I first came across Terra Plana shoes quite by accident about a year ago and was immediately impressed by they’re unique aesthetic and use of traditional craftsmanship. This was before I learned that the company also differentiates itself through a very environmentally and socially conscious approach to making and designing shoes. The brand’s eco-credentials come from their use of recycled rubber, vegetable tanned leather and other materials such as re-used lasts – the wooden tool used to mold shoes. They also employ the use of stitched constructions to avoid the use of adhesives and glues, which often contain harmful chemicals. All of these material elements are combined with the latest in technology to provide remarkably light-weight designs, including some very ground-breaking products like their VivoBarefoot line which attempts to replicate the benefits of walking barefoot. The Vivo line was even featured in the London Design Museum publication 50 Shoes that Changed the World.
Some of Terra Plana’s recent offerings take things a step further by incorporating reclaimed South Asian quilts into their designs. The vibrant cotton quilts come from the traditional work of the Kuch tribe, residing in parts of Pakistan and Bangladesh. By incorporating the quilt work, the company is helping to support a regional hand-craft industry rather than relaying on large factory produced alternatives. Since different quilts are applied to the same designs the customer is able to have their own unique pair, as each shoe includes a different section, pattern and color.