Shoe lovers have more and more choice when it comes to buying eco-friendly shoes: Simple Shoes, Worn Again or TOMS are just a few of my favourites and I just found a new brand from France. FYE (for your earth) is a relatively young company that started popping up on the internet and in european stores recently. Their fashionable trainers are comfy and their philosophy is eco-social business; good for people, planet and profit. The Materials
FYE uses recycled materials as well as organic natural fibers and rubber, all held together by non-toxic water-based adhesives.
Life Cycle Thinking
To reduce transportation emissions and cost, the recycled cardboard shoe box has been reduced to its minimum amount of material and size. However, according to Ana Villagorda for the blog Sostenible.cat the shoes are made in Vietnam, which adds quite a milage to the boxes. This is I believe for the same reasons that Worn Again produces in China; good quality at a low price (read: Greenslinging: Recycled Shoemaker Not Perfect, Says Newspaper). To make sure the production is ethical, 5% of every shoe sold goes to projects that work on improving working conditions in developing countries. Finally, to close the loop, FYE encourages the recycling of their shoes. All through France you can drop your old shoes of at any Le Relais recycling point. Those shoes are then turned into new soles again.
FYE undertook a carbon footprint study and found out that a pair of FYE shoes is of 2800 g eq. CO2 and 319 g CO2 eq / 100 g UVC. Read the full study here. To offset this CO2, the company is taking part in UN's "One Billion Trees" campaign; a pair of FYE purchased = 1 tree planted.
Of course these shoes are by no means perfect... I doubt that we can talk about upcycling in this case. Different materials, technical and biological, glued and melted together makes upcycling impossible, in case the old shoes actually make it back to the factory, which with the current recycling system in place, is highly unlikely and inefficient. It would also be nice to achieve a more local production, but compared to other footwear on the market, I guess these guys are doing alright and are definitely walking into the right direction.
Prices for the FYE shoes range from 48€ to 59€ on the Spanish online store Ecotendencias.