As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, fashion brands are taking notice and building shoes from recycled materials.
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The folks over at Grounded People set out to make a shoe that’s uncompromising in its sustainability and style, and with Franca, they hit the nail on the head.
As soon as I opened the box, I was struck by the sleek and minimalist design of the shoe. The all-black canvas upper and rubber sole give it a clean and modern look, while the tan logo tag adds a touch of contrast.
The metal eyelets are a nice detail, and the clean, simple design makes them easy to dress up or down, depending on the occasion.
The extra laces included in the box are part of a charity program; pick the color you like and 100% of the proceeds will go to the cause associated with your choice.
The option to donate made me feel like I was part of a community committed to sustainability, and it’s one of many features that set Grounded People apart from the competition.
After trying on the shoe, I noticed that it was somewhat rigid and lacking in insole padding, which made me wonder about how comfortable it would be in the long term.
- Vegan shoes made from 100% recycled materials
- Unique features like metal eyelets and extra laces for charity
- Handmade construction by a small team of artisans
- Sleek and minimalist design
- Durable and long-lasting
- 5 year warranty
- Rigid construction makes it less comfortable than other sneakers, so they may require a break in period
- A bit expensive compared to other sneakers on the market
One of the best things about the Franca is its durability. Made from 100% recycled materials and with a handmade construction by a small team of artisans, this shoe is built to last.
The upper canvas is constructed of 100% Premium recycled cotton, and I found it to be robust yet breathable.
The shoes are fairly lightweight, meaning they’re a good option if you plan to be moving around a lot. The canvas upper and rubber sole are both sturdy and should hold up well over time.
The soles are made from recycled car tires, and it’s clear the shoemakers have a lot of attention to detail when it comes to their assembly.
Unlike other mass produced shoes, Franca’s soles are well contoured and adhered together for a seamless construction. Don’t expect to find any cookie-cutter pieces of fabric or rubber; these materials are custom shaped and carved out with a clear intention.
Plus, by adding extra laces to your order for a donation, you can easily swap out worn or dirty laces to extend the life of your shoes.
The Franca runs true to size and has a snug fit around the ankle, thanks to its high top design. The canvas upper and sole are a bit stiff at first, but will likely soften with wear.
However, I did notice some discomfort around the toe box due to the shoe’s rigidity. Overall, the fit is good, but the Franca could feel narrow until broken in.
While the Franca is stylish and eco-friendly, comfort is where it falls a bit short. The rigid sole and lack of insole padding make it less comfortable than other sneakers I’ve worn.
I can see this being an issue for those who spend long hours on their feet, or for those with foot conditions like plantar fasciitis.
However, if you don’t mind less supportive shoes, or you’re willing to add an extra insole, the Franca should have all the comfort you need.
Franca is not the cheapest sneaker on the market. You’ll be paying a bit more than a pair of Converse, but that’s because you’re getting 100% recycled shoes that are handmade by a small team of artisans. When you consider all that Franca has to offer, the price is reasonable.
If you’re looking for ethical footwear that’s both stylish and long lasting, Franca is definitely worth the investment.
Who It’s Good For
The Grounded People Franca is ideal for young men who are looking to build an eco-friendly and forward-thinking wardrobe.
Whether you’re a college student who cares about the environment or a young professional who wants to make a statement with your footwear, the Franca is a great option. However, if you have foot conditions that require extra padding, you may want to look elsewhere.
What are Sustainable Shoes?
Sustainable shoes are designed and produced with a reduced environmental impact in mind. The shoes are made from recycled or organic materials through a production process with reduced energy consumption and waste.
There is often a focus on fair labor practices, working conditions, and wages for anyone involved with manufacturing. Sustainable footwear can also be designed with durability in mind, so that the shoes last longer and need to be replaced less frequently.
If you’re curious to learn about other sustainable footwear brands, check out Thousand Fell and Nisolo, who both offer an environmentally friendly product line at a competitive price.
Other Grounded People Shoes
I loved Franca, but check out the rest of their catalog for different color options on cruelty free shoes, as well as a low-top variant of the shoe which shares many of the positive qualities I mentioned in this review.
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Sean Hickey is a writer who graduated from UMass Amherst with a degree in philosophy. He is a regular contributor to the Six Minute Mile newsletter, as well as a filmmaker, photographer, and musician. When he’s not doing any of those things, Sean is combing the web for the best deals on colognes, shoes, and whatever else he can find to craft an expressive style.