The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
July 3, 2012

Feelgoodz natural rubber and hemp flip flops

Confession: Up until a week ago, I still sometimes wore plastic flip flops.  Granted, they were flip flops I purchased back in 2005.  And I wore them until they had holes in the heels.

But still, why would I continue to wear plastic ones after discovering the natural rubber flip flops from Feelgoodz two years ago?  It had to do with the straps.

The natural rubber straps were fine for short walks, but if I wore the flip flops for an extended length of time, the straps would irritate the top of my foot a little bit.  So I would revert to the plastic ones for a while.   Many other people love the original Feelgoodz and have not had this problem, but now, I’m psyched to have discovered that Feelgoodz is offering two alternative models with soft hemp straps instead of rubber, and they feel really great.  Just in time to save my heels, Feelgoodz sent me a couple of pairs of flip flops to review.

Soft Strapz flip flops

The Soft Strapz model comes with a thick natural rubber sole (which is thicker, yet lighter than my original Feelgoodz flip flops because less rubber is used per shoe, so the consistency is different) and soft hemp fabric straps.  They are super comfortable, and I can wear them for long periods of time without any irritation.

Cinnaflopz flip flops

The Cinnaflopz model has hemp straps and a hemp upper glued with natural rubber glue to a natural rubber sole.  They also contain a layer of real cinnamon between the rubber and hemp layers.  Believe me, they smell great.  But they are not for people who are allergic to cinnamon or don’t like the smell.   The rubber sole on the Cinnaflopz is very thin, but Feelgoodz will be coming out with two new colors and a thicker sole in 2013.

Feelgoodz flip flops are made in Vietnam. Here is a video explaining how the Cinnaflopz are made.  Feelgoodz also offers flip flops for kids and flip flops with a leather upper.  (Personally, I avoid leather when possible, but your preferences may be different from mine.)

Compost or Recycle?

When Feelgoodz flip flops wear out, they can be buried in the backyard or cut up and composted.  Don’t toss them in the trash!  But what about the plastic flip flops you already have?  Wear them for as long as you can, but when you are done with them, you can send them to Feelgoodz’s Unflop Program, which will “upcycle” them through the Flip Flop Recycling Company.

Give-Away: 1 Pair of Cinnaflopz in Women’s size 7-9

Unfortunately, just as I did when I reviewed the original flip flops back in 2010, I once again requested a size too small.  The Soft Strapz flip flops fit me just right, but sadly, the Cinnaflopz leave my heel on the floor.  So I am giving away this pair to one lucky person with feet smaller than mine.   (Don’t worry.  I only tried them on once in the house and that’s the only time they touched my feet.)

07/18/2012 Update: The drawing is over.  The winner is AlmostAlltheTruth.  Congratulations!

 

To enter the give-away, please leave a comment with your favorite way to reduce plastic while buying clothes or shoes.  It could be a particular brand that uses all natural–or mostly natural–fibers.  Or it could be through buying secondhand or upcycling.  I’d love to hear all of your ideas.  And if there is a particular product you think I should review on this blog, let me know.  I will choose a winner at random.

 

 

85 comments
Calendula
Calendula

Have you tried wearing japanese geta? The soles are wood and the straps are cloth, and they are surprisingly comfortable.

chazak
chazak

If products reflected their "true" cost maybe people would buy less. Overconsumption is killing us in many ways.

twinkbeauty
twinkbeauty

I'm going to have to disagree with the post about this not being price competitive. No, they do not compare to the $3 pair you can get at Walmart or a dollar store. But the cheap flip-flops are exactly that- cheap. They don't last and you're lucky to get a full summer out of them. They do, however, compare to other high quality flip flops. My husband had a pair of Rainbow flip flops that cost between $30-50. We've been together for 9 years, and he had those flip flops for several years before I met him. It was only this year that he finally allowed me to get him a new pair (the sole had finally worn down a hole in the heel). That means that those things lasted for over a decade. And we live in Florida, so those babies were worn 8-9 months of the year. Needless to say, I ordered myself a pair when I got his replacements :)

This is all to say, quality is worthwhile. I can't vouch for the feelgoodz as I have never tried them, but I think its unwise to disregard something just because it doesn't compete with cheap discount products. If everyone spent a little more to buy better quality, they could purchase less often, eliminate waste, and save money in the long run.

jb
jb

I love seeing this, but it is worthless! If you cant make the price competitive you can't begin to fight the problem.

