How Circular Fashion Helps Create Shoes From Recycled Materials

13 million tons of clothing are discarded by Americans each year. This piles up in landfills and is such a waste. It's certainly not a sustainable way for us to move forward as a country and as a worldwide community. The concept of circular fashion aims to slow or end this problem. Although there are many different ways to apply the idea of circular fashion to the fashion industry, one area in which it really seems to be taking off is in footwear. Shoes made from recycled materials are becoming more and more popular. Read on to learn more about circular fashion and the ways the footwear industry is taking the lead in the application of this exciting concept.

What is Circular Fashion?

Circular fashion is the wave of the future. If you haven't heard this term before, circular fashion is a growing trend. It focuses on keeping the fashion industry sustainable by cutting clothing waste. So many of the clothing items designed and sold today are for short-term use. Often, clothing isn't made very well because many manufacturers and designers encourage throwaway culture. The promotion of short-lived and ever-changing fashion trends perpetuates this. Unfortunately, this results in perfectly good clothing being thrown away in the trash. Most of it will sit in a landfill for decades or centuries to come. Furthermore, the creation of new clothing to replace the discarded clothing will result in negative production effects on the natural environment due to the burning of fossil fuels to both create it and transport it.

How Does It Work?

Circular fashion aims to reduce this practice through a number of different methods. First, consumers should be encouraged to buy high-quality, timeless clothing. The should use pieces that they can use, wear, and enjoy for years instead of cheap, flimsy clothing designed to reflect current trends. Further, clothing that does go out of style or that is damaged should be repurposed, redesigned, or repaired as needed to extend its use. Many environmentally-friendly designers today take existing clothing and "upcycle" it to make it new again. Clothing that is repurposed in this way can enjoy a new life with a new owner and wearer as a result of a little added creative flair. Clothes that are no longer enjoyed or needed should be donated rather than thrown away. Americans currently only donate about 15% of the clothing they decide they no longer want to use; 85% goes into a landfill. Finally, circular fashion can also start right in the hands of the manufacturer. More and more clothing companies are beginning to move towards using sustainable materials to make their clothing. Clothing items made from recycled fabric or other recycled materials are also beginning to emerge on the scene. When applied broadly, the above principles of circular fashion will create big and positive changes around the world.

What About Shoes?

According to the Department of the Interior, Americans throw away over 300 million pairs of shoes each year. The current population of the United States is 331 million people, so that's almost one pair of shoes per person. In a landfill, shoes can take thirty to forty years to decompose. Shoes with thick, rubber soles like boots can take even longer; in some cases, they may stay in the landfill for eighty years or more. Today, more and more shoe manufacturers are taking action to help reduce the literal footprint of shoe waste on the earth. Companies like Saola, Indosole, Oka-B, Melissa and others are putting a focus on designing and producing shoes made from recycled materials. In doing so, they are keeping trash out of landfills worldwide. Read on to learn all about the ways different manufacturers are applying the principles of circular fashion. They are making new shoes for their customers while creating little or no new waste.


Many different companies are finding it easy to create the upper portion of their shoes with recycled materials. Every day about eight million pieces of plastic pollution make their way into our oceans. Even more plastic pollution is discarded on land around the world and only nine percent of it ends up being recycled. Shoe manufacturers see this issue and hope to make at least some impact in using some of this plastic in their products. Using plastic water bottles, discarded plastic fishing nets, and other post-consumer recycled plastic, companies use a variety of methods to create fabrics and materials that can be cut and stitched into flexible, comfortable, and fashionable shoe uppers.


Many companies also create durable soles and bottoms of their shoes from recycled materials as well. Using things like recycled cotton, rubber, cork, and nets, they can press them together into shoe lowers and bottoms. These can last consumers many years of enjoyment, comfort, and use.


Some companies also take their sustainability efforts a few steps further. Not only do they design and create shoes that were made from recycled materials, but they also use recycled materials in their packaging. Using recycled paper and plastic for the boxes in which they send their shoes to stores and home with the people who buy them. This also demonstrates their dedication to decreasing waste and to protect the natural world.

Buy Shoes Made from Recycled Materials

These are just a few of the many shoes made from recycled materials that are on the market right now, and more are being released on a regular basis. Hopefully, the footwear industry will continue to make sustainable choices with the concepts of circular fashion in mind. You can be a part of the solution by buying shoes made from recycled materials when you shop and by encouraging others to do the same. Together we can make a difference. If you are interested in buying shoes like those described above, check out the rest of our site. We have a wide variety of options available and can't wait to serve you as we work together for a better world. If you have any questions, please contact us today.