Soft Shoes Make Soft Footprints

Posted on December 11, 2011 by LiveBare There have been 2 comment(s)

“Environmental sustainability is in the fibers of Soft Star Shoes culture, whether it is the materials we buy, the processes we use or the resources we consume.”

That environmental statement has always been the standard at the Soft Star workshop. We’re lucky to have so many eco-conscious elves making their own efforts to help us maintain our sustainable practices. Recently, a new idea was suggested that we feel helps us reduce our carbon footprint even more.

Elf Cindy, with extensive background knowledge about different recycling processes, put quite a bit of work into researching less wasteful methods for shipping our shoes. The result: Tyvek® envelopes and Ecobags.

Tyvek® is a thin, pliable material that is both lightweight and extremely tough. Packing a shoe with this material leads to a smaller, lighter package that requires less fuel to ship. It is not unusual to see Tyvek® envelopes, and their production generates less greenhouse gas than the process of recycling cardboard. Also, Tyvek® is recyclable. We collect all the Tyvek® envelopes received in our workshop and send them to the Tyvek® recycling center on a regular basis.

Ecobags, or EcoEnclose Poly Mailers, are similar to Tyvek® since they are lightweight and tough, but Ecobags have the advantage of being 100% biodegradable and compostable. Although it will take several months, you can toss an Ecobag into your backyard compost bin and it will disintegrate entirely into nutrient-rich soil. They are also made in the USA and come with a double strip of sealing tape, so they can be reused and reshipped at least one more time.

Our standard shipping box, an Ecobag and a Tyvek® envelope.

Before trusting your precious soft shoes with these soft packages, their durability was thoroughly tested.  Aside from mailing some initial sample shoes to trusted friends around the world for feedback and photos,  C.Elf.O Tricia had fun "stress" testing as well. She placed a brave pair of our moccasins in the bags and crushed, stomped and mauled them every which way to mimic the worst conditions they could encounter during the shipping process. The result: we opened the bags to find the shoes still in perfect condition!

The choice of using Tyvek® or Ecobags depends on the size and style of shoe, as some shoes fit better in one or the other. At this time, we are only using these soft packages to ship soft-soled moccasins and our lightweight Moc3 running shoes. We feel that shoes with thicker rubber soles should not risk the dangers of being bent and still need the protection of cardboard boxes. Also, international orders will still use cardboard since they are commonly opened and reclosed at customs. Nonetheless, a large percentage of our orders are now shipped with the new materials. Our postman, who typically has a difficult time fitting our shipments into his truck, is very grateful.

We hope you will also appreciate the environmental efforts made by our elves. As always, we love to hear your feedback!


This post was posted in Community, In the Workshop and was tagged with carbon, ecobag, ecoenclose, footprint, greenhouse, pollution, sustainability, sustainable, tyvek

2 Responses to Soft Shoes Make Soft Footprints

  • Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I think you should give customers an option (perhaps a check box on the order form?) to volunteer to accept used packaging on their mailed shoes. Then you can get another use out of envelopes arriving in your shop before they are sent to recycling.

    Posted on December 14, 2011 at 7:35 AM

  • LiveBare

    Thanks for the tip Elizabeth! We're currently working on a website upgrade and we'll pass along your idea.

    Posted on December 20, 2011 at 1:52 AM

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