5 Reasons Why our Handcrafted Espadrilles are Eco-Friendly Shoes
On March 17, the world celebrates St. Patrick's Day and it’s the one day of the year that everyone feels a little bit Irish. Everything turns green and we all wish for a little bit of Irish Luck as toasts and cheers rise up from pubs around the world.
At Viscata, we want to GO GREEN not just on St. Paddy’s Day but every day of the year. We’re committed to help to respect and look after our planet by creating beautiful shoes in an eco-friendly way.
First of all at Viscata our eco-friendly manufacturing process is carried out by skilled artisans, who handcraft our espadrilles in Spain using traditional methods and a zero-carbon production process.
Secondly, our materials are naturally sourced. We’re currently working on a range of animal-friendly and recycled models to build our first collection of Viscata's vegan shoes – and we’re delighted to be launching this new range in the coming months.
Thirdly, we know how important it is to manage our resources properly. That’s why we’ve introduced several initiatives which reduce our impact on the environment. For example, our eco-friendly shoes are mainly sent from Spain to the US by sea, thus minimising our carbon emissions. Our flexible approach to pre-ordering also helps to optimize our production.
Finally, we always use sustainable packaging for our deliveries.
So, let's find out a bit more about Viscata’s environmentally-friendly approach. We think that once you find out how much love and care goes into every pair of Viscata shoes you will become even more convinced that Viscata's espadrilles and sandals are just what you are looking for: super comfortable, beautifully designed eco-friendly shoes.
1. Eco-friendly shoes, handcrafted by artisans
All of our beautiful Viscata’s are hand-crafted in Spain using an almost, zero-carbon production process.
This low-impact process uses the same methods that have been proudly used by artisans and shoemakers for generations. And while we know that times are always changing at Viscata we will always remain true to our heritage.
Traditionally, the bottom soles of espadrilles are made from jute, a 100% natural fiber that comes from the plant of the same name. It can be twisted or braided like a rope and formed into variety of shapes including the soles of shoes.
Once the fiber has been braided and shaped, the different fabrics used for the uppers (leather, canvas, linen and suede) are cut out into the correct shape and attached to the sole with blanket stitches.
Espadrilles are commonly handmade by specialized artisans in the traditional way. This detailed process of shaping and stitching takes experience, skill and real care, as well as many hours of manual work.
2. All our main materials naturally sourced
Natural cotton canvas is the main material for around 80% of our range. This fiber is known to minimize its impact on the product life cycle. It's 100% natural and popular for its benefits for your feet as it is a super breathable and lightweight material.
As we mentioned before, the soles of our eco-friendly shoes are made of a rope-like material called jute. This is a strong vegetable fiber, 100% natural, recyclable and biodegradable.
But, what is it about jute that makes it so special?
As well as having natural UV protection, jute grows without the use of fertilizers and pesticides. The jute plant matures really quickly and only relies on natural rainfall to grow, without the need for any external irrigation system. That’s why jute is considered to be an efficient and sustainable source of renewable material. Finally, the jute plant can absorb the carbon dioxide from the air while releasing oxygen much faster than regular trees. It also contributes to the fertility of the soil for future crops.
That’s why jute is known as “the golden fiber” – due to its natural benefits for both nature and humanity.
3. Recycled and vegan materials
The Viscata Team believe that reducing the carbon footprint of both shoe manufacturers and consumers alike starts with making a good selection of our designs and materials. That’s why, in addition to the traditional methods of using jute, we’ll soon be introducing new materials for the uppers, which can also lower our environmental impact.
We are all very used to seeing the great variety of Vegan products available in our supermarkets but they are also easily found in other type of industries like makeup and cosmetics. Well, in the footwear industry, Vegan leathers such as Pinatex and innovative fabrics made from recycled bottles are also becoming great alternatives to traditional leather and suede.
Following on this, we’re delighted to be able to make two great announcements:
1. In April, we’re launching our first fully Vegan collection
Made of a clever combination of canvas and a vegan synthetic inner leather called onSteam® (a 100% breathable microfiber) it feels totally authentic without compromising freshness or comfort.
In addition to our current vegan wedges Escala and Peratallada, we’ll be making a range of our best sellers like Satuna, Calella, Estartit wedges or the Barceloneta slip-on flats available in this innovative and eco-friendly vegan version of classic shoes.
2. In June, we’re releasing a small range of eco-styles produced from recycled marine plastic collected from the Mediterranean Sea.
