Going Green Goes Mainstream

Photo by Yazmin Cruz

Photo by Yazmin Cruz

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered Payless ShoeSource had started a green line of shoes that cost less than $30. I was not surprised because it seems that everyone has jumped on the bandwagon and gone green but as green products hit the market in mass, I wonder how new companies define their ethical guidelines regarding environmental friendly products and whether they are being regulated.

This is not meant as a dig at Payless but they are a company that I would have never equated with being environmentally friendly.

Their new Zoe and Zac line, which hit stores in April, includes sneakers, sandals and flats. The shoes are made from Eco-friendly materials including organic cotton, linen, hemp and recycled rubber. With the use of natural dyes, water-based glues and soy-based inks, the recycled shoe boxes are also environmentally friendly.

But how come Playless can sell these shoes at a lower price than other shoe companies such as Simple Shoes? The difference is in the materials.

Simple shoes, which sells footwear for women, men and children, can run up to $80 for a pair but they are 100% committed to being sustainable. The Zoe and Zac collection on the other hand, only uses a percentage of the eco-friendly materials.

As I bought a pair, I couldn’t stop wondering whether the purity of green products is diminishing because more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon and whether this will eventually lead us back to where we started?

If it were any other time, I would have stuck with Simple shoes and other established green companies. But for now, I take comfort in knowing that my choices at stores that may just be following a fad are taking notice and this my lead to them making a stronger commitment to decreasing their environmental footprint.


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