Email #5: “Water Friendly Shoes”

Hi Free Waters,

I wonder what the Supreem Foam is made of? It’s not specified on the tag, and I can’t find it here on the homepage either. It feels like it some sort of plastic-like material, or is it from plants or something else?

Many thanks,

Jenny

***

In my search for a pair of flip flops (I live in LA now, after all), I found a pair at Whole Foods that caught my eye. The name on the label says “Free Waters”, and there is a short story about how the product designers behind it all, back in San Francisco in 2010 wanted to create “incredibly comfortable and modern footwear” (thank you!) – while also feeling the responsibility to “do more than create great product” “by transforming lives with clean water”. Sounds great! However there is no information, neither on the label nor on the homepage (as far as I can see), about the shoes themselves – the materials and manufacturing processes used. Instead, there is a list of “water projects” in different areas of the world, more on the “aid” basis as it seems – which can be a good thing but very often a problematic one (google white saviorism for examples of why things that might sound all cheerful and good in our untrained ears might actually be harmful in the end. Or, right from the beginning, actually).

In short – I want to know what materials their shoes are made of. How they are made. I want to make sure that this is not a case where the products sold actually does the opposite of what is marketed. In other words, if the material is a plastic one, and, depending on all sorts of things in the manufacturing process, possibly themselves are harming the environment and waters, rather than “saving” them. Which to me is a problematic thing on different levels – the environmental impact itself is the first problem, of course. And then, branding the product as something “good for the environment”, tricking people into thinking they do something “good” when buying the shoes, rather than making just another purchase that is harmful for the water they think they’re “saving” – well, that’s really not a great thing, at all.

Now, I hope that that is not the case here and that I will receive an answer to show that these shoes indeed is as non-harmful as possible to the world. I contacted the company with the above simple question, but have yet not received an answer. To be continued at their reply, I hope (I really wish that their shoes are made of good materials, as I really like them…)!

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