By Seth Strickland
The benefits of buying better quality sandals are many, and the cost is small. To aid this choice, the deliberateLIFE staff has selected three flip-flops which are fairly and greenly made, won't break the bank, and will look good to boot!
Types of Soles: There are essentially two green schools of thought on the material used to make the soles of sandals: natural rubber, harvested sustainably, or recycled rubber (typically from car tires). The advantage of the first process is that not only is it natural, but it is habituating a method of manufacture for future generations of shoe manufacturers. Its disadvantage is that it is adding more rubber (albeit biodegradable) to an already rubber-filled world. The advantage, on the other hand, of the latter, is that the material already exists in the form necessary – the soles must be cut, but not manufactured from scratch. The disadvantage of this is that the soles are usually petroleum-based.
Quality: When you're at the store or reviewing products online, look for details that indicate that the shoe is made with care and will survive the adventures of summer sun. Are they stitched or glued? Handmade? Are there positive reviews of the product? Quality is one way to reduce the amount of waste created.
Here are three brands that you might want to consider this summer:
The first brand we recommend is Indosole, which falls in the latter category. The company is based in San Fransisco but manufactures in Bali. The company promises that its workers work in excellent manufacturing situations. Indosole's flip-flops are made from recycled motorcycle tires by hand, so the manufacturing process itself is largely fuel-free, and on top of all this, the shoes have no leather uppers, so they're vegan as well. This makes a good alternative to a brand like Tevas and is likely to last for at least five years if not longer. For anyone who longs for the days of Simple Shoes again, these are the sandals for you.
For sandals firmly in the harvested natural rubber camp, look no further than Guru. Their striking aesthetic has roots in ancient Indian sandal designs, but the company is brand-new. They're stylish and simple, fairly inexpensive, and the company is just out of a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. By all accounts, these flip-flops are comfortable and functional while helping the planet.
Our final entry in the flip-flop lineup is a much more conventional design. Feelgoodz flip-flops look exactly like other flip-flops, but feel much softer. They come from intentionally fair and empowering materials-sourcing, fair manufacturing, and naturally and sustainably acquired rubber.
This summer consider buying sustainable and long-lasting flip-flops comfortable for the foot and the soul and support businesses doing good.