Go Green: The Sole Solution—Making Shoes Sustainable
Text by Catharine Livingston; Photographs courtesy of Mountain Soles
In many ways, 2008 was a banner year for eco-friendly footwear. Brooks launched the world's first biodegradable midsole. END Footwear opened its doors as perhaps the first performance shoe company dedicated entirely to green kicks. Heck, even Payless announced its first eco line. But for all the buzz surrounding glue-free construction and recycled-rubber outsoles, relatively little attention was paid to what might be the greenest shoe story of all: Cobbling.
We broached this subject last October in an article about the greening of footwear, and as I edited the piece, one particular quote struck me harder than the rest. It came from Vasque's product manager Brian Hall: "Hardly anyone resoles their hiking boots anymore—the art has gone away."
Bit by bit, outdoor footwear brands are warming up to the idea of creating more cobbler-friendly trail shoes. In that same interview, Hall hinted that Vasque might be bringing back some more old-school durability into future lines. And just last month, Patagonia announced an exclusive partnership with Mountain Soles, a Portland, Oregon-based outdoor footwear repair shop that now offers services for several of Patagonia's spring styles.
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