I—as much as the next conscious consumer—want to support eco-friendly fashion. Unfortunately, finding footwear that is sustainably and ethically sourced can sometimes feel like a Sisyphean task. The perfect pair of sustainable shoes is something of a unicorn, and eco-friendly fashion just isn't as accessible as ethical fashion (yet).
But it's all about the little steps, so when I heard that one of my favorite shoe brands was taking a big one to protect the environment, it came as very refreshing news. This week, Steve Madden launched Cool Planet, a sub-brand dedicated to making sustainable footwear affordable. The first collection comes with 19 casual sneakers and sandals, all made from recycled, renewable, and environmentally preferred materials.
"We want to offer consumers an opportunity to participate in the space through fashion footwear [because] typically a sustainable product is priced at a high end," said Gregg Meyer, VP of corporate social responsibility at Steve Madden.
"Cool Planet's look and vibe is just that: cool. I'm glad we're doing our part to protect the environment," adds Steve Madden, founder and creative/design chief of Steve Madden. In addition to the sustainable element, every shoe is produced in audited third-party factories to ensure human rights are protected along with the environment.
Although the collection is just a sub-brand now, it marks an ambitious new chapter for the company. Cool Planet is giving Steve Madden the opportunity to develop new approaches to sustainable manufacturing that will eventually be integrated into the whole store, including the flagship brand Steve Madden. "Retooling our global supply chain to produce sustainable products takes time, but Cool Planet gives us an immediate avenue to test innovative approaches and materials that we can then roll out to the rest of our business," says CEO Ed Rosenfeld.
Did we mention your purchase will also contribute to a great cause? Cool Planet is partnering with One Tree Planted, a non-profit organization committed to reforestation efforts around the world. For every pair of shoes purchased, Cool Planet will plant a tree to help repopulate forests in vital need of renewal. "Steve Madden is excited about this partnership. By partnering with One Tree Planted, we will be able to bring our customers along on our sustainability journey and give them the chance to share in the experience of directly and positively impacting the planet," says Meyer.
The collection ranges from $50 to $80—all of which can be shopped on the website—but we've picked out five of the best ones, below.
Stream Platform Sneaker
There’s nothing more classic than a crisp white sneaker—this one is made with organic cotton canvas and comes with a super comfortable platform that adds an extra inch of height.