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Green(er) Casual Shoes and Bags

by Alicia MacLeay
June 15, 2007

It’s often conveniently forgotten that much of the outdoor gear we use and wear is made with petroleum and toxic chemicals that threaten the Earth and its climate. While green technical gear is still relatively scarce, many outdoor gear companies are bringing more environmentally-friendly technologies and materials to market in their casual lines. Below are a few examples of casual accessories in this growing greener gear trend:


Urban Bags

Keen Hybrid.Transport
In July footwear company Keen will introduce a collection of multipurpose Hybrid.Transport daypacks and computer and urban bags. The 13 bags and packs ($40 to $125) will feature 100-percent recycled aluminum hardware made from discarded shoe molds. Excess rubber trimmed from Keen outsoles during production will be recycled into protective cushioning features used on the bags.

Osprey ReSource Series
This fall Osprey will launch its ReSource Series, a collection of four daypacks and two courier bags built almost entirely from recycled materials (a minimum of 70 percent recycled materials by content, 80 percent by weight). While the ReSource Series is designed for urban outings, expect to see Osprey expand recycled components into its more technical pack lines in coming seasons. Read more>>

SealLine, makers of waterproof drybags and duffels, has created a new Urban line of PVC (polyvinyl chloride)-free bags, packs, and accessories. The line includes the Urban Backpack with roll-top ($119.95), Urban Tote with watertight convertible roll-top ($59.95 small, $69.95 large), and Urban Shoulder Bag for all-weather commuting ($149.95 small, $169.95 large).

Timbuk2 went completely PVC-free with its entire 2007 spring/summer line. The company removed the PVC liner and other PVC components, like the essential reflector tabs and tails, from all products. A new crop of hemp bags will appear in mid-January of 2008.

Casual Footwear

Keen Ventura
Keen’s Ventura offers a classic sneaker design in organic cotton canvas. The Ventura has a non-marking natural rubber outsole for traction, protective toe bumper, and removable footbed built with cork and hemp that molds to the shape of your foot.

Available in men's and women's sizes
Weight: 14.8 oz (men's), 12.3 oz (women's)
MSRP: $60

Lafuma Pure Leaf Collection
After the success of the Kenema, Lafuma’s first eco-designed technical hiking boot, Lafuma expanded its eco-design to all of its footwear lines. Shoes in the Pure Leaf Collection use foam from recycled polyester and have uppers made of hemp or vegetable tanned leather, a hemp or vegetable tanned leather lining, and a natural rubber sole.

The Khumo has a tanned Nubuck upper and tanned leather lining made without VI chromium (a highly toxic compound), a natural rubber sole, and removable footbeds of tanned leather (also made without VI chromium or latex).

Available in men’s sizes
MSRP: $99.95

Greenley 2
The Greenley 2 has a textile and hemp upper, cotton canvas lining, removable footbed of tanned leather (made without VI chromium or latex), and a natural rubber sole.

Available in men’s sizes
MSRP: $74.95

Mion, which debuted its amphibious performance footwear only a year ago, is committed to eliminating its own contribution to climate change. The company attains a 98 percent material efficiency for the majority of its products, which means only two percent of materials used end up as waste, thanks to its pellet-to-part injection molded EVA manufacturing process. That’s 90 percent less waste than the traditional process and Mion is working toward 100 percent efficiency.

Slack Tide Thong
Available in men's and women's sizes
Weight: 11 oz (men's), 9 oz (women's)
MSRP: $80

Pen Shell Clog
Available in men's, women's, and kids' sizes
Weight: 10.4 oz (men's), 8.7 oz (women's)
MSRP: $95

Shagashellic Clog
Available in men's and women's sizes
Weight: 10.4 oz (men's), 8.7 oz (women's)
MSRP: $110

Patagonia Footwear
The shoes in Patagonia’s new footwear line feature uppers made of organic cotton, hemp, and non-toxically tanned leather, recycled rubber EcoStep soles from Vibram, and footbeds of 70 percent recycled Polio foam. Below are just three examples from the line of approach shoes, hiking and fishing boots, and casual footwear.

A walkabout shoe in soft, supple leather, the Cedar has a grippy hevea-based latex sole molded in a distinctive beehive pattern and a wide toe box for an easy fit. It scrunches up for easy packing and its leather laces are made from scrap.

Available in men’s sizes
Weight: 20 oz (567 g)
MSRP: $110

A slide with a soft leather upper and natural jute trim, the Clover also has a compression-molded EVA foam midsole with recycled content and outsole that uses 70% hevea-based latex.

Available in women’s sizes
Weight: 12 oz (340 g)
MSRP: $90

These leather sneakers afford cushioning and support for all-day comfort and feature leather that meets strict ISO-14001 standards, 15% recycled EVA insoles, outsoles with up to 20% recycled rubber, and hemp laces.

Available in men's and women’s sizes
Weight: men's 24 oz (680 g), women's 22 oz (624 g)
MSRP: $90

Teva Curbside Collection
The casual shoes in Teva’s Curbside collection, available August of 2007, contain post-consumer recycled materials totaling 30-40 percent (expect that percentage to double for 2008) and are built from reclaimed rubber outsoles and plastic bottle (PET) linings.

The Teva Curbside Collection includes four urban styles for women (Keagan, Makayla, Quinn, and Ryley) and two styles for men (Keagan and Ryley).