An Engaged Consumers Shoe Shopping Guide

I’ve yet to see a “fair trade” shoe that didn’t deserve a name like “The Blister” or “The Air Blister.” I don’t care where you stand as an engaged consumer, if you’re looking for a shoe that you actually want to perform, your options are pretty much limited to the big boy shoe manufacturers.

National Geographic’s Green Guide helps us determine which one of the big boys we want to support.

Do we want to support a company that publishes a list of the names and addresses of their suppliers, but places a higher volume of orders in non-union factories?

Or do we want to support a company that Oxfam notes “has probably done the most research and thinking” about living wages for Asian factory workers, but does not publish a list of their factories and suppliers?

I’m in the market for a new pair of kicks and you can bet that I’ll be consulting Maureen Ryan’s piece in the Green Guide: Sizing Up Athletic Shoe Makers.

Kent says:

There doesn’t seem to be a cut and dry answer to engaged consumming.

Kelsey says:


I don’t think there is a cut and dry answer to engaged consuming. That’s the problem. But this guide is a place to start.

I did a little research on New Balance the other day and they only had 3 pages addressing any labor issues or outlining any policies. That’s not enough for me. But on the flip-side, they do still make some shoes in the US.

Engaged consuming is particularly iffy when it comes to shoes. Like I said in the post, there aren’t really any viable shoe options that don’t suck.

There is no answer. But if we keep asking the questions maybe some progress can be made.

Let your voice be heard!