In a perfect world, a barefoot shoe made almost entirely from natural materials like Mukishoes would have a “cradle to cradle” life cycle, which would start in Nature, then go through the transformation process to make the parts and the finished product, be worn for as long as possible and finally returned to Nature or to the industry so the process can start all over again.
The Zero Waste Dream
That was our goal when we started Mukishoes and we are proud of what we’ve achieved with the resources currently available, but further research always brings new possibilities along with challenges.
We dream of a Zero Waste model and we work towards that dream every day, whether by eliminating shipping boxes or making shoes from the textile industry’s cast off fabrics. Every step we take is a conscious one, even when we decide to sell a batch of shoes that have been made differently by mistake like Aqua – Inside Out so that they do not end up in waste, as they are still perfectly good shoes.
The Challenge of Recycling
Sadly, a textile item can only be deemed recyclable if it contains pure materials in all of its pieces, which is quite a difficult standard to achieve when dealing with shoes. That is why we chose to use pure natural fabrics like 100% cotton or 100% hemp, as opposed to already recycled cotton, for instance, which would have to be mixed with a synthetic material to ensure durability.
Are Mukishoes Recyclable then?
The use of natural materials, like cotton, hemp and vegetable tanned leather makes our shoes almost completely biodegradable. However, only the fabrics can be separated and reused, as their fibers can be rewoven, a practice that is still in the beginning in Europe. The soles, however, contain natural, recycled and synthetic rubber, which makes them not entirely biodegradable nor 100% recyclable, but ensure adequate barefoot shoe functionality, durability and resistance.
So, while we can’t make a fully recyclable product yet, we are working on making our barefoot shoes even more ecologic with every collection, as we find new ways to reduce the already minimal waste from our production, like textile cut-offs, which we are planning on incorporating in future models. As well as continuing to extend their life cycles with initiatives like shoe resoling – something that we are working on right now.
Our sustainability efforts also include raising public awareness for the importance of employing eco-friendly production practices, making environmentally responsible purchases and taking good care of items, so they can serve their purpose as long as intended.