shoes

The Moral Wardrobe: Sporting

synergy organic clothing and OESH shoessynergy organic clothing and OESH shoesOESH Athena Sandals made in Charlottesville, VAsynergy organic clothing and OESH shoes Ethical Details: Dress - c/o Synergy Organic Clothing; Athena Sandals - c/o OESH Shoes

It may come as no surprise to you, but I'm not much of an athlete. In high school, I was (much to my surprise) recruited for cross country by my PE coach, but I chose vocal ensemble and the high school pageant as my sports instead. Don't get me wrong: I believe in the value of exercise, I just prefer to get it through my daily work tasks. That's a major perk of working in retail. There's always something to lift and push, and plenty of opportunity for extensive walking. 

Despite my lack of interest in gyms, I quite enjoy the athletic-inspired details on this Synergy dress from last summer and my new OESH sandals. Both items are wearable, relatively versatile, and make me feel confident. Fun fact: the soles on my shoes were 3-D printed on machines fabricated by a group of badass women here in Charlottesville. I'll be doing an extended feature on the company soon. 

an ethical outfit: anytime, anywhere

ethicaloutfit



I've been waiting for Everlane's breton stripe tee to be made available for what feels like forever. I bought a J. Crew striped top 3 years ago and it's really starting to show wear, so I'm so happy to have found an ethical and well made replacement. 

This outfit is my comfort zone: basics with simple jewelry and patterned bag. I'd be happy wearing it anywhere. 

The duster-style cardigan is currently on clearance at Nomads for $24.37 USD, if you're interested.

tradesy: secondhand shoes galore


I know that the thought of wearing used shoes makes some people nauseous, but I've never taken issue with it. In fact, probably 1/3 of the shoes I own are secondhand. In a consumer culture dominated by 5-week trend cycles, people are doomed to impulse buy, which leaves a lot of gently used stuff on the secondhand market to trawl through.

I've typically thrifted or searched ebay to find secondhand shoes, but the popularity of online shopping has resulted in all sorts of new places to shop for secondhand goods.

I discovered Tradesy over the weekend. It's a mashup between the Ebay/Etsy, direct-from-the-seller approach and more curated sites like thredup and Twice. Basically, an individual lists items, which are placed both within their personal shop and within the larger marketplace. Once an item sells, the Tradesy team processes the order and sends the seller packaging materials, which the seller then uses to ship the item to the customer. Items ship free and returns are free, as well.

Tradesy's setup isn't perfect. Items that sell out are delayed from removal while the site waits to confirm the order with the seller, which means the customer has to scroll through a lot of extraneous listings to find something she can actually buy. But they're the best I've found when it comes to shoes. Prices tend to fall in ebay ranges with the advantage of avoiding the auction and having your item ship free.

clarks + soul of africa


soulofafricashoes



soulofafricashoes by fracturedradiance on Polyvore

I stopped into Clarks on my walk through the forsaken corridors of our local indoor mall, thinking maybe I'd invest in a pair of their classic little elf shoes. The price tag caught me off guard (and they were out of my size), but I noticed a flyer for Soul of Africa on the display that piqued my interest.

It turns out that Clarks has an ongoing relationship with fair trade company, Soul of Africa, which employs people in need, particularly women, thereby offering living wages and greater stability. Additionally, all proceeds are given to charities and organizations that enrich and support African orphans.

As far as I can tell, only styles labeled Soul of Africa directly support the organization. My store only offered a leather mule from the line, but there are more styles available online. You can also peruse independent Soul of Africa designs, but you'll have to locate a stockist when you're ready to make a purchase.

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TOMS: taking another look

toms

I was initially put off by TOMS' business model because it seemed that they were really just in it for personal gain; when you pay $40.00+ for shoes that won't last more than a couple seasons, you better hope that people are getting more than one pair of substandard shoes. But I have to give them credit for creating a more ethical, charity-minded business model that has since been copied by dozens of companies.

And they've really improved since the last time I perused the site. They still give shoes, but they've also created jobs that provide a living wage, donate to various charitable organizations, and feature like-minded companies in their marketplace. These improvements make me feel better about backing them.

toms



toms by fracturedradiance featuring TOMS

When TOMS first came on the scene, I was worried that their model was just another advertising angle. But recent changes make it clear that they really do intend to positively and sustainably impact the world - by spreading awareness, creating jobs, providing resources, and building up others. Good for them!

Do you like TOMS? I owned a pair a couple years ago; they were comfortable, but the quality was so-so.
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