Although I swear I was meant to be barefoot for the majority of my life, I can’t help but love me some shoes. Especially ones that make my feet look cool, while also helping various causes, or empower people and communities across the globe.
So, if anyone is looking for some shoes. (Oh wait, isn’t that something that’s in our genetic code)…here are a few lines that are stylin’ but also doing so much good, even your feet will get a warm fuzzy.
Buyamba – Buyamba means “to help” in the local language in Uganda where all the beads that adorn these shoes are made. Beads you say? Just wait until you hear about how special these beads are.
Women in Uganda make some seriously beautiful handmade beads that are rolled up paper that is then varnished. This paper is usually trash or discarded overstock (Repurposing alert. High five.) The beads would traditionally be made into necklaces and bracelets, however, Buyamba saw a way to expand this market for the women by incorporating the beads into the designs of shoes, and sandals. To date, they have established over 200 new jobs for women in Uganda, and they have produced over 3 million beads. The women earn a fair wage that allows them, to provide for their families. Which is a pretty huge deal.
If that’s not cool enough, did I mentions that the shoes are rather gorgeous too? Well they are.
Freewaters – If easy going care free (yup, surfer style) is your deal. And you like the thought of people having clean water all over the globe, check out Freewaters.
Not only are the shoes simple and cool. But each pair comes with a lifetime warranty, and a percentage of each sale goes directly to fund their water projects. And when they say water projects, they have built over 15 wells in rural Kenya (actually it might be 30 wells by now), and the funds go through the very small and grassroots organization, UntilThen.com
Check out how the wells are made. It’s pretty enlightening. And it’s good to learn something new each day.
If you can’t tell by the pic. I wear my slip-ons a lot. And I mean, a LOT.
Indosole – Some of the best looking sandals around…also are made from repurposed tires in Bali. But wait…there’s more to the repurposed tires than you think. By finding a way to repurpose these tires, Indosole has saved thousands of tires from overflowing and overcrowded Indonesian landfills. I know, the thought of overflowing landfills in Bali makes me sad too. The math is simple: The more tires they save, the more rad shoes they make (yeah!), which means less is going into these landfills.
Such a great equation. And such rad shoes.
If anyone is wondering, repurposed tires from Bali make one helluva comfy sole.
Teysha – These shoes from Teysha literally start a big ‘ol positive ripple effect in Guatemala. They help give local artisans a living wage to support their families, which also supports the tradition of boot making deeply rooted in this community. And by community, they mean community: “The leather comes from Guatemalan tanneries that source the hides from Mexico and El Salvador. Our soling leather is made by a woman-owned business about a mile away from our workshop. Our rubber protectors for the shoes come from a Guatemalan company using natural, local Guatemalan rubber. Our shoe laces, eyelets, labels, brands, lasts – everything – are purchased from local Guatemalan small businesses! The textiles we use are purchased directly from women in Guatemala, Panama, Colombia and more.” Word.
Plus, if you go on Teysha’s website, they say “If you are ever in Guatemala, we’d love to have you come and visit!”…don’t mind if I do.
You can do either made to order custom shoes, or pick from ready to made ones. It’s a win win happy feet situation.
It’s official. Shoes can make the world a better place.