Are Your Shoes Green?

Let me make this clear: as long as you’re walking someplace that you could have taken your car, probably. But what about on a global scale? Are those superfly Nikes you’re sporting hurting the planet during production?

2001812097061640887_rs.jpgImage from In Between Dreams on Flickr

Nike, despite their sweatshop controversy in the 1990s, now publishes all of their factories and suppliers online. They also have a line called Nike Considered, which features entirely organic construction. However, as you might imagine, this has some durability issues.

Nike also sponsor the “Reuse-a-Shoe” program, which recycles old running shoes (a definite plus) because runners typically ditch their shoes every 300 miles. Unfortunately, they’re still not big fans of union factories, and have yet to require that their workers receive a living wage–not environmental concerns, but frequently an overlapping cause.

Reebok is almost a carbon copy of Nike with respect to environmental concerns, and Adidas probably carries the “most improved award.” Adidas recently reduced their VOC production from 140 grams per pair of shoes to 19. The clear leader in enviro-friendly shoes, though?

Well, that award belongs to Asics, who have been using EVA (safer, quicker to degrade) foam since the 1950s. They also collect and recycle PE uniforms at 500 U.S. schools, and have stricken chromium: a carcinogen, from their production processes.