Style, sturdiness and sustainability
I vividly remember my first pair of sturdy winter boots that I bought with my own hard-earned money in the mid 90s. They were brown suede hiking-style lace-ups (well, probably faux suede, given what I would have paid for them) with a chunky commando sole. I loved wearing them with long skirts or chunky tights and vintage corduroy minis – the latter was the preferred look for me and my friend Maria on a school trip to Paris when we were 17. Even with retrospect, I reckon we looked great!
I wore the boots when we went out on a ‘date walk’ with a couple of dutch boys we’d met there, chaperoned a few metres behind by our concerned and comfortingly responsible teacher. Unfortunately, one of our dates trod on the heel of my beloved boots; it stayed on the pavement and the upper part of the boot carried on walking with me. Needless to say, the date was aborted and I came to the swift conclusion that I would save up and pay for better quality boots in the future. Although my dad managed to super glue the sole back on when I got home, the boots didn’t last much longer and went to the great boot graveyard in the sky (or, more accurately, they probably went to a massive fast fashion graveyard in the Global South where they still haven’t biodegraded, if we’re honest).
Anyway. They were not good boots.
Good boots are hard enough to find before you throw sustainability into the mix too, so I thought it was about time I found some pairs to recommend to you. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I have been wearing the same winter boots for years – they’re not necessarily sustainable, so I’m not including them here. Instead, here’s a round-up of brands making more responsible winter warmers.
I was already a fan of Beaumont Organic, so I was thrilled to learn that it was bringing out its first collection of shoes this season. Ethically made in Portugal, they’re made from Gold Certified Italian leather, recycled cotton and rubber, and Ecovero, which is a sustainable viscose. Choose from the Sienna Derby boots that I am wearing (top: PR gift), which are available in beige suede or black leather and are insanely comfortable, or the Milan Chelsea boots in black or brown leather. The collection also includes Derby shoes and trainers.
This brand is new to me this year, and although I don’t own a pair myself, I tried out a borrowed pair when I ran a giveaway earlier this year and I was super impressed with how comfy they are. Made from some recycled materials, including recycled rubber, as well as natural rubber and cork, the Magda style with track sole is available in four colours. Good luck choosing – they’re all really nice!
Timberland has been busy recycling plastic bottles since way before it was A Thing, and as a result has a really great selection of better boots. This pair has linings and laces made from 50% recycled materials and Greenstride soles, which are made from 75% sugar cane and natural rubber. I’m a big fan of a white boot, but if you want something more subtle these also come in black, green and two shades of brown.
With its innovative on-demand production model, Alohas is a brand taking a stand on over consumption, because it only makes what it is confident it will sell, thanks to the insights from its customers. Products launch initially as a pre-order with 30% off for early birds, and these orders help to determine how many pairs should go into production. Once they’re being made, the discount drops to 15% and finally, when they start shipping, you can buy them at full price. The brand also guarantees fair labour and doesn’t use toxic materials.
£109 Early Bird price (alohas.io)