Twin Ethical sneakers put best feet forward

Adbusters, the culture jammers out of Canada, have been talking about it heaps and now its finally arrived. No, not their latest anti-advert but their anti-product! The Blackspot Sneaker, is supposed to be a counterpoint to sweatshop-made, vinyl-covered sports shoes. The sneaker's uppers are of organic hemp and the toe cap is 70% biodegradable (Huh, is that like half pregnant?). They aren't using water based glues, because they say they "lack permanence and shoe longevity suffers." That's odd, my 10 year old Deja Shoes haven't fallen apart yet and they pioneered water-based adhesives. (Sorry, I should be focusing on the positives). The white anti-logo "Blackspot" is handpainted. Vegetarian Shoes in Britain are vetting that the sneaker is made to ethical, vegan standards. The union rep commented that the factory in Portugal is a model establishment. The sneaker is $47.50 plus shipping. A remarkably similar shoe is the NoSweat Sneaker. It's $42. Both appear to have had the same gestation but like twins separated at birth, they have gone on to live different lives. The NoSweat claims to be the only 100% union made sneaker in the world! A card comes with the sneakers, outlining the wages, benefits and working conditions for the factory workers in Jakarta, Indonesia. (They receive 100% health insurance and 80% for family members, including full hospitalization.) At this stage the NoSweat is not making any environmental claims rather they are focusing on the fair working conditions. NoSweat, who also make a range of clothing, do note that they might use hemp, if they can find a source outside China (Hint - try Romania.)

But either way, each sneaker is playing David to Goliath, in taking on the might of the athletic sports shoe market. So, if you are in need of new sneakers give 'em a thought. [by WM]

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