Vermont Thunder
Vermont Thunder

I hate plastic.  I remember wearing the shiny, 100% poly blouses, slacks, and dresses in the 70's and 80's.  I got rid of all of that wear years ago and never looked back. You can now buy silk sweaters that are woven as snugly as wool, or buy wool - it comes in many weaves from coarse to snugly-soft, and they WEAR.  Cotton in the summer or light-weight silks. That's my wardrobe !

ahokie87
ahokie87

I have a great pair of flip flops I got at a natural store here years ago. They are made from recycled plastic and hemp. I'm pretty sure the brand is "simple". They are the most comfortable shoes I've ever bought!

Alyssa
Alyssa

I reduce plastic by rarely ever buying new clothes! I use what I have until it literally falls apart.

amybluesky
amybluesky

I try and buy clothes and shoes made of natural, or mostly natural, fibers; although they're not always easy to find, or affordable. That's why I really appreciate your posts. I also try and buy most of my clothes second-hand to help reduce pollution and slavery and use less energy. @plasticfreebeth 

KristenA
KristenA

I'm a knitter but many yarns contain acrylic and travel long distances to arrive at my doorstep, so I've started unraveling sweaters from the thrift store to use the yarn for making all kinds of things, from socks to sweaters.

Nicole
Nicole

I buy from thrift stores and consignment stores.

CarolynH
CarolynH

I shop for my family's t-shirts at the local Goodwill Store. (@goodwillsa) I also love Glass Dharma Straws.   www.glassdharma.com

Teresa
Teresa

I'd love to have the Cinnaflopz, they sound great! I try to buy as many organic cotton clothes as I possibly can.

eahoulton
eahoulton

My church's Thrift Shop, which is a great source of clothes, shoes, kitchen stuff and sometimes small furniture for those who need it.

Shannon
Shannon

I love to buy second hand. Especially clothes and dishes, but really - everything!

Christeria
Christeria

I save the tops of shaving cream, aerosol cans, and some larger jars (like peanut butter jars), and use them to hold paint for kids' art projects.  They keep the colors separated, and make it easier to return the paint back to the bottle if there is some left over.  Plus, I don't think they can be recycled at a city plant because they don't have the symbol on it.

jderouin
jderouin

I shop at second hand stores and local garage sales

jderouin
jderouin

I shop at second hand stores and also garage sales

Reenie
Reenie

I purchase just about everthing to wear from second hand sources: Goodwill, and a Goodwill "discount" shop that sells clothes by the pound super cheap...ex. blue linen long sleeve shirt was 49 cents. I rely on GW, Craig's list, garage sales, friends' trading/giving away old clothes etc.  Recently bought a Kenmore washer that was 5 years old for 100 dollars from a person who advertised on Craig's list.. Washes great; spins very well. The best current spot for me to "shop" has been at the mini landfill that services our community.  They put in a concrete slab, added a carport type cover, and users can drop off whatever we don't want, couches, appliances etc..  I've found a nearly new, white double enamel sink that will go in our community garden for washing veggies. This was a great find. No yellowing or stains either. Also recently found 2 bird feeders, old yes, but with glass not plastic tubes that the seeds go in.  I keep a neighbor's granddaughter on Wednesdays so she and I repainted the top of one of the feeders and it now looks so good, nearly new. BTW I don't actively go out looking for stuff,, but as I drive around getting to appointments, running errounds, or to dump off household trash and receycling, I will run over to the county's free spot and check it out.  I found a great foldup handmade pine table recently. My curb pickings recently include a cute new stainless steel bucket, and several plant pots of all sizes, including the chain hangers, some clay most plastic and old but still useable. Once you have this consciousness instilled in you, it just seems like you'll begin to find more stuff if you want to.

Jenna2472
Jenna2472

Thrift stores.  And I wear my shoes until they literally fall apart.

becca
becca

I shop at thrift stores, have my own bags, and don't really shop for clothes all that frequently. I work in a casual environment (jeans, etc.) so do not need up-scale clothing for work.

steph
steph

I wear stuff forever. I still have a favorite pair of shorts from 1978. I have my mom's stuff from the 50s and 60s. And when I do have to buy things, I try to stay away from brands, like Gap, that have disappointed me by falling apart in a few months. 

Joliluja
Joliluja

I usually buy stuff online when there is a good deal. I rarely ever go to the store to buy clothes.

Michelle
Michelle

I do not shop for clothes or shoes, I only buy when I need something and I always check my local Goodwill or second hand shops first.  When I buy I try to buy products from natural fibers and that are made to last.  And of course no bag please...I bring my own handmade bags.

B
B

I just wanted to add my love for Feelgoodz, especially since I wear flip flops a lot when it rains (its easier to just let my feet get wet than it is to try to keep socks dry!), but the drugstore variety didn't have much traction.  The natural rubber Feelgoodz are much better (and safer!).

