A few months ago Payless Shoe Source added an organic/recycled brand to their extended library of shoes, Zae & Zac. At first I had some doubts about the success, the style, and how organic these shoes really were. In the line of style, these shoes are much better than I anticipated. While primarily flats and sandals, there are a few sneakers and slingbacks that can be used for everyday wearing. The wide variety of color and designs will be sure to make every pair applicable to nearly every occasion. The only drawback I can think of here is that, as of yet, there is no formal shoes, but in the realm of casual wear Zoe and Zac is there to cater your needs.
My problem with this line in terms of style is the overall lack of men’s shoes. Plenty of men shop at Simple Shoes (where the idea for this brand came from) but there are none found from the Zeo and Zac line. Even in childrens, while girl’s shoes exist there are no boy versions. While statistically more women care about organic shoes and the planet, there are men (much like myself) who would like to see some organic shoes for themselves.
In terms of price, the Zeo and Zac is surprisingly cheap. Now you may think I mean cheap in terms of organic shoes, but I mean in terms of regular shoes. There are some selling for about $7, some for $20, but none over $30. So for once you won’t be breaking the bank with these shoes. It was actually this that made me wonder if these shoes were really as organic as they claimed.
Starting with the box, which is 100% recycled and printed with soy inks, we are introduced with an eco-friendly packaging to just as eco-friendly shoes. Mostly from recycled rubber and organic cotton, these shoes are just as organic or recycled as they claim. For those of you who are green lovers this will come as a great reason alone to buy these shoes. But, there was something I was worried about.
A lot of people automatically associate organic with free trade. For those of you who don’t know what free trade is, it means that the people actually creating the shoe get a livable wage, not the equivalent of pennies a day. However, sadly enough, some companies like to give you organic products at the price of starving children.
With the combination of cheap prices, and my initial suspicions that Zeo and Zac was not organic, I believed that these shoes weren’t fair trade. However, I was pleasantly surprised. They are actually an organic AND free trade facility.
So far my only complaint is the lack of men’s shoes. Fix that, and they got my vote. Great styles, prices, and helping the environment and giving families great wages? That sounds like more than enough reason to pay $20 for any pair of shoes.