We made a great choice — the shoes are sweet. Despite my suspicion at how they’d look when worn, they look fab. I went with black after all for versatility, and the suede heel sections make a nice variety of textures. They’re surprisingly low on the instep, as you can see, but they’re nice and open and might end up providing some much-needed foot-sweat ventilation. But before I convince you that I’m gaga for these shoes, I must admit that I’ve worn them twice now and have had a little problem with the heel slipping off. So far they’re wearing more like flip flops than shoes. If that doesn’t change soon, I could add an insole to make them tighter overall.

They gave me a blister the first time, but hey, they’re new. (Oh Terra Plana, most ethically-made and materials-innovating fashion shoe company I’ve found, I won’t give up on you yet!) And now may I present my “unboxing” and, as far as I can tell, the only set of photos on the world wide web of these shoes on a real foot! Why I chose the “Grass”: First of all, Terra Plana transparently describes its manufacturing processes on its website. Though it’s not big enough to be forging its own factories, it partners with larger companies that have set tried-and-true codes of conduct. The “Grass” is made in China.

The shoe is made of chrome-free leather, which Treehugger has taught me all about. Leather isn’t as natural a product as we might think; the leather we’re used to is tanned with chemicals, like chrome, that keep it from degrading. This is good for wear, but bad for the people who do the tanning and the waterways that catch its run-off. With leather in general, look for chrome-free and vegetable-tanned. Other features (of all Terra Plana shoes): “Reparability, lightness, anatomic design, and durability are all staples of sustainable shoe making.”

 

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