WOOD YOU RATHER CREATE CHANGE?
The world seems to be changing faster than ever before. With all the great advancements seen on the digital front, there are still many practices used globally that seem archaic and damaging to this great planet. Earlier this year we launched an eco-knit collection made from recycled plastic found in our oceans, but it was important for us to explore even more innovative ways to reuse existing materials. While doing research on multiple recycling techniques, there is a continued push to reuse reclaimed wood for furniture and flooring instead of newly cut lumber. This became very intriguing for us, so we began to focus on revitalizing the idea of making a wooden shoe through the use of repurposed wood.
FIRST WOODEN SHOES
The first wooden shoes originated in Holland during the early 1300s. Known as clogs, they were traditionally worn by the lower-classes all throughout Europe. It became the most common work shoe during the Industrial Revolution because of the protection they offered against most elements. Hand Carved from wooden blocks, it was a very tedious process to create these shoes. Once each pair were completed, they were painted with unique patterns and designs that differed depending on the villages.
Wooden clogs still exist today, but now you’ll see them as a more fashionable option for women that aren’t necessarily designed for comfort. Taking the history of clogs and the idea of constructing a sustainable product, it became our mission to take our most popular style combined with reclaimed wood to create the Wally Flexwood.
The most important part of building this special collection was to find a way to reuse wood in a way that kept the silhouette of our Wally and still felt as comfortable as possible. Using an innovative manufacturing technique, we took a farmed flex-wood material to create an incredible texture that allowed the wood to be flexible in nature. This ingenious wood processing procedure combined with a hand-selected veneer gave birth to the first shoe made out of reclaimed walnut wood that is free from toxic chemicals. The countless hours and dedication by the manufacturing team allows us to provide this eco-friendly shoe that is almost like a piece of art. The Wally Flexwood highlights the amazing possibilities of reusing existing resources instead of newly harvested wood.
WHERE ARE ALL THE TREES GOING?
Deforestation is a massive global problem that is contributing to the erratic climate change, but also is a key factor in the extinction of many species. Forests still cover almost 30% of the world’s land areas, but we are losing millions of acres a year from farming, livestock grazing, mining and the forestry industry. Since humans started cutting down forests, 46 percent of trees have been removed, according to a 2015 study in the journal Nature. Having thriving trees and forests are necessary for many reasons, not least of which is the absorption of all the carbon dioxide our growing population exhales.
In New Zealand, native forest cover has been reduced from 85% of the land area to about 23%. These once forest covered areas are now open pastures that have left many animals exposed to danger, with the kiwi bird at the forefront of this problem.
KIWIS FOR KIWI
Kiwi face threats from three main directions – predators, lost habitat and people. Two hundred years ago, millions of kiwi lived all through New Zealand’s forests, and the night air echoed with their calls. Today the birds are under siege. By 1998, the population had plummeted to fewer than 100,000 birds. By 2008 that figure had fallen even further – to about 70,000.
Today, in places where kiwi birds are managed, things are improving and many populations are stable or increasing. These places include Department of Conservation (DOC) kiwi sanctuaries, community-led projects (many of them sponsored by Kiwis for kiwi) and offshore island sanctuaries.
It is the organization’s mission to enable kiwi to flourish in their natural habitat forever by supporting kiwi conservation projects with funding, access to expert knowledge, training and education, and by igniting a passion in all New Zealanders to join in the fight to save their national icon, becoming Kiwis for kiwi.
ONE PAIR SAVES ONE KIWI
Hey Dude Shoes is more than a shoe company, but also a brand dedicated to creating social awareness on challenges facing our society in hopes of leaving a better future for the next generation. As part of the promise to strengthen the awareness for reusing instead of continued deforestation practices, the partnership between Kiwis for kiwi formed.
For every pair of Wally Flex-wood shoes purchased, a donation of $100 NZD will be made to Kiwis for kiwi foundation to protect one bird for an entire year. This message of “One Pair Saves One Kiwi” is a small step in helping one of many animals negatively affected by our climate change, global pollution, and excessive use of resources available on planet Earth.
To purchase a pair of Wally Flexwood Shoes, click here!