How To Create A Sustainable Sneaker In 6 Steps

Ethical footwear pioneers, Po-Zu, have pioneered a whole new way of making a 100% sustainable shoe.

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From all natural materials to shoes that support social impact initiatives, Po-Zu has moved some of its manufacturing to Sri Lanka where the raw materials are on hand and the factory is one of the most ethically run.

We dive deeper into their new shoe line to discover how they’re made a 100% ethical trainer.

How To Create A Sustainable Sneaker In 6 Steps

1. Use all natural and biodegradable materials

Po-Zu’s new sustainable and vegan sneakers are made from 100% natural materials, including Fairtrade rubber tapped close to the factory, organic cotton grown down the road and the brand’s innovative coir (coconut husk) which makes up the super comfy ‘Foot Mattress’.

Coir fibre is heat and water resistant, has good ventilation and insulating – what could be better than that? And it’s a former waste product.

2. Eliminate plastic from the shoe

Normal sneakers from boxfresh and high street brands mostly contain plastic in the soles, which won’t break down.

“It is possible to make soles that are 100% rubber and it is possible to be 100% Fairtrade rubber,” says Safia Minney, Managing Director of Po-Zu.

“Fairtrade rubber proves it’s possible to use natural materials and support the environment we’re working in.”

3. Make a sneaker range that can compete on the high street

Po-Zu’s sustainable sneakers are aimed at the mid-market, price conscious consumer who wants an ethical alternative to mainstream trainer brands.

With a simple design and low miles between the natural products and the factory, Po-Zu can turn out a strong vegan shoe line at seriously competitive price.

We’re talking £59 to £69 to make sure no person or the planet was harmed in making your feet look good.

4. Manufacture the shoes in a certified ethical factory

Po-Zu has moved the manufacture of its new sustainable sneaker line to Sri Lanka where it can access the best natural materials which are grown and harvested close to the factory.

5. Use fashion to create a positive social impact

Through the manufacture of Po-Zu’s shoes the factory in Sri Lanka can support its workers properly. There are health care and education programmes while wider social impact initiatives include building bridges so that the rubber tappers can access more trees more easily without damaging them.

“This new line is a gamechanger for us,” says Minney. “It proves you can make 100% ethical shoes for a reasonable price and give back. It’s a great example for the footwear industry.”

6. Help businesses combat climate change

“I’ve worked with factories in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, they’re open minded to sustainability in the purest form,” says Minney.

“There is a new generation of industrialists in Asia who know the problems of climate change are incredibly real – the recent droughts in Sri Lanka have caused coconut production to drop by 20% so climate change is something Sri Lanka is facing head on and we have an opportunity to help them do that through business.”

Looking for more? Check out our list of ethically made shoes.