Superhero Footwear


Most superheroes wear cool boots; Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman. Well, maybe Spiderman doesn’t because he has to have that sticky, spidey, foot-action to climb buildings. But, still, Superheroes have to have super footwear to help them out in a pinch when they need to fight the bad guys. In today’s world, what kind of shoes might Superheroes wear? After all, the kind of Superhero we really need is one who can save the entire planet. Would they wear renewable bamboo boots? Sustainably sourced soy slippers?

How far are you willing to go to help the planet? The gringa is willing to do lots of stuff. Innovative companies are making it easier than ever for climate conscious individuals to make better lifestyle choices. It’s all well and good to manage your thermostat better and reduce your water waste. For urban dwellers hopping a bus or a bike is a viable option. It’s easy to stock a pantry, cupboard and frig with ethically sourced proteins, veggie and fruit. But there are some lifestyle areas where it is hard to find eco-friendly options. Or, at least eco-friendly options you are actually willing to live with.

Take clothes. The gringa simply hates organic fabrics. I must admit that I prefer the carefree nature of rayons and nylons and all those other “on” fabrics that are wash and wear. I know that the process for manufacturing these fabrics is not exactly environmentally friendly. But can’t I skate on the fact that I don’t use the dryer or iron? At least I’m saving loads of electricity in maintaining my man-made wardrobe. So, the gringa is stuck with the stalemate of a reasonable compromise here. And then there’s my shoes.

Living in the gulf coast region of Texas means the gringa’s closet is filled with snazzy sandals and lightweight slip-on shoes. Wonder Woman boots, not so much. It’s very hard for the gringa to find any sort of realistic option when it comes to Superhero ethical footwear. I don’t just have the environment to consider. In high school I had reconstructive surgery on my left foot. My right foot had some issues that could have used correction but after the torturous recovery of my first surgery I would have to be wheelchair bound before I opt for another, that’s for sure.

So, I have very strange, mis-matched feet. Both are very, very wide. You could just say oddball duck feet and the gringa would whole-heartedly agree. My left foot is also extremely sensitive to the touch, my incision scars being perpetually tingly. That means all of my shoes have to be incredibly soft and flexible. Preferably flip-flops. But flip-flops don’t meet the dress code of every occasion. And it’s hard to find shoes that match my needs, are cute, AND environmentally ethical. It just seemed impossible to be a well-shod planetary Superhero. Until now.

Rothy’s is a San Francisco start-up that is introducing the world to cute little shoes made from recycled water bottles. The gringa just LOVES this idea. Right now they only have ladies flats but they expect to introduce more designs. And, rather than contribute to the problem of too much waste, as these designs develop, they will not be stocking shelves in retail centers and warehouses. Instead, they will be made on-demand. This also eliminates that pesky fashion problem of unwanted leftovers when fashion season cycles render a certain style obsolete.

It takes about two weeks to convert three plastic water bottles into a petite ballet slipper. The plastic is ground-up then “combed” into soft filament fibers. These fibers are then processed through a 3D-knitting process to create a seamless, waste-free shoe in about 6 minutes. The only other thing used in the process is recycled foam for the insole. And it truly is waste-free because when a gal is through with it, the shoe can be completely recycled! I mean, just look at that cuteness!

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This is such wonderful news! Although environmentally conscious individuals can reduce their use of water bottles, the reality is that they are still a big seller. In the gringa’s home we use a water-filter pitcher. However, when we travel or stop for a bite to eat, we still depend widely on water bottle consumption. Whether we like it or not, water bottles are here to stay.

The U.S. only recycles about 23% of its plastic waste. That means about 38 billion water bottles are destined for landfills every year. Despite the best efforts by environmental groups at awareness of the problem of waste caused by bottled water, it is still one of the most consumed beverages in the country.  So, if it’s unlikely to change consumer behavior, then a different approach to the waste must be the solution. And Rothy’s has nailed it! The worst environmental problem about bottled water has been solved!

Sources:

Rothy’s

Ban The Bottle

Tree Hugger

Image Credit: Deviant Art

Shoe Shopping In The Barrio


This Gringa needs a new pair of dancing shoes!  I know exactly what I want:  open toe, 2” heel, no platform, crisscross ankle strap, velvet, satin or similar soft fabric, wide strap across the instep just above my toes, maybe with some sparkly jewels, one pair in black, one pair in nude, and one pair in white.  I could find this perfect shoe at the local specialty dance shop but, on a Barrio budget, who could afford ‘em? What’s a poor, workin’ girl to do? Well, this gal hits the mall for what would become a noteworthy shopping experience.

At five-foot, five-inches tall I stand a wee bit taller than my husband (although his Latino machismo makes this impossible for him to believe).  This fact means a low heel is a critical factor in shoe shopping.  Also, because I dance like a madwoman with her hair on fire and am not interested in broken ankles, I prefer a low heel.  As I peruse the selections at the various stores in the mall I seem to have the same conversation again and again with the sales staff.  These exchanges go something like this:

“Can I help you find something?”

“Yes, please.  I’m looking for some shoes to wear out dancing… Oh my, impressive, but, seeing as I’m not a hooker, not really what I had in mind.  Thank you, though.”

“Have you been helped?”

“Well, if that’s what you wanna call it.  What I’d really like is a pretty, low-heeled, strappy sandal with more of a princess look than the hooker look, if you know what I mean.”

“Heh, heh, well, let me see what I can find for you.”

“Mmmm hmmm. Now THAT’S quite a shoe! Just exactly how high is that platform? Really! Well, it’s awfully inflexible.  What I’m looking for are some new dance shoes and, since dancing like Frankenstein is really not my style, I guess I should keep looking. Thanks anyway.”

Finally, after four desperate hours of shopping and finding nothing but KISS and Elton John inspired platforms with five-inch spike heels (Frankenstein hooker shoes!), I left the mall totally disillusioned.  I felt incredibly old and out of touch with fashion.  Then, behold, I spy a popular discount store.  I am now more in need than ever of some retail therapy.  Hmmm, what have I got to lose?  And there, against all odds, I rejoiced with the angels because I found my heart’s desire at… Payless Shoe Source.  Who knew?!  Not only did I find beautiful, satin, jeweled princess shoes, but, best of all… I COULD AFFORD TWO PAIR!