The perfect pair is no longer just about being stylish or fashionable, but about being good for the environment.
That’s the takeaway from new research from fashion experts.
In a study published in the journal Science Advances, scientists from Harvard, Oxford and Columbia University compared the environmental impact of the use of footwear versus that of a synthetic fabric.
The researchers found that footwear made of recycled materials could reduce the amount of plastic pollution by 40 percent.
The research was conducted by an international team of researchers led by a professor of environmental studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, David Pimentel.
“Our research has shown that using recycled materials can reduce the impact of plastic litter in the environment,” Pimentels co-author, Professor Daniela Dominguez-Tello, told Science.
“This means that a pair of sneakers could be a sustainable solution to the environmental challenges facing the world.”
Pimentes findings are consistent with those of previous research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which found that recycled materials are safer to use than synthetic materials in the treatment of cancer.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from a sample of 1,906 pairs of shoes from stores in Japan, China, Brazil and the United States.
The shoes were made up of over 600 materials, including plastic, glass, polycarbonate, leather, nylon, rubber, polystyrene, glass fiber, and wood.
The scientists measured the amount and carbon footprint of each of the shoes and analyzed how they were manufactured.
The results showed that the materials used in the shoes were responsible for the largest amount of carbon dioxide emissions in the process.
The researchers then compared the impact the shoes made with the synthetic materials, with the results being even more stark.
They found that synthetic materials had a carbon footprint about 30 times that of recycled footwear.
The difference was especially pronounced in China, where synthetic materials are made to meet an even higher standard.
According to the research, the synthetic material materials were also more environmentally friendly, but with a lower environmental impact.
They could be reused or recycled again, and the amount spent on environmental protection was significantly less.