Etiko soles are all natural, made from sustainable latex and certified by the FSC, which means the rubber was actually tapped from a tree in a well-managed and growing forest, instead of being made from petrochemicals like most other 'rubber' products.
The canvas and laces are made of cotton that has been certified both organic (GOTS) and fairtrade (FLO).
The dyes used on the canvas are PCP and AZO free.
No animal products or by-products are used, making these 100% vegan.
The shoe boxes your sneakers will be shipped in are made from post-consumer waste.
So there you have it - a sneaker that is more than just a sneaker!
BTW, although they are made with certified fairtrade cotton, in an accredited fairtrade factory, and Etiko pays a social premium to both the rubber producers in Sri Lanka and the shoe stitchers in Pakistan, these sneakers are not certified fairtrade. The reason for this is that, at this stage, there is no fairtrade standard for footwear.
Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. It is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, and the use of genetically-engineered seed is prohibited.
All Kowtow cotton is certified by Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO). Fairtrade empowers farmers to negotiate with buyers to secure better prices for their cotton. Every season, certified farmer groups receive a premium to be spent on community projects such as medical costs, irrigation schemes to conserve rainwater, books and clothes for school children, farmer education, training and upgrades.
Kowtow's cotton is organically farmed and free from genetically modified seeds to benefit the soil, cotton and farmers. Crops are rain-fed and hand-picked. Organic farming is achieved through companion planting, crop rotations and on-site green waste composting to eliminate the use of chemicals harmful to farmers and their families. Cotton is a sustainable, recyclable and biodegradable fiber.
Kowtow only uses sustainably sourced trims. The label's buttons are made in Italy from recycled hemp. Its denim tacks and sliders are nickel-free and made in a SA8000-certified factory in Germany. They are tested by OEKO-TEX for harmful substances and come under the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and ISO 14000 environmental management standard.
Kowtow's prints and fabrics use Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) approved inks and dyes, which are free from chlorine bleach, toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde and aromatic solvents. The brand only uses GOTS-approved washes for its garments, from lightweight jersey to denim. GOTS ensures sustainable use and treatment of water used in these processes.