I average one shoe purchase every 18 months and it’s usually in boot form. I love leather boots, they tend to be long lasting and given my tendency to be fairly hard on footwear and the terrain in which I frequent, I opt for steel caps for even longer life and toe protection. I use leather work boots as a walking boot… and whatever else I can get away with :).
As mentioned in my article on leather and the environment, while it’s a natural material, how the leather is treated may be far from natural or ideal – not to mention how the animal that provided the leather may have been treated also.
UK company Hi-Tec have recently launched the Altitude IV WPi NT Enviro range of ladies, men’s and kids’ walking boots; products they say are the beginning of an important journey for the company – a small but greener step in the right direction.
Some of the features of the Altitude IV WPi NT Enviro
- Recycled steel shank containing 90% post consumer waste
- Recycled rubber outsole containing 15% post consumer waste
- Injection Molded EVA: a greener way to work with a cushioning material leaving less waste
- Recycled EVA content sock liner
- Uppers constructed using water based adhesives
- Reduced chrome leathers (chromium is a heavy metal used in tanning leather)
- Nature Tex 50/50 lining. made from 50% recycled plastic bottles
The boot box is made from 80% recycled cardboard and the inks used to print the box are soy based.
The cardboard swing tag is produced from 100% recycled, wild flower seeded paper – which means if you plant it, it will grow flowers (suited to the UK). That aspect is bit cheesy perhaps, but it’s better than a plastic tag and at least it has a tie to environmental stewardship.
I think the thing to bear in mind is the company’s own words: “small but greener steps in the right direction” – so they are acknowledging the Altitude Enviro walking boot is not the pinnacle of environmentally friendly footwear, but is walking along that path (excuse the pun).
As for price – around 85 British pounds for the adults sizes, which is around $136 USD or AUD at current exchange rates. The kids sizes are around half that.
I don’t think that’s too much to ask for a good adult walking boot if it’s a solid boot – a pair would need to pass the GLT test of course for me to confirm ;).
As for the kids’ sizes pricing, it’s always difficult when it comes to footwear as children grow out of shoes so fast. I guess for active kids that are particularly hard on their shoes, and assuming the Altitude IV WPi NT Enviro could stand up to the abuse, it could be considered quite reasonable.
It’s good to see shoe companies working towards greener products. However, the issue of leather can be a polarising one in the environmental scene, so of the idea of animal leather is totally repugnant to you, and that is certainly understandable, there are what are referred to as “vegan” alternatives. I’ll look at some of those in the time ahead.