I remember the first time the jelly shoe came around. I was in 6th or 7th grade (I think) and I must have been one of the only girls in the country who did not own a pair. At that time in my life I was usually happy to jump on whatever trend was deemed cool, so I’m not clear on how I managed to avoid them, but somehow I did. I do remember thinking they were kinda ugly. Not to mention some styles of jelly would leave filthy dirt patterns on peoples’ feet after a day of wearing them at, say, the local amusement park or other not-so-clean places. Maybe it was the junior high snob in me-cheap, plastic shoes? Never!
Ironically, several years ago I was thinking one day about how to make affordable, sustainable footwear-sometimes I think about these things just because I’m just weird like that- and I came up with the brilliant (and admittedly somewhat socialist) idea of a sturdy plastic shoe, which could be made in sizes to fit everyone, and when they wore out or were outgrown they could be recycled to make more of the same. Shortly after this brainstorm the Croc craze hit and the reality of a world where everyone wears the same style of plastic shoe started to sink in. Yuck and boring.
Anyway, the New York Times ran this piece today in their Fashion and Style section and though some of the styles are a little out there, they are far from boring. And this is the best bit:
“Plastic shoes are also surprisingly eco-friendly. Their environmental impact is generally less than that of their leather and rubber counterparts because they are made of mostly recyclable materials, and can be recycled in turn to create new designs.”
The downside being that the new designer jellies are not cheap-at least when it comes to price-so I doubt I’ll be buying a pair anytime soon, but maybe I am getting slightly closer to my dream of a recycled shoe utopia.
PS- I have done a little research online and there are conflicting reports on whether Crocs are recyclable. A visit to their website yielded nothing and I sat on hold forever when I called their customer service line to ask. Does anyone know the answer to this?