The world of shoes, and especially sneakers, is changing at such a pace that even those in the know have a tough time keeping up. One of the great sources of innovation has been the use of sustainable materials and a focus on renewable production. This has led to dozens of new brands and some of the established brands slowly starting to realize they need to clean up the ecological mess on their supply chain. One of the brands focusing on sustainable solutions is MIRET, a Croatian sneaker company.
At the beginning of 2020, MIRET launched their second generation of eco sneakers made from 97% natural materials on Kickstarter and the shoes are now available to purchase on their website. I got my hands / feet on a pair of their Erilo Octopus Ink (black) sneakers to test out and here is what I found.
What Are They?
They are MIRET Erilo Octopus Ink hi-top sneakers that are more mid-tops compared to some true hi-tops you will see from basketball sneakers. MIRET also has other sizes, colors and shapes for their sneakers as well including lows.
What Are They Made Of?
The shoes are made of 97% natural materials, replacing synthetic materials with hemp, kenaf, cork, corn, jute, eucalyptus, rubber tree, and New Zealand wool. The ergonomic insole is cork, which is bacteria-resistant. Laces are eucalyptus, reinforcements are kenaf, jute, and corn. MIRET outsoles are made out of purely natural latex. They have won several awards for design and material sourcing. The shoes are hand-crafted in Croatia.
How Do They Look?
First and foremost, they look very good. I didn’t have a pair of shoes like these, so they filled a gap in the wardrobe. I got them about a month ago before it got super hot, so they work best with pants, but since they aren’t too high, they can work with some pairs of shorts as well, especially the lows. Many of the colors are pretty adventurous, so you can match them to your personal style and color schemes. The black and blue-ish green works with just about any pair of pants and the laces bring it all together. They look stylish on your feet, which can work as semi-formal wear to something just for hanging out.
This is where things got a little dicey at first. They are pretty flat, so if you need a ton of arch support, they may not be for you. There is some arch support, but not like some running shoes. The first couple of times I wore them, my lower right ankle hurt a lot afterwards. I re-laced them and tightened them, but it kept happening. This is the first shoe that has made my ankle hurt. I didn’t get blisters or any other normal breaking in pain. After a several times wearing them however, the pain stopped and they felt better.
They can still feel a little hard when you are walking, so if you plan on replacing sneakers with loads of support and bounce, I would still keep those. However, they still have some bounce and are better than the dress shoes or heels that are guaranteed to make your feet bleed. They may not be the best for going on a 10 mile hike up rocks, but for walking and being out and about, these are good.
My sneakers were $139, but they have others that are cheaper as well. Get your pair here.
The MIRET sneakers could be a little more comfortable, but given the benefits of buying sustainably sourced shoes that look good, the benefits outweigh the negatives. You need to be prepared to break these in, but once you do, they look good on your feet. You will feel good about having a pair of these, which are made using with sustainable natural resources.