Monday, February 7, 2011

Eco Friendly Shoes - Are Consumers Buying Them

By Carl Fraser

Now that many brands of shoes are offering Eco-Friendly ranges of their products, are consumers willing to change their buying habits to help the environment?

The manufacture of footwear does have an impact on the environment. The sourcing of raw materials, bleaching used and other parts of the manufacturing process can all be harmful. Plus, once you've finished wearing the shoes, disposal can also be a big issue.

These, together with the sheer number of shoes consumers are now buying, and the transportation of them around the World, all add up to making some brands of shoes very non-eco.

The previously nice market of eco-friendly shoes is now joined by some leading brands, who offer these alongside their traditional ranges. These often use FSC-certified rubber and materials such as organic cotton, and colour the shoes using non-bleaching processes.

Inevitably, due to the extra processes involved, eco-friendly shoes often cost slightly more than their standard counterparts, so in these days of environmental awareness, are shoe-buying customers choosing to pay slightly more for shoes that have been made with the planet in mind?

There are indications that they may not be. In a recent survey of over five hundred shoe buyers in the United Kingdom, only three% said that Eco Friendly methods were very important to them when deciding what shoes to buy. For them, the most important factors were the price and the brand, with over 40% opting for price as the main issue on whether to buy.

These findings are also supported with search results from Google, this with terms such as 'eco friendly shoes' getting a low number of searches, and showing no signs of increasing significantly.

However, some brands like Patagonia do seem to be doing well with eco-friendly ranges. They have managed to remain with an eco-friendly agenda, yet produce commercially appealing shoes that are proving popular with more and more consumers.

So, while it does appear that, especially in these current financial times, many customers are opting to put price before production methods, the signs are there that the footwear industry is starting to take its environmental responsibilities onboard.

Carl Fraser is Managing Director of Totally Commerce Ltd, owners of - Retailers of leading brand footwear in the UK.

Totally Commerce Ltd also operate several other websites in different business areas.

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