If you're OK with leather, then the recycled rubber soles and plastic laces, combined with the company's commitment to cleaning ocean plastic, make these an eco-friendly choice.
I used to say that shoes were the hardest part of a wardrobe to source sustainably, but that appears to be changing. In the past year, I've encountered numerous companies that are offering eco-friendly footwear and have written about several of them.
Today I'll tell you about New Movements' latest offering. The Norwegian shoe company has launched a collection of two new minimalist sneakers made from recycled and circular materials – the HUK and the ÅPNE. Together, they're called the 02 Postpone Collection.The shoes, made in Portugal, are beautiful, sleek, and functional. They are also described as 'responsible' by their maker. In the HUK model, this takes the form of "fine, colorful pieces of recycled rubber visible in the outsole are designed to give the sneaker a raw, authentic look, and spark the conversations [about the environment] we just can’t postpone anymore" (shown below).
The soles of both models are made from 80 percent recycled rubber and 20 percent natural (virgin) rubber. The laces are made from recycled plastic bottles. The chromium-free leather uppers are made from hides sourced from the European meat and dairy industries. (This might appease some shoppers who are concerned about leather being sourced from the burning Amazon.) As New Movements' founder Martin Evenson explained to TreeHugger over email,
"The leather is from a gold-certified tannery, Mastrotto, who is raising standards for tanneries everywhere. That’s why it’s certified Gold by the Leather Working Group, which maintains environmental protocols for leather."
Possibly the most attractive feature of these shoes is that, for every pair purchased, New Movements will clean up 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) of ocean plastic, equivalent to 200 PET water bottles. It has partnered with Empower to make this happen. (It would be nice, of course, to see New Movements using more of this reclaimed plastic in its shoe design beyond the laces, since creating a market for this plastic is crucial for such cleanup ventures to succeed.)
In the meantime, you can pre-order a pair of sneakers on Kickstarter; delivery is slated for mid-November.