Angela S
Angela S

forgot to mention that I can count on one hand all of the new clothes I've bought in the past year! I now only buy upcycled clothing from thrift stores, consignment etc. so this giveaway is perfect for me!

Angela S
Angela S

I wear a size 8, they should fit me!

step7283
step7283

I reduce plastic consumption in shopping by wearing clothes until they are no longer wearable.

Molly
Molly

I try to only buy second hand clothes so that way I'm extending the life of an old shirt or pair of pants that aren't yet ready for the rag bin or landfill. I find really cute and stylish clothes and it's neat to think of all the stories behind them.

julsie
julsie

I'm an average size, so I have trouble finding decent clothes secondhand because they're all gone.  But I buy most of my kids' clothes secondhand, and they get hand-me-downs from cousins.  I've been trying to buy more organic cotton, but everything seems to come in a plastic wrapper anyway.  I've been wearing out the same old clothes for years, so my mom gets frustrated and buys me new ones.  I don't know where she buys them or how much plastic they're wrapped in, but the ethical dilemma is off my shoulders while I keep searching for elusive plastic-free women's clothing that doesn't consist of t-shirts and hoodies.

Radicalturtle
Radicalturtle

When Shopping I mostly opt for cotton -- it lasts a lot longer and it significantly cuts down my choices. That means I also purchase less too!

twinkbeauty
twinkbeauty

My friends and I do bi-annual clothing swaps. Most of us have kids, too, so we bring outgrown kid's clothes, and discards from our own wardrobes- it is so fun to shop from someone else's closet! I also like to alter clothing- when its got a stain, cover it with a homemade patch from an outgrown favorite T, or dye it! A skirt too big for my growing 7 year old gets darts sewn in that can be taken out as she gets bigger. And everything eventually becomes a rag or scrap fabric for quilts.

almostallthetruth
almostallthetruth

I try to purchase secondhand, but the best thing is to not buy unnecessary clothing at all.

Jess
Jess

By purchasing second hand whenever possible and bringing my own bags along. I've been able to find some great vintage dresses, like new jeans, etc. at my local goodwill.

My Plastic-free Life
My Plastic-free Life

Linda, they do make the hemp strapz ones without cinnamon. But only the straps are hemp, not the upper part of the sole. Are you allergic to rubber?

Joanne
Joanne

I bring my own bags everywhere but I don't buy a lot of new clothes these days... just wear out what I have! For my kids (ages 3 & 1), I buy almost all their clothes at consignment.

Christine
Christine

Swapping clothes with other people is a good way of avoiding excess packaging.

Ang
Ang

I rarely buy new, period. I hit the local Goodwill Outlet, since they don't tag their clothing (no paper or plastic tags, yay!), and it's also cheaper since they sell by the pound.

KarinSDCA
KarinSDCA

Like others have mentioned before me, reducing my consumption is the main way I avoid plastic in clothing and shoes. We bring our own canvas/cloth bags, too. I don't own a ton of clothes and shoes. I'm not quite as minimalistic as Bea from ZeroWaste, but I like the concept and have been letting things wear out for a few years now. I did the backward hanger trick (where you turn all your hangers backward -- the awkward way -- and as you use/wash/return the clothes, turn them the comfortable way...at the end of a period of time of your choosing, you give away all the clothes you didn't wear, as evidenced by the hanger position) and chose my birthday of one year to my birthday of the next year in order to capture every season. That was 3-4 years ago and I was already to the point of wearing nearly every item I owned. I gave away those few remaining items and have been VERY selective in purchases.

 

A neighbor and I swap shoes. We happen to wear the same size and have similar shaped feet and treat our shoes gently...works well for us and gives shoes another life when we're bored and it "doubles" our shoe wardrobe for those one-off situations when you need something unusual for an event.

 

When I go to thrift stores, I have a hard time finding clothing to wear. I can get some of my daughter's clothes second-hand, but our sizes seem to be the least well-stocked (or most popular???). We do find those "costume" or unusual items we need at thrift stores and I alter them to suit our needs. Turned a purple football jersey (50 cents) into several camping mess kit bags last summer that we continue to use. She needed a white blouse for two events last year and two events this year. She was a girls size small/medium at the time, but we found a short-sleeve ladies white blouse (50 cents) that I took in and fixed the rip. She even got creative and has worn it dozens of other times in various ways.

 

Leaving the hangers and shoe boxes at the store is something we do, as well. I specifically request they be reused, but I have witnessed employees throwing them away. Now, I ask what will happen if I leave this with you? before deciding.

