Friday, August 28, 2009

Good Down To Your Toes

There’s big business from the ankles down. And there may be no easier area for Joe shopper to do something good. It's almost freaky how many shoe companies are making the world a better place.

As I've mentioned before on this blog, you can look at the world-of-good as split into two camps: those that ARE good, and those that DO good.

Brooks running shoes made a shoe that IS good. What I mean is, they’re making the world a better place by the way they build (one of) their shoes. It’s called The Green Silence, and it's a high-performance marathon shoe made out of recycled plastic bottles, sofa foam, and CDs (pictured). It’s got pretty damn good green credentials. (NYTimes’ Green Blog covered it HERE.)

Similarly, Simple Shoes (“Shoes for a Happy Planet”) has long been the hipster’s purveyor of recycled and earth-friendly shoes. (I bought a pair off not long ago, and let me tell you, they kick the crap out of Converse All-Stars.)

Puma is taking the other approach. Rather than greening their operations, they’re helping those in need. They put on a shoe exchange program (with Soles4Souls) – bring in any pair of shoes, deposit them in them in the bin at the store and receive 30% off your purchase. The used shoes are given to charity. (June/July 2009)

Likewise, there’s the ugliest shoes (slippers, more like it) on earth, Toms Shoes. Their tagline is, “One for One”. Like Soles4Souls, they give a pair of shoes to those who need ‘em for every pair they sell. They've built their whole business on it. (More on Toms, HERE.)

Footwear is a mature market, rife with parity. So some smart companies are acting out to differentiate themselves, and do something people can get behind. Want to save the environment? There’s a shoe out there for you. Want to help the shoeless? Just buy this brand and it’s done.

This segment is leading with their good foot. The rest of the body is sure to catch up.

* Inappropriate footnote: the Soles4Souls tagline is, “Changing the World, One Pair at a Time.” Which is funny, if you have a dirty mind like me. More about them, HERE. I'm reading: Good Down To Your ToesTweet this!

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