Another way of walking through life: El Naturalista

This is the slogan of the Spanish natural shoe company El Naturalista, which was founded in the Rioja region of Spain and is now selling in outlets around the world. Their website gives the impression of a caring, forward thinking company with respect for tradition and a healthy approach to designing for the future."Progress, if it is to be a synonym of devastation, makes no sense to us. Life itself is the inspiration for life, and at El Naturalista we make shoes for walking through life." The site is filled with delicious textures and detailed context. They have a holistic approach to shoe design proclaiming to design "footwear for people who advance while they walk. Designed for people who build while they dream."
As you look through their different shoe lines you can read little stories about how each shoe was inspired. For example the Organico was influenced by the natural art of Andy Goldsworthy, the Badawi sandal was inspired by the ancient art of reflexology and the Viajero by the tree climbing shoes worn by the Kayapó Indians in Brazil. While these tales of inspiration are a sweet enough way to market shoes, what I would really like to know is whether El Naturalista are putting their actions where their mouth is? Unfortunately I can't find any hard and fast facts about how, where, who by or what exactly these 'natural' shoes are made from. We did email El Naturalista some time ago to find out more, but unfortunately we had no response. So maybe if we all bug them to answer our questions we can find out just how natural they are. These shoes sure do talk the Treehugger talk, but do they, more importantly, walk the Treehugger walk?

For your nearest stockist of ::El Naturalista shoes look on their website under 'Where to buy'. [Leonora & Petz]