Eco-friendly maternity shoes - Part I
“I don’t know why I cannot wear these shoes anymore... Every time when I have them on my foot skin itches. What can it be? And I like them so much, I have been wearing them for years, these were my favorite shoes.” Our friend from Spain told us this during our visit in Madrid, talking about a pair of shoes which she had since many years and now she couldn´t wear anymore. When we heard her complaints we supposed that this was due to the chrome contained in the leather. We know that allergies can appear also years after we have been using the same product or substance.
This and other similar stories have challenged us to think about our own shoe production. We know that about 80% of the leather production relies on processes which damage the environment. This has sometimes even deadly consequences for the people working in the leather tanning industry. Thus, we decided to use the best natural materials for our shoes. Especially for the summer shoes which can be worn barefoot, we wanted to offer also models made of leather which does not contain any heavy chemicals.
We started to look for sustainable leather because we wanted to offer mamas also a healthiest shoe alternative. At one of the most renowned trade fairs for leather goods we were surprised to learn that there was not much offer of vegetable tanned leather. After we have been touching a lot of conventionally tanned leathers there, we had ourselves allergy symptoms at the end of the day – red, itchy spots on the skin, which only went away after a few days.
Back home, we have been researching the few providers of vegetable tanned leather which we could find outside of the trade fair. We decided to work with the German “Rhabarberleder” (Rhubarb Leather) whose name irritated us first: What is Rhubarb Leather? We asked ourselves. Why is it called like this? Does it have really to do with the rhubarb plant?
When we received leather samples from the deepmello, the company which is behind the Rhubarb Leather, we were positively surprised about the quality and softness of their nappa leather and the beauty of their colors. You have to know that vegetable tanned leathers have a pretty stiff touch, as they are not treated with chemicals which make them soft. But the Rhubarb Leather was different – incredibly pleasant, soft and fine at touching! And its unprocessed surface stressed the genuine aspect of the leather. We decided to work with it.
Out of it the wonderful Pregnidos Eco summer sandals came into being, in the Sunrays and Flow variations. They are incredibly beautiful and elegant in their a bit serious lavanda color, with a wonderful surface reminding of the vivid, eventful years embedded in the animal skin, which does not look the same everywhere and was left like this, uncovered by artificial chemical layers to hide “imperfections”.
In our next story we will let Anne-Christine Bansleben, the founder of deepmello, talk about why and how the Rhubarb Leather is different from other types of leather.