For those of you who live in your flip-flops (or slippers, if you’re from Hawaii), we’ve got a great, new, sustainable product for you to try! Cocoze is a brand of flip-flops made out of coconut fiber. While this may come as a surprise to some, coconut fiber is actually one of the strongest natural fibers that exist. This means that Cocoze shoes are extremely durable, and also salt water-resistant (think of a coconut floating across the ocean – they’ve got to be salt water resistant to make it to the next island!)
Cocoze was a surprising by-product of the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill. Two of the cofounders of Cocoze were attempting to develop an effective way of cleaning up oil and started experimenting with coco peat (also know as coir or coir pith, this is made from coconut husks). They developed an interest in working with coconut fiber, and started using it to make household items like sponges and bath mats. Soon one of the founders, Pierre Thomson, tested out a pair of shoes cut from coconut fiber and tied it to his foot with string. It didn’t take long to realize how durable, comfortable, and beneficial the shoes were to his feet, so he started making more by hand in his basement in British Columbia. Though the shoes are not made in his basement anymore, they’re still made by hand in a small factory in Thailand that Pierre often visits to work directly with and develop personal relationships with the employees.
Since coconut fiber is usually considered waste in Thailand, Pierre and the other cofounders have successfully figured out a way of turning a typical waste product into a biodegradable piece of clothing. Coconuts are found in abundance in many areas of the world, and regrow relatively quickly (an average palm tree can produce anywhere from 25-75 coconuts a year), making it a renewable resource. The fiber is combined with natural rubber for flexibility, added durability and comfort. This natural rubber has been dried out in the sun, helping to reduce the already small carbon footprint of Cocoze shoes.
Cocoze are also incredibly healthy for your feet. The natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of coco peat help fight off and heal foot fungus like athletes foot, and allow the shoes to stay odor free (perfect for after-gym shoes!). Coconut fiber also has low heat conductivity, helping to keep your feet cool in warm conditions and warm in cool conditions. Cocoze shoes exfoliate your feet, naturally rubbing off the dead skin cells and encouraging new skin growth (acting as a walking pedicure!). The most beneficial quality of Cocoze shoes, however, is how they can actually increase blood circulation in your feet and clean out the largest pores on your body. For people who sit or stand for hours at work everyday, blood circulation to your feet can be a serious issue that can lead to swollen feet. Diabetics and pregnant women typically have this problem as well. Your feet are one of the most vascularized regions of your body, so cleaning out these pores is essential and can help to regulate and release toxins from your system.
Though Cocoze shoes are not currently for sale on their website, you can help by contributing to the Cocoze Kickstarter campaign that started Sunday, April 6, 2014. Normally the shoes sell at $48 a pair, but through the Kickstarter campaign they will be $37 a pair (including shipping!). Pledge early and treat your feet to their new favorite shoes!
Our friends at Cocoze Shoes want to give one lucky Raintees blog reader a pair to call their own.
Cocoze Coconut Fiber Shoes Giveaway
How to Enter:
- Giveaway starts Monday, April 7, 2014 and will run thu Wednesday, April 30, 2014
- One winner will be randomly chosen from all Rafflecopter entries
- Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents
- Winner will be notified via email within 72 hours of drawing and the winner’s choice of “Latte” or “Sienna” Cocoze Shoe will be shipped to the address provided
Ayja is a recent Santa Clara University graduate who double majored in Environmental Studies and Music and minored in Creative Writing. She grew up in Sandy, Utah, and spent her childhood skiing, rock climbing and hiking in the Wasatch Mountains. Now living in Palo Alto, California, Ayja spends her free time reading, writing, running, and researching sustainable efforts around the world. She’s passionate about sustainable agriculture, international development, and environmental education, and hopes to combine her passion for writing with her love of nature and travel.