By Hillary Newman
I’ve always been a runner- or at least I was until I ‘ran’ into knee trouble a few years ago. Now, you could call me an elipicalist. While VH1′s I Love the 90s always gears me up for a sweaty workout, there is nothing I crave more than opening my front door and taking off. So when I learned about a new shoe technology developed to help runners, I did a little investigating.
Terra Plana, an ethical shoe company, created Vivobarefoot – a shoe line that is designed to achieve the benefits of walking and running barefoot. Upon hearing about these shoes, I immediately thought about my childhood, a time when I embraced a shoeless lifestyle. However, after a bit more research, I discovered that the benefits of being barefoot might surpass the freedom I has as toddler. Join me on my quest to learn more about Vivobarefoot and Terra Plana as I interview the owner, Galahad Clark.
In a nutshell, what is the argument supporting the Vivobarefoot technology?
Quite simple actually – walking barefoot is good for you.
Vivobarefoot has an ultra thin puncture resistant sole that gives the protection of normal shoes and all the benefits of walking barefoot – including the natural alignment of one’s posture.
How do you describe the person who wears Terra Plana shoes?
They might not know where they are going, but they know the way.
What are some or your favorite eco-friendly materials used to produce Terra Plana shoes?
Mesh from recycled pet bottles
Vegetable tan leather
Quilts from the swami tribe in northern Pakistan
Recycled e-max – ultra lightweight abrasion resistant soling material
Duratex in the Vivobarefoot shoes
Terra Plana has stores all over the world, including New York, Vienna and Ljubjilana to name a few. How has living and breathing in so many diverse places influenced Terra Plana?
Sustainability is a global issue and we learn so much and are inspired by different areas and partners around the world…
In your opinion, how can the retail industry produce more sustainably?
Produce less, but also more consumer education and training of staff to engage with consumers.
It is a very complex issue with many angles and layers (1000 ways to skin the eco-shoe)
Ultimately there should be a labeling system that creates transparency inspired by life cycle analysis. This will either be led by a government body or an industry group.
Companies like Nike and Timberland are leading the way at the moment in the shoe industry, but not many people truly comprehend the efforts they are making yet.
Any words of advice for the novice designer?
Keep things simple.
Create concept and identity.
Try to make a product beautiful from the inside and out.
Sustainable design is really just good design: The products function, are beautiful, efficient, relevant, durable, timeless.
(just like a successful part of the eco system if a product is none of the above then it won’t survive long and will go extinct)
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