Sustainable slides and fresh flip-flops

Photo: Softwalker

Summer is here and it is sweltering! Over half of North America is absorbed into a heat wave that has most of us dashing for the shade tree every chance we get. Thankfully, being stylish and sweat-free is easy with a nice pair of green sandals.

Simple, the well-known "nice little show company," is ripe with a wide collection of sustainable flip flops made from eco-materials; their entire Green Toe line is made from recycled car tires, jute, bamboo, cork, recycled plastic, and more. If you are looking to make a statement and support a good cause, along with staying cool, check out their men's and women's Stop Global Warming Toepeeka sandal. Made from organic cotton and shipped in a biodegradable bag, Simple donates $5 to StopGlobalWarming.org for each pair of these flip-flops they sell. Also available are the Kokua Festival Toe Foo sandals, whether it's the men or women's style, each nets a $5 donation for the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, which supports eco-education in Hawaiian schools.

For those weekend trips to the local hiking trails, Earth's vegan Yosemite sandal for men and women will take you through the toughest of terrain, without leaving much of a footprint. Three nylon adjustable straps help hold the sandal to your foot, while their infamous KALSO Negative Heal sole provides the support and stability you need to walk all day, pain-free.

The original Birkenstock-style sandals have gotten a makeover, thanks to RecycleYourJeans low carbon footprint slides, which are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Made from recycled denim sent in by their customers and collected from high end stores in the UK, RYJ's Kalahari sandal is good for the planet, your wallet, and your body. Their parent company, Softwalker, also offers the same style of sandal made from hemp fabric and is certified vegan.

According to Splaff, all you need to make a good pair of sandals is a tire, a bike tube, and a shoe knife – at least, that is how they got started. Made from hemp and, you guessed it, car tires and inner tubes, Splaff offers three styles (one flip-flop and two slides) for both men and women, available in either natural or black. Fairly priced, made in the USA, and waste-free, you can feel good and green about this pair.

Started in Spain, El Naturalista's Shoes are produced under a strict company eco-policy: leathers are dyed with natural, chrome-free colors; recycled plastics and rubber are used for soles; and workers are governed under fair trade practices. The result is a gorgeous collection of sustainable footwear that would please any casual fashionista. In terms of sandals, their Spring/Summer 2007 collection features one open-toe style for men and over 10 different designs for women. At the El Naturalista site you're also given a glimpse into the local folklore and landmarks of the area that each particular shoe was named for.

Victoria Everman is a freelance writer, model, on-camera personality and founder of the San Francisco Craft Mafia.