Day 3 | Do I want to be sustainable or do I want new sandals?

goblin shark outfit striped shirt everlane chinos

Each summer for the last two years, I’ve been saying that I plan to replace my little leather sandals. And yet, somehow, I never do.

I bought my black and brown leather slides at Loft in what feels like my former life, a time when it was a regular habit of mine to stop into a few fast fashion stores on my way home from work and pick up a thing or two from the clearance rack. All things considered, they were not the worst of my impulse purchases. Despite having been shoddily forged together from glue and “genuine” leather (a low-grade leather pulp, basically), they’ve remained in style and have held up remarkably well. I still get compliments on them, even though they’re stained, chewed, and essentially threadbare.

loft sandals with dog chew marks

I want new sandals. I really, really do. But I’ve been getting a lot of new things lately, and I feel like if I choose to keep these for just one more season, I can save the world from the carbon footprint of one more pair of brand new shoes. That’s a drop in the bucket, I know, but I can’t keep reading the news about climate change devastation while also believing that nothing I do matters or I’m going to jump off a cliff. Keeping my ratty old sandals until they literally fall apart will not save the walruses, but maybe it will influence some people to keep wearing their ratty old sandals, too, and together, over time, we might save, like, a fraction of a walrus. I’ll take it.

goblin shark outfit stripe shirt everlane chinos 2

I kept my outfit pretty simple and summery for the office today (casual Friday, otherwise I wouldn’t wear this shirt or these sandals). I wore my Loyale Studio Style No. 1 tee in grey stripe (gifted), my Everlane Wide Leg Chinos in Stone, and the aforementioned ratty old sandals from Loft.

When I do finally replace these, I think I’ll probably treat myself to a pair of Isla Slides from Nisolo. They have that same timeless look, but are made with much higher quality leather and by artisans who are being paid fairly for their work. Plus, Nisolo works hard to offset the carbon emissions of its production by contributing to forest conservation in the Amazon.

goblin shark with dog
Bonus photo of Artemis, the lovely lady-dog who ate my shoes and hates being photographed.

Before I sign off for the day, I just want to thank and acknowledge the very many of you who identified with and showed support for my post yesterday about trying to unlearn diet culture. I think it speaks volumes about how harmful and pervasive attitudes about bodies and dieting really are if all of us are in the same emotional boat. I’ll also say that I am extremely privileged to be in a position where, whatever my personal misgivings about my body may be, I can walk into pretty much any store in the country and find something that fits me. That is not the case for so many women, and it’s important that we continue to speak up about inclusive sizing and diverse models in the fashion industry.

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5 thoughts on “Day 3 | Do I want to be sustainable or do I want new sandals?

  1. One thing to keep in mind, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to keep wearing old sandals past a certain point, if the soles or straps are starting to peel. I think my, er, obstinance about keeping a pair of very old sandals (nearly 4 years of constant wear at that point) until the point that the straps were stretched out and the sole was starting to peel contributed to an… accident in which… I tripped on an uneven sidewalk (this wouldn’t happen after every trip and fall, but with my terrible luck, the result was needing four figures in dental work). Obviously, most people in the world will not be as clumsy or unlucky as me, but… I think there’s a case to be made for not pushing past a certain point with old shoes if they’re no longer in good enough shape to function at 100%.

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    1. That is a very legitimate concern! I tend not to wear these if I’m doing any actual walking, but I totally agree that if your shoes are no longer functioning as shoes (i.e. protecting and supporting your feet) you should feel zero guilt in replacing them.

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  2. I feel the same way about certain items of clothing, that its better to keep using something thats hardly working, than get something new. I’m also glad you mentioned feeling like you have to believe what you’re doing is making a difference, otherwise you’ll want to die. I feel this way CONSTANTLY so its nice to know I’m not alone. I really think I need a support group for people dealing with climate change anxiety (only half joking..)

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