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January 20, 2018 / 12:27 pm EST

Fashion and Accessories

Chipkos Sandals
Chipkos SandalsMar 4, 2012
Saving the Rainforest, One Customer at a Time

It's always a great feeling when someone compliments you on a new item of clothing or accessory. Wouldn't it also be great if you could smile, say "thank you," and inform them that your new item also saved 100 square feet of endangered rainforest? If the item in question is a Chipkos sandal, you can do just that and possibly inspire the other person to save another 100 square feet themselves. It's all made possible by Chipkos Footwear, a company that focuses on eco-friendly footwear but has a much bigger mission. Every time a person purchases from Chipkos, another piece of the rainforest is protected from developers, deforestation and loss of valuable plant and animal species. It may seem like a small act, simply purchasing a pair of shoes. But over time, every person who sports these uniquely square shaped sandals on their feet can say they had a important role in saving the rainforest.


The story of Chipkos Footwear begins years ago; several hundred years ago to be exact. In the 17th century, villagers staged a peaceful protest against logging by attaching themselves quite literally to the trees. This "sticking," known as Chipko in sanskrit, became the first environmental effort in recorded history and inspired Chipkos Footwear founder Priya Dua to name her footwear company after that first important effort. The sandals themselves are based on an Indian sandal known for their durability and comfort called the Osho chappal. The Chipkos sandals combine this deep history with an environmental commitment that also includes making them 100% vegan and using environmentally friendly materials. 


We've all heard many of the statistics on the devastating effects that losing our rainforests could cause. Animals and plants that call the rainforest home would be displaced or wiped out. The effect on our planet resulting from the loss of the rainforest environment would be devastating. According to Chipkos Footwear, the very real possibility that all the rainforests would disappear in 50 years if we continue as we are at this moment would cause lasting, irreversible damage. Rather than let it get to that point, Chipkos and its partner, a non-profit organization called, are adding to the rainforest, 100 square feet at a time. Each purchase of a pair of shoes from Chipkos causes a 100 square foot parcel of rainforest in Costa Rica to be purchased. Once purchased, that parcel of forest is protected by the national government indefinitely. This means that one pair of shoes can save a stand of trees, a jaguar, an animal's habitat and a handful of exotic plants-all at once.


While even an uncomfortable or ugly shoe would be worth wearing if it saved the rainforest, fortunately this is not the case with Chipkos sandals. Customers who buy Chipkos sandals say the shoes are durable, non-slip, versatile and long-lasting. The simple design and materials, featuring raffia fiber, recycled EVA and rubber, non-toxic adhesive, and canvas straps, means that the sandals can be worn on the beach, in the city, during vacations and just about everywhere else. However, the reason you may keep them on your feet once you wear them is because they are highly comfortable, which is hard to find in a traditional flip flop. In fact, many customers rave that the Chipkos sandals are the most comfortable flip flops they have ever worn!


In addition to sandals, Chipkos also offers the AHIMSA Wrist Cuffs, which are made by Indian artisans of eco-friendly copper with two healing magnets. The combination of the copper and the magnets are said to balance the energies of the body. The purchase of a wrist cuff will also ensure that 100 square feet of rainforest is saved from destruction. Whether you are looking for comfortable eco-friendly sandals or a unique handmade piece, what your money actually buys is far more rare and precious. In fact, saving the rainforest 100 square feet at a time is priceless.

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