Old love/New Love.
Actually, these shoes aren't that old. I am just very good at wearing out shoes quickly. (Or the best at buying low quality shoes). I fell in love with moccasins when my Radical Journey Teammate, Connie, let me borrow hers occasionally. (It was awesome to live with someone who wore the same shoe size as me. That never happens). When I got back to the States, I was determined to get some for my own feet.
I bought the featured pair in Black Mountain, NC, after months of pining away for them. I practically wore them every single day since.
However, they are majorly falling apart (though you cannot tell from this photo). The time came (and passed) to buy new ones.
If you know me, you know that I love fair trade items. My senior year of college, I made the promise that I would try and only buy fair trade jewelry (or get it second hand) from here on out. I've done pretty good (minus one owl ring exception) with that dedication. It helps me more purposeful and mindful of what I am buying. It also helps me consume less.
The more finically secure I become, the more I would like to expand this fair trade life-style. But it's pretty tricky when there are very little options to buy shoes that comes with a known, fair origin. I like Tom's, but they are not fair trade and actually I know nothing about how and where they are made. Did the workers get a fair wage?
All of this is exhausting to think about when all I want is to buy some shoes to keep my feet dry during a downpour.
However, a few months ago I saw that one of my facebook friends posted something about her new shoes from SoleRebels. They are actually the world's first fair-trade shoe footwear and have one of the best ethos around. (Check it out). They believe in putting the worker first (and creating jobs for people where there were none previous); they believe in creating earth-friendly products; they believe in combing cultural styles with latest trends. Really, does it get better than that for a shoe?
Every shoe is handcrafted in Ethiopia, so they took a little while to get to rural Kansas (like 6 weeks). But it was worth the wait... and the price, (which falls a little bit more than Tom's).
After work today, I went for a walk in them around the house to test them and so far so good. They might not be moccasins but they definitely have credibility. I'm excited to love these shoes too.
*Did you know that MCC's Material Resource Warehouse in North Newton, Kansas recycle old shoes that are too worn to sell or give away? Well they do. They get shipped to a place in Baltimore that strips them down for the different materials. So don't throw those old, nasty shoes away. Recycle them.