These Cool Hiking Boots Contain No New Plastic

The Alice + Whittles Weekend Boot is made from ocean plastic and recycled rubber.

Alice+Whittles weekend boot
Alice + Whittles Weekend Boot in Sage.

Alice + Whittles

Canadian footwear company Alice + Whittles has added a great new product to its lineup. The Weekend Boot is a sturdy ankle boot with a chunky, grippy sole that's as well-suited to rugged hiking trails as it is to urban brunch joints. 

The Weekend Boot is entirely vegan, with no animal products in the glue that holds it together. The inner lining is made from recycled synthetic wool, and the sole is a mix of natural and sustainable rubber (45% of which is recycled). The seams are sealed to keep it water-resistant. The upper is made from 95% repurposed marine plastics that have been collected by fishermen, and there is no virgin plastic whatsoever in the entire boot. 

This is a smart way in which to use post-consumer plastic – turning it into a dense, tough material for footwear, as opposed to softer polyester fabric. My views on recycled polyester have shifted considerably in recent months, influenced by an interview I heard with Rebecca Burgess of Fibershed. She described using shredding plastic bottles and turning them into washable fabric as "heinous," due to the tremendous amount of shedding that results. There are better, more stable ways to repurpose plastic, and footwear is one of them, since these don't get shaken around a washing machine on a regular basis.

Speaking of washing them, it's easy: just wipe the boots down with warm water, a bit of soap, and a rag. 

I received a sample pair of these boots in the mail several weeks ago and have been wearing them regularly ever since. My family usually goes hiking on weekends, so I've had plenty of opportunities to use the boots on rough terrain, as well as around town. I am most impressed by the fact that they required next to no break-in period, and that at the end of a five-mile hike along the rough Bruce Trail last weekend, I didn't have any blisters or chafing.

And they're good-looking! I have received numerous compliments from people while wearing them, wondering where they're from, so Alice + Whittles is certainly on to something with its eye-catching designs.

black Weekend Boot
Weekend Boot in Black.

Alice + Whittles

The Toronto-based company is owned by a husband-and-wife duo that currently makes rain boots from fairly traded natural rubber and sneakers from post-industrial leather upcycled from car seat cutoffs. (Read Treehugger's writeup here.) All footwear is made in a family-run factory in Portugal. Currently 90% of the supply chain is sustainable and fully traceable, but the company says it won't stop till it gets to 100%. 

If you're in the market for some sturdy, hardworking footwear to get you through the winter and beyond, the Weekend Boot is definitely worth checking out.