Viscata was born in Barcelona as a reflection of our Mediterranean soul and spirit. We care about our planet and the impact we all have on it. We know the negative impact of plastic waste on our world. That’s why we’re introducing a collection of canvas style shoes made from recycled plastic bottles recovered from our beloved Mediterranean sea.
This beautiful and practical range will have the same quality and beautiful design as all our other regular cotton canvas shoes but you can wear them with the added confidence of knowing that they are doing their little bit to help reduce our impact on the world around us.
But talking is not enough. At Viscata, we like to get involved. That’s why the Viscata family is planning a Community Beach Clean-up Event here in Barcelona, where we'll gather our friends, relatives and supporters to come down to help us clean up our beautiful beaches so that everyone can enjoy them properly. We know it'll be a fun day but it will also help to keep our minds focused locally on practical ways we can help our local environment.
Stay tuned for further details about this wonderful event!
4. Sustainable packaging
Apart from the handcrafted production methods and natural origin of our products, Viscata also recognizes that the way your products are delivered to you also has an important role to play in promoting sustainability. That’s why you can rest assured that all our packaging is eco-friendly – the perfect way to deliver our eco-friendly espadrilles and sandals directly to your homes.
All Viscata's shoe boxes are made of recyclable cardboard and manufactured locally in Spain. And inside every box, alongside our beautiful sustainable shoes you'll find a nice, locally manufactured flyer, made with 100% recycled paper.
And last but not least, your shoe box will be shipped inside a 100% recycled polymailer, locally produced in the USA. You can rest assured that these mailers are made from 100% recycled content, 50% post-consumer waste, and feature a dual adhesive strip so that they can be easily reused. These polymailers can significantly reduce our carbon footprint since they can be reused for returns and they occupy less shipping space than regular boxes.
5. Resource efficiency: pre-ordering, transport and reverse logistics
In our endless quest for more efficient production, we always try to maintain good control of our resources. Our main priority is to use the minimal amount of material and energy in the production of our eco-friendly shoes. But we think that we can also adapt this production to our customers' demands and needs and, at the same time, reduce the waste from shoe production.
That's why we opted for a flexible approach. We’ve recently introduced the option to pre-order a selection of our customers' favorite styles and our new SS20 collection. That means you can purchase your shoe now and our team of Spanish artisans will handcraft it specially for you. You’ll even get it delivered to your home within 30 days. As easy as that!
We also recognize that how we transport our goods is also a vital matter of sustainability.
Viscata, we believe that every little thing we do to contribute to reducing the impact of transportation on our planet counts. That’s why we ship 95% of our volume by sea and try to leave air shipments only for emergencies. We have even embarked once on a really exciting saliling adventure by shipping our shoes on a zero emission cargo ship called Tres Hombres.
Finally, within our returns system, we have also found ways to minimize our environmental impact.
Our customers can return their shoes to specific local locations* (Return Bars provided by our partner Happy Returns). Not only does this offer a better customer experience but it also contributes towards our carbon footprint reduction.
Also, we send our returned shoes to a specialized Footwear Return Centre, Quality Corrections, where they are inspected, fixed and recovered (when possible) allowing for a more sustainable approach at the end of the shoe lifecycle.
Discarded shoes with slight defects are then donated (along with other depleted units) to associations who work for people in need. A great example of this is our partnership with Soles4Souls. These guys turn unwanted shoes and clothing into opportunity, by keeping them from going to waste and putting them to good use - providing relief, creating jobs and empowering people to break the cycle of poverty.
Viscata is extremely proud to partner with Soles4souls.
By reducing our excess inventory, we also promote sustainability and help to restore hope and dignity to people living in poverty.
All these measures deliver considerable reductions to our production waste resulting in us disposing of less than 1% of our volume.
Viscata is always working hard to create the highest quality, fashion-forward shoes while safeguarding our Spanish heritage and traditional handcrafting methods.
This remains our main goal. But we also want to achieve this objective by doing it right, using sustainable approaches within the guidelines set by eco-friendly fashion and e-commerce and minimizing our impact on the environment.
At Viscata, we believe that small actions can combine to make a big impact. It is up to each of us as individuals and global citizens to do our bit for the environment.
What do you think of our sustainable approach? If you like it, we’d encourage you to Go Green with Viscata. Simply pick your favorite style and relax in the knowledge that the shoes you are wearing are kind to the environment, leaving you one less thing to worry about.
*North America only