Sustainability

Pleather isn’t the solution

February 19, 2018

This fall I read this post on the Peahen, and while the article was focused on faux leather handbags, it could not have come at a better time as I was searching for a new pair of booties. I did not want leather, but I hadn’t thought much about the issues pleather creates from an environmental perspective.

Problem #1

I learned that most pleather’s are made from PVC which is a toxic, synthetic material that isn’t biodegradable. Just because it says, vegan leather DOES NOT MEAN IT IS SUSTAINABLE. Yeah didn’t know that- greenwashing stresses me out so much because I recognize I am slightly naive and new to this industry and there are so many loopholes in things being genuinely sustainable or ethical.

Solution (?)

I began the daunting task of ethical faux leather with this as my foundation. Not wanting to pay $500 for a pair of boots slimmed down my choices even more. I ended up stumbling on a pair by Matt & Nat that were $100 and immediately bought them.

Matt & Nat Joliette boot in Coffee

Problem #2

The pair is made from polyurethane (PU), recycled nylon which means it’s degradable. As excited as I was to find a sustainable shoe I am not over the moon with my purchase. Sustainability also means that the company has a moral obligation to make a product that will last instead of being part of the problem with fast fashion. I have only had these boots for three months, and while I wear them a lot, I expect them not to be deteriorating at the speed that they are. I take care of my shoes. I try to avoid unnecessary creases by kicking my boots on and off or just stomping into booties. You wouldn’t know that from the way they are looking. I was hoping these shoes would last at LEAST 5 years, but I don’t know if they will.

Resolution

So what’s the solution? PVC is literally in every faux leather product, but I don’t think to replace these booties in a year or two because they have fallen apart is any better for the environment. I really would love to hear your opinions on what the lesser of the two evils is.

 

5 Comments

  • Reply
    Cheryl Sheehy
    February 19, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    I’m eager to hear if anyone shares a better option. This is very disappointing.

  • Reply
    Kasi
    February 27, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Hey Sam! Thanks for referencing The Peahen. Keep up the great work on your blog. I’ll be following along.

    • Reply
      samksheehy
      March 5, 2018 at 8:41 am

      Thank you for creating such amazing content that motivated me to start my blog! I truly appreciate the support.

  • Reply
    Christina Pippin
    March 11, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    great topic, sam! i wrote about this on a roundup of sustainable and ethically-produced boots : http://finnyanddill.blogspot.com/2016/10/eco-footwear-boot-camp-change-your-shoes.html

    i address issues of pvc + pu at the end of the post. when i first ventured onto the path of sustainable style i realized one of the most important things for me to do was to save up to invest in quality pieces that would really last a long time, because like you, i wanted hard-wearing, long-lasting items that would be worth the money spent. my fave boots are made by brands that stand by their work. nicora johns actually has a repair shop for their shoes and if you have any issues with their products, you can speak to the owner directly! no vacas, the house brand by moo shoes, has a high-quality product too; i have worn their shoes on mountain treks, forest hikes, and daily across paris cobblestone streets, and they still look like new! so pu can be designed to last, but the company has to craft a shoe that will be worth your money. check out my page of vegan boots + shoes by companies that stand by their work : http://finnyanddill.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_22.html

    good luck to you + keep us posted on your eco boot adventures! xx

    • Reply
      samksheehy
      March 12, 2018 at 9:51 am

      Thank you. Love the options your post offers!

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