internally mixed in. The liquid strawberry is an extract from natural strawberry fruit with a small amount mixed in with the rubber!
An extract! OK. I'm still not totally clear on what that means, but I think I've probably gotten all I'm going to get out of them about this mystery scent.
So the shoes arrived, and I have to tell you guys, they smell terrible. The thing is, they are also freaking adorable! Luckily, since they go on your feet, they're far away from your nose, unless you're planning to do yoga or gymnastics in them.
The shoes they sent me retail for $34 on the Kandals site, and despite the weird smell I would probably get these again.