Patagonia have put their toe in the water of the footwear market before, with reef walkers, and shoes for soggy sports like kayaking and fishing, amongst other offerings. But, as we alluded to 18 months ago, they've now opted to leap in feet first. Over 30 styles were recently exhibited at outdoor trade shows, with a few styles being quietly released at retail as we type. With the rest following in time for the northern spring '07. In adhering to their 'best product causing least harm' ethos, Patagonia have selected green materials throughout the line These include natural latex from Hevea rubber trees, Vibram's Ecostep outsoles, which have up to 30% recycled rubber, with uppers in hemp or vegetable tanned leather. Patagonia president and CEO, Casey Sheahan, says of the collaborative venture with Merrell that they are "working together to find materials and construction methods that can greatly reduce footwear manufacturing pollution." Whilst Craig Throne, general manager for Patagonia Footwear is quoted thus, "Environmentally, we have taken every step we can but have not compromised on the durability of our product."(Though it's also noted that some leather is chromium finished in tanneries cited as having the highest of environmental registrations - ISO 14001. Nice, but not exactly noteworthy, for when we last looked, 14001 was a voluntary environmental management system - that could be equally applied to, say, a land mine factory or nuclear power plant.)
But we digress. Other materials range from coconut to Gore-tex. And should you have a spare free hour of time, Patagonia Footwear will also be offering a 'DIY' (design-it-yourself) shoe. Rubber remainded from manufacturing processes will be provided as patterns and lacing so budding footwear designers can craft their own unique shoes, without resorting to tools or adhesives. Reminds us of this post The line is grouped into: Brown (land based activity), Green (travel) and Blue (for water oriented sports.) Patagonia Footwear, like the parent brand, will provide 1% of all sales to the One Percent For The Planet organisation. ::Patagonia Footwear
Seen here are, what we believe to be, the first cabs off the rank: The Rimu shoe is see above.
Manuka travel sandal with shearling footbed. (Sort of an Ugg thong!)
The Swell slide.