Literally stepping into someone else’s shoes!

So what do you think of this?

Vivobarefoot, London are launching a programme wherein they will work with The Boot Repair Company to give their old shoes a new lease of life. The idea is to remove as many as possible from going into landfill. You can read about it here:,1231835.html

Personally I think this is a fantastic idea! It might make you baulk at putting your feet into shoes that have been worn by others, but we need to get over this, and they’ll be thoroughly cleaned and sterilised before reselling.

My own shoe habits are generally that I buy old favourites (Fly, DM, Art), brands that fit well on my feet, that I wear to death, but even then…they split, I glue them and they split again, so I landfill them…what else do I do with them? I do love shoes too, boots and sandals in particular they are my downfall, but with weird feet, I can’t buy cheap crap (hoorah!) Occasionally I’ve been known to impulse buy (particularly when I was younger) and then end up with a brand new pair that hurt my feet and I admire them from afar but they just collect dust rather than mileage! I have on the odd occasion repurposed some, in particular my student DM’s come to mind hanging in one house as a plant pot, but eventually even they reach that life. So in recent years, old shoes that are still wearable have ended up at a charity shop or in a charity shoe bin or, in the case of the kids when they were young, given to friends or family with children of similar age. Of course, even if they’re worn out by family members in round two, they will still end up in the landfill, and that then removes all responsibility and guilt from owner number 1 who thinks they’ve done a great thing by passing them to charity which they have, but until the shoe economy becomes entirely circular, owner number one needs to know that they actually have more responsibility than owner two or three because they bought them new in the first place – savvy??

Many years ago we used to have a little cobbler’s in the town where I grew up. My mum would take in my ballet shoes, school shoes etc for him to fix the soles, sew on patches to make them go more years and we didn’t bat an eyelid; shoes were expensive and therefore you made them last. These days they are so cheap that you can buy them in certain shops for under a tenner and they’ll last until you count to 10 too! I wish there were more little independent cobblers. I know there are chains of shoe repair shops, but this guy could fix ANYTHING shoe like, he didn’t have to stick to a manual of what someone in a head office manual deemed fixable or not.

I’m pretty sure that this won’t entirely remove Vivobarefoot shoes from landfill, but it looks more at making products that can be put into a circular economy –

a.make new

b. buy new,

c. send back at end of life number 1

d. get repaired,

e. resold for life number 2.

f. buy second hand and return to point c…

Eventually there will be a break in that line, perhaps it will be the owner who can’t be bothered to send back or perhaps it will be the fact they are beyond repair? However, for each cycle that’s one less pair of shoes at point “a” (make new), so there has to be some good in this, even if it is so much that it starts a trend with other shoe companies.

One of the hardest places I tend to go when I write these environmental posts is that for the possibility of change we need to have support at the top. We need to have people in power who feel as passionately as we do, people who actually have the power to change things and force the hand of the companies. We still need to write to government, we need to NOT buy things and boycott/change our shopping habits as consumers collectively and this will get us someway towards, but we need the likes of those with money or power or clout to start DOING something that will really affect change.

You might want to check out here if you are looking to buy shoes and want to do it ethically.

Other places you might want to look at if you need to buy new shoes and want to support small independent businesses are

Green Shoes look fantastic! Expensive, yes, but made to fit your foot! They also run courses which look incredible – I shall put one of these on my retirement bucket list! If anyone has a pair of boots from here or knows where I might be able to find a pair second hand, please let me know!

The Shandal Company: I have just purchased a pair from here. Sandals are the one thing with my stupid feet that I find quite uncomfortable with straps and bars, these are again, handmade and soft leather and made to fit my feet. Again, not cheap, but for a handmade pair of sandals that should last me until I go out, that probably works out at about 0.017p per wear if I wear them for half the year for the next 50 of my life 😉

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