It’s that time of year when your favourite bloggers and influencers share their Christmas gift ideas and I thought I would join in on the fun with my Ultimate Sustainable Gift Guide Part 1.
Over the next few weeks you’ll find my Ultimate Sustainable Gift Guide listing some of my favourite eco-friendly gifts (some I own, some I want to own…hint hint). Now, ideally we should be cutting down our consumption of plastic based goods (there’s no debating that we produce and dump too much plastic), but it is Christmas and all the gifts in my ultimate sustainable gift guide are good to give. You’ll be helping to save the planet (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) and supporting the development of sustainable products and alternative materials.
So, get yourself comfy, and get ready to fall in love with shoes that won’t leave a carbon footprint, athletic wear that isn’t fast, soaps that won’t greenwash, and books that won’t read you the riot act, but will provide you with more insight into why we all need to act now.
When it comes to trainers, my personal collection has diminished over the years, as my running days became numbered and since I started to consider not just how good my trainers looked but also how they were made. It’s been encouraging to see more and more brands pledging their support to more eco-friendly and more ethical means of production. Many of the household brands, such as adidas (read my adidas blog here), are using ocean bound plastic in their manufacturing, but I want to highlight to you the brands that are truly making waves.
The first is UNLESS Collective with their “The Degenerate” Shoes. These are claimed to be the best shoes for the planet and it is hard to disagree. I have them on order for release in January, but what makes The Degenerate special and my number one pick?
Obviously, they look good, but it’s not a matter of style over substance. The Degenerates are made from plants and minerals and contain no plastic or petrochemicals. If that’s not good enough, it’s what happens to them once you’ve walked enough miles in them. Return them to the UNLESS Collective and they will ensure that they are decomposed and returned back to the earth in the form of soil products. This is circular fashion at its finest. From the earth and to the earth, and at $130 they won’t cost you the earth. UNLESS sells all manner of sustainable clothing, but click here for more information about The Degenerate.
The Wool Dasher Mizzle
Before I was won over by The Degenerate, I almost pressed the buy button on these Allbirds Wool Dasher Mizzle shoes (sale items are currently flying off the shelves). I still might, but I am trying to cut down on my shoe buying, remember.
As well as using recycled plastic bottles to make the shoe laces, Allbirds uses ZQ Certified Merino wool, sugar cane based EVA, natural rubber and even castor bean based foam to make a carbon neutral waterproof running shoe. Yes, even the water repellent coating is bio-based and fluorine free. With Glasgow’s drizzle, the Mizzle is still on my wish list. Check out the Allbirds sale page where you can buy a pair of Allbirds for a song.
The Blue Phoenix
A return to Copenhagen might be on the cards next year. No, my marathon running isn’t rising from the ashes (have I ever mentioned that I ran the Copenhagen marathon?). Instead I might be accompanying my partner who might be presenting at a medical conference. If we do go, I will be coming home with a pair of Vaer’s Blue Phoenix.
These stunning trainers use strong materials, including cut offs of jeans and tablecloths, recycled rubber and cotton, and natural fibers to make durable shoes that stand the test of time. Ideally the soles of these will be replaced when needed adding more years to their use.
While brands like Veja and Cariuma are notable omissions with low carbon emissions, my last pick are TOMS’ Carlo trainers. Over the years, I have bought my girlfriend TOMS’ Alps for our summer holidays in the Alps but I’ve recently been made aware of their efforts not only to improve the sustainability of their shoes but also their ethical approach. Sustainability isn’t just about zero plastic production, it’s also about the economic impact of production. TOMS are committed to donating one third of their profits to community projects, with a focus on mental health, gun violence, and on supporting marginalised groups.
TOMS have created an Earthwise collection “rooted in earth-friendly materials and processes” which include The Carlo above. Using bio-based EVA and plant based dyes, TOMS have vowed to slash their environmental impact by 2025. The clock is ticking, but they are making major changes and this has to be applauded.
And that clock is ticking for us all. It is estimated that by 2050 that there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. One way we can prevent this is by buying less plastic goods and buying more sustainable products. If you are in the market for a new pair of trainers, please do have a look at the suggestions above in my Ultimate Sustainable Gift Guide Part 1 and look out for Part 2 on the best eco-friendly clothing.