Michelle
Michelle

Bringing my own bags works for me. I leave a few in the car so I always have them on hand.

Heather Macdonald
Heather Macdonald

I love the idea of burying/composting these flip flops in the backyard when no longer wearable.

I am transitioning my clothing to natural fibers with low impact dyes. I like to shop for new clothes at my local fair trade store and  have also discovered Ibex brand   wool clothing for outdoor activities. I choose silk for a base layer.  Using worn out natural fiber clothes as a

first mulch layer in flower and shrub beds is a good final use for them. Just cut up into a single layer and put in between plants, then cover with a pretty mulch as the top layer. It  works great to suppress weeds and will disappear over time.

Jessica M
Jessica M

Buying secondhand and using my own shopping bag.

Eve Stavros
Eve Stavros

Like most of the commentors, I shop at thrift shops.  But I'm trying to follow Bea Jo'hnson's (Zero Waste Home) wardrobe approach and only have a limited number of items (Bea's tally: 9 tops, 5 sweaters,  5 bottoms, 3 dresses, 6 shoes, 3 bags, 5 jackets, plus accessories).  If I take everything else "out of circulation" and wear only these selected items for a year, I'll be able to "shop" from my own closet for years!!!  Think of all the money I'll save!  She's trying an amazing fashion $$$ saver this summer - wearing a men's shirt for two months:  I'm inspired. https://twitter.com/#!/zerowastehome

 

Here's a cool idea for what to do with those old flip flops -  make them into slippers:  http://www.craftynest.com/2009/02/old-flip-flops-bath-towel-slippers/

LauraKaeding
LauraKaeding

I save plastic as much as I can. With my shoes, since I don't really have a lot of cash, I just wear them until they fall to pieces. Sometimes I luck out and find some shoes at the thrift store, but other than that I try to splurge a bit and buy a higher quality shoe that will last me 5x as long as the cheaper shoes. Same with clothes, I usually buy them at thrift stores, or accept (generously and happily!) hand-me-downs from friends and family.

Rita
Rita

When I pack my lunch and my husband's lunch we utilize reusable sandwich bags from Re-usies.com.  They are made of cloth and vinyl.  I use a cloth garment bag for my husband's shirts at the dry cleaners, so they do not wrap them in plastic bags.  When we go out to eat, I take along with me a tupperware container for leftovers.  Yes, it is plastic, but I purchased it when I was first married, 25 years ago.  And this way we do not use a new plastic or styrofoam container.  We grow some of our own food and are now members of a CSA and I use cloth bags for pick-ups. And I continue to learn more ways to extend our harvest by freezing and canning.   I use cloth bags at the grocery store.  We purchase our pickles freshly made from a pickle vendor who sells them in plastic containers but the vendor allows me to use glass mason jars.  We make our own juices and sun tea and sun coffee.   I bake our own desserts.  We use very little store purchased processed foods.  I purchase many of my clothes second hand.  Thank you for this blog and your many ideas. 

SkyeFerguson
SkyeFerguson

My favorite plastic free was is always bring my 100% cotton handmade grocery bags to the market. I have it one step further by using cotton clothing from yard sales or thrift stores. Mine are unique and using jeans that are 100% cotton are extra durable

arbor
arbor

I love your idea of giving away your Cinnamon flipflops; thanks for inspiring all of us to write.  I have bought two wonderful coats at summer fairs.  Two summers ago, when I was living in Humboldt County, I bought an all-wool full-length coat (with hood!) from a North Country Fair vendor from Oregon,  at a very decent price, You can find Circle Creations on the web here:  http://circlecreations.net/index.php?main_page=page&id=6 and see when they will be in your area.

 

Just last week, I bought a hemp and cotton-lined jacket (with hood!) from a small clothing company - also selling at a festival.  They were discontinuing that line, so it was discounted.  That company is Satori Movement, www.satorimovement.com. The hemp is lined with cotton, so it isn't itchy at all.

 

I like buying directly from vendors at fairs, as the prices are generally lower than at stores.  I chose wool and hemp because they are fairly waterproof materials, and warm. I've seen a lot of hemp/cotton blends, but very few that are strictly hemp on the outside. 

 

When visiting the Satori Movement website, I noticed that they are skateboarding fanatics, and they will accept skateboard wheels through the mail, which they are actively recycling into new wheels, using mostly post-consumer materials.  So that's way cool, isn't it?

Plain Jane
Plain Jane

@Rita With all of your great awareness, I am surprised that you still use the dry-cleaning method for your husband's shirts. Maybe you have a dry-cleaner who doesn't use toxic chemicals. If so, I would love to know about that!