Buy a new pair of sneakers and help protect the environment at the same time? Hey, we’re all for multi-tasking. That’s exactly why Wado, a new sustainable sneaker company, caught our eye. Intrigued? Well, you will soon be able check out the shoes in person, because the company’s first collection is officially ready for preorder.
Inspired by ’80s fashion favorites, the company’s “Modelo ’89” sneakers feature “a retro shape and colors that are aligned with [their] perception of nature, using the off-white color as the basis.” They add: “As a token to our reforestation activity, we have added a detail of synthetic cork on the tongue, which will appear in all our products.”
The uppers of the shoes are made from chromium-free leather, an extremely durable material that still allows the sneakers to be produced in line with the company’s sustainability guidelines. To do this, the Wado team collaborates with a small artisan-run factory in Felgueiras (a district on Portugal’s Iberian Peninsula) that practices green manufacturing and employs skilled lifelong shoemakers.
These Portuguese artisans work in safe conditions and are paid fair wages. By contrast, Asian tannery workers have low life expectancies and a high rate of tuberculosis because of the chemicals involved in the leather production process. From the very onset of their mission, Wado has fought hard to make sure its artisans would not be working in that type of environment.
“We are empowering local industry, reducing transport distances, and what’s even more important,” the company explains, “we are avoiding the dangerous effects of this toxic product on the shoemakers and also on the environment.”
The name Wado means “thank you” in Cherokee, and the company’s clean and simple production process is sort of their way of “thanking” and paying respect to nature. Since they’re concerned about deforestation, the team also collaborates with WeForest. And it’s not just lip service, either. Wado plants two trees in Northeast India’s Mawphlang region for every pair of its sneakers it sells. In a way, you could say that they’re “footing” the bill!
Wado is concerned about the cost of its sneakers, too. A lot of other sustainable fashion items come with a hefty price tag, and Wado has been determined to keep their prices down so more people can afford their shoes. In fact, the company names affordability as one of its three core values, along with sustainability and fashion style. They want every customer to be able to use their spending dollars to be a “gamechanger” for the environment.
The first Wado shoes are available for preorder in five different colors: off-white, black, green, garnet, and blue. The chromium-free leather uppers are perforated over the toes to help your feet to breathe and stay comfortable. The shoes also boast reinforced toecaps. Inside, the cloth lining helps prevent sticky feet. Both the upper and the sole are encircled by a rubber outsole trim.
Wado’s Modelo ’89 sneakers were successfully crowdfunded on March 31st, and the company is now offering discounted prices for preorders. Now that manufacturing can begin in earnest, Wado expects to be able to start shipping in June. Just in time to show off your cool new sneaks for summer.