October 30, 2013

Is the leather in your shoes Chrome-Free?

Sorry if this blog is not your cup of tea. 

Whether you are a shopaholic or just buy out of necessity, we don’t often have the chance to know all there is to know about the fashionable garment we are about to purchase. A revolution is underway within our Food industry; now you can understand that a sandwich (for example) contains a certain amount of fat or calories and be well-informed about its ingredients thanks to a colour-coded dial and in depth labelling. Or maybe you spot a symbol such as Fairtrade or Organic, which in many cases ‘would do’ as an instant stamp of approval.

And what about our clothing and footwear? Their contents can’t be as important as food, right?

Hmmm… You may not realise what kind of stuff actually goes in your shoes until your feet perspire or get wet one day. You may notice your feet turn a bit brown or blue, you may even develop a rash. This is just one example of your feet being exposed to the cocktail of chemicals often found in shoes; from solvent-based glues, petroleum-based components, to toxic leathers. These residues could be heavy metals such as Mercury, Lead, Chromium and Arsenic, which are potentially carcinogenic.

And if this doesn’t sounds scary enough, our relatives in developing countries are taking the biggest hit… 

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, at least 95% of leather produced worldwide is tanned using Chromium, an incredibly harmful chemical to the people working with it and to waterways. Most leathers are produced in developing countries like Bangladesh and India, where environmental standards are far too relaxed. Chemically tanned leather is quick to produce, and it caters for the demand of cheap leather goods in the west. 

Beyond just being a local issue, Chromium has been identified as the 4th worst pollution problem in the world!

Please remember this next time you buy leather shoes; go on don’t be a fart, buy smart! We must pause and think outside our own backyard; we ought to question the shops and the brands about where their leather comes from and how it was produced.

Or simply look them straight in the eyes and ask: Is the leather in your shoes Chrome-free? 

And what do you think would be our answer here at Po-Zu? You bet!

We find the implications of using toxic substances horrific and beyond just caring about our leathers, we look into every single component in our shoes. We like to ensure that all the materials are safe for all the workers throughout our supply chain and kind to the environment.

We use Natural Latex in our soles as opposed to the usual petroleum-based Rubber, and Coconut Husk foot-mattress as opposed to the usual petroleum-based foot-bed. You won’t find any harsh glue in our products either, as we stitch all the components together, which make our shoes more breathable, durable, and repairable.

People often say “but your shoes are so expensive”, to which we say "NOT REALLY, most other shoes are too cheap"!

May good soles be with you.

Further reading: http://www.bettershoes.org/introduction/