Shoes are only as strong as the earth they have to stand on. We design footwear to increase the number of footprints left upon this world, while lessening our company’s carbon footprint at every step of our product’s journey. The more aware we are of our impact, the more able we are to make a difference. During this Earth Week, we highlight the environmental efforts SOM Footwear takes to produce sustainable shoes made in America.
Making More with Less
Before a handmade shoe can take its first steps, you need materials, and every material consists of the energy used to create it and the distance needed to transport it. By using fewer materials in our production, we not only achieve a lighter, natural feel that strengthens your feet for longer adventures, but we reduce the amount of unnecessary add-ons that plague most traditional athletic and outdoor footwear. The more fasteners, straps, padding, and other over-engineered elements that go into shoes, the more carbon is expelled as a result. But the number of materials is just as important as where the materials come from.
By using as many America-sourced, vegan materials as possible, from our lace bands to our zero-drop soles to the SuperFabric and power knits fabrics that comprise the majority of our footwear, we support manufactures held to a higher environmental standard than other countries.
"Our environmental regulations give U.S. businesses more incentives to innovate and develop cleaner, more efficient production processes..." (Americanprogress.org.)
The majority of our materials are not coming from overseas, but from places nearby that properly dispose of waste, use greener alternatives to coal and fossil fuels, and have restrictions in place for lowering carbon emissions. Where a material is made tells us how that material is made, and we are proud to have so many manufacturers that share our environmental values.
Shipping with Less
When it comes time to ship, we use minimal packaging to ensure less waste ends up in landfills and, whenever possible, reuse boxes to get the longest life out of our supplies without needing to purchase more. Every little bit helps, and by establishing environmentally conscious habits during the production process, we lay the groundwork for maintaining these habits throughout the product's life.
Renew through Resole
What makes SOM Footwear unique is our commitment to your shoes long after they’ve reached your feet. You love our SOMs. You’ve exercised and gone on adventures in our SOMs. They’re your favorite pair, but they’re starting to look well-traveled. What do you do when your soles need a refresh? Most shoe companies would have you buy a new pair, leaving your others to collect dust or fall into the garbage, but we believe in renewal through resoling.
Every SOM shoe made today has a second life within each sole. With our ability to replace your worn out soles with a fresh new pair, we extend their life, saving you money and sparing the landfills from another piece of footwear.
"According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Americans throw away at least 300 million pairs of shoes each year. These shoes end up in landfills, where they can take 30 to 40 years to decompose" (Waste360.com)
When customers receive their resoled shoes back, they are amazed by the transformation and how easy it was to have it done by following our resoling guide. There, you will find helpful photos on how to tell when your shoes are ready, as well as what steps to take when they are ready.
Old Soles Pave New Ground
During the resoling process, we remove the worn soles from your SOMs and ship them to a recycling plant that breaks the materials down to be reused as crumb rubber for playgrounds and running tracks. We then adhere fresh soles and ship back your shoes for a renewed sense of motion.
At the End of a Shoe’s Life
After miles and miles of adventure, and after a resoling adds miles and miles more, there will come a time when your shoes have reached the end of their life, and it’s time for a new pair. But what do you do with the old ones? And throwing them away is not an option.
One such sneaker recycling organization, Got Sneakers, has multiple ways to dispose of your footwear in an environmentally responsible way; they’ll even pay you to do it.
They work with individuals and retailers, sending prepaid shipping materials to load your shoes into and ship them off to their facility. When they receive them, they separate them into two categories: old shoes can be recirculated to secondhand markets for those in need; damaged or heavily used shoes can be broken down into reusable materials or converted into new energy.
They take all brands and all styles, including multiple pairs at once, if you're looking to pair down your closest. Once you complete their registration form, Got Sneakers will send you a Clean Out Kit bag with pre-paid shipping label, you'll add your shoes, and drop the bag off at your nearest UPS or Fedex store. The entire process is FREE, and it’s worth mentioning again, Got Sneakers will pay you to send them your shoes.
For more information on how to signup and get your first Clean Out Kit, please follow this link: https://gotsneakers.com/individual-sellers/signup/
Everything Starts with a Step
Last year, we described how finding pause and walking helps reduce your carbon footprint. This year, we add to that goal with a new call to action: Where are your products coming from and what do those companies do to lessen their impact on the planet?
We’re not asking you to break down every spoon, t-shirt, light bulb, and bar of soap in your home. Like with everything: Small steps lead to sustainable changes. But the next time you're considering a purchase, and you have several companies to choose from, which one values the entire life of their product and not just the initial sale?
To be environmentally sustainable, a shoe must find its natural step in this world to afford all generations a chance to walk in her beauty. With American-made materials, recycled packaging, resoleable shoes, recycled soles, and options for responsible disposal, SOM Footwear proves stronger feet make a stronger planet.