More Shoes with a Cause for Men, Women and Children
By Audrey van Petegem, Senior Editor
We love to support companies that do great work here and abroad. By now, we are all now quite familiar with (and wearing) Toms Shoes and we love the great work the company does around the world (Did you know that Toms does eyewear now, under the same One-for-One principle). In fact, we wrote about them three years ago already. Here are some other shoe companies that also do great work in their own way, whether it is helping the environment, fighting poverty or helping women.
For the Young Ones
Chooze Shoes – Here are some perfect back-to-school shoes (up to size 5) that will not only give your child a great, comfortable and fun pair of shoes for school but also helps fight poverty. Like LittleMissMatched Socks, Chooze Shoes' left shoe is slightly different than the right one. When my son was younger, he always wore different colored shoe laces in his running shoes. My young daughters always mismatch their flip flops. I love seeing their sense of individuality and creativity and how they express it with what they wear. These shoes naturally allow children to think outside the (shoe) box and be individuals. Plus they are 100% free of any animal byproduct and made with colorful cotton fabrics. I love them! And just as important, if not more so, at the end of every year the company invests 100 % of its profits in anti-poverty programs, in the form of small business loans to women to help them emerge from extreme poverty. Chooze Shoes believes in “a hand-up rather than a hand-out.” To check out their complete line of adorable boys and girls shoes go to their website Choozeshoes.com where you can purchase a pair for $48.00.
Sseko Sandals – These sandals are a modern, simplified version of the Gladiator sandal. They have unique interchangeable design in over 30 different designs and colors. The company was started by a young journalism graduate student who went to Uganda to work for, and share the story of a non-profit organization. What happened next was her discovering a school, Cornerstone Leadership Academy and seeing the gifted young women who graduated from the secondary school unable to finance their university tuition because of lack of job opportunities. Sseko Designs was created to help these women, by providing them with a fair wage so they can afford to go onto university. In addition to their salary, Sseko Designs provides housing, training programs and will match their savings by 100%. Once the women are in university, they have a much easier time finding employment, however they still have an option to continue with Sseko for the duration of the three year studies on a part-time basis. Once graduated, women are then recruited to more career specific positions within the company (such as accounting and management). But now, let's focus on the beautiful and comfortable (I am all about comfort) sandals are made by Sseko: visit the Sseko Designs website and check out all the different looks you can have with just one pair of sandals for $49.00.
For Men and Women
Oats Shoes – This Dutch company, is helping the world in a whole new way. Made from hemp and cotton, these running shoes are completely bio-degradable. Even the plastic soles have been tested to break down within six months once buried. But wait, there is more…! Bury them in your garden and after regular watering watch a beautiful bouquet of flowers bloom from your old shoes. That said, these durable sneakers will last as long as other sneakers with normal wear and tear. To order your own pair of shoes that bloom go to OatShoes for approximately $200.00.
Amazon Flip Flops – Made in Brazil, these flip flops are constructed from recycled tires. And because they are made from old tires, they last longer than flipflops. After wearing them for a few days, these flip flops will start to mold into the shape of your feet. So far, Amazon has recycled over 800,000 tires which have been taken out of landfills, lakes and rivers. Talk about reducing your carbon footprint and taking it to a whole new level! To order a pair of these eco-friendly flip flops go to Wave Tribe for $29.95.
Jojo Shoes – Also from Brazil and made of natural cotton, these shoes help both the environment and humankind by planting trees and installing water pumps in Africa. Jojo has partnered with Tree Nation to help with reforestation to help produce fruit, medicine and food for locals and to decelerate erosion of the soil. The Water Project and Jojo helps build water pumps to bring clean drinkable water and sustain agriculture in communities. When you purchase a pair of Jojo you can choose which project you would like to support and keep checking back to see how it is progressing. Go to Jojo to choose your shoe, act by deciding which project you want to support and check back to see the progress. Retails for approximately $100.00.
Editor's note – since re-featuring this article it has been brought to our attention that Jojo Project no longer sells this line of shoes. However they do have a line of Knitted Wear that still carries on the same philosophy.
Each of these companies was started by people who had a vision and the desire to make a difference. Their sense of style brings that vision to fruition with fun, stylish, comfortable shoes. With that, it is easy for us to now do our part. If you know of other “shoes with a cause” companies, let us know. We would love to mention them too.