Ethical interior design choices | Home and Outdoor Living


Consumers are increasingly concerned about their ecological footprint and want to support companies that care about the well-being of their employees. When it comes to furnishing, decorating or renovating their homes, sustainability and eco-responsibility reign supreme. Here’s an overview of some of the trends in interior design.



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Datamesh and Sypaq drones lead tech category


At least 500 of its drones to the Ukraine forces, with soldiers able to assemble the sturdy wax-covered cardboard aircraft easily with minimal tools, load the payload, program the avionics module with the target location and launch the air vehicle.

Crypto payments

DataMesh chief executive Mark Nagy, a long-time payments technology specialist who was part of the team that led design and creation of the Commonwealth Bank’s Albert platform, says the volume of crypto payments on the platform is small, but on the rise.

“I don’t know whether it’s because times are tough now and people want to spend cryptocurrency, maybe that’s why we’re seeing a volume uptick,” Nagy says.

Without the platform, merchants can’t accept crypto payments through their existing POS terminals and consumers need to convert the digital currency into fiat money to spend it. DataMesh’s platform automates settlements in AUD meaning that merchants are not subject to cryptocurrency fluctuations.

“No one else has done it, because it’s a disaster to do,” Nagy says.

“We’ve been architecting this platform for many, many years to actually be able to respond to these kind of requirements.”

The underlying technology platform can also used to enable consumers to use their Qantas points to pay for a meal at Seagrass Boutique Hospitality venues such as Meat & Wine Co and Five Guys.

Also among the runners-up was Brisbane-based company Universal Field Robots, which has developed a system that can turn existing mining equipment into an autonomous vehicle.

More than 35 machines operating across 10 major mines for companies such as BHP, Newcrest and Anglo American have been fitted with the modular package of hardware and software, known as UFRautonomy.

Jeff Sterling, the managing director of Universal Field Robots, says the system means mines can automate their equipment, such as haul trucks, without buying an expensive new piece of machinery or waiting for OEMs to manufacture new robotic and autonomous systems.

“It’s an incremental change in costs for a dramatic change in outcome,” Sterling says.

The eight-year-old company is starting to field larger customer orders, with demand driven by a shortage of FIFO workers and a great focus on keeping workers out of the heat and safe in air-conditioned control rooms.

Lululemon deal

The first clothes made from recycled plastic will appear in Lululemon stores next year, thanks to a partnership with Samsara Eco, a start-up that uses plastic-eating enzymes to produce recycled packaging and fabric.

Samsara Eco, which is backed by Woolworths, has engineered an enzyme that can break down the nylon that is most commonly used in textiles.

CEO Paul Riley, right, in Samsara Eco’s lab at the Australian National University in Canberra.  Martin Ollman

The original chemical building blocks can then be recovered and reused an infinite number of times without any loss in quality, meaning old clothes can forever be made into new ones.

Working with Lululemon, the recycling start-up has spent the last 18 months conducting trials which turned damaged product and post-industrial waste such as nylon car parts back into thread.

As part of the partnership the fashion retailer also made a minority investment in Samara Eco.

“We’re in the process now of making some clothing that will be on sale next year through Lululemon stores, which will be the first enzymatically recycled clothing anywhere in the world,” says chief executive Paul Riley.

Fabrics are notoriously difficult to recycle because they are made from a complex blend of materials, including plastics such as nylon and polyester, which are derived from fossil fuels. The vast majority of clothes eventually end up in landfill.

Samsara has engineered different enzymes which have each been developed to break down a specific form of plastic, which allows the company to break down products made from a mix of plastics and other fibres, ready to be turned into a new product.

The company is currently building a $25 million research and development facility outside Canberra which will produce 1000 tonnes of polyester and 1000 tonnes of nylon each year.

The recycling tech start-up raised $54 million last year from Breakthrough Victoria, Temasek, Assembly Climate Capital, DCVC and INP Capital, which joined existing investors Main Sequence, Woolworths Group’s W23 and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Innovation Fund.

Founded in 2020, the company is still in the demonstration phase, meaning the technology has progressed from the lab and has found customers who are willing to pay for the product.

The next step towards commercialisation, which requires serious capital to grow the business operations to an industrial scale.

Samsara Eco is planning to raise more capital over the next six months to fund its expansion plans and build first commercial scale plants in Europe and North American which would be capable of producing 20,000 to 30,000 tonnes a year.

“We’re coming to market quicker than we’d anticipated and we’re coming to market in more geographies than we anticipated,” Riley says.

“We’ll be raising capital to support our expansion into North America and into Europe as we build out these facilities.”

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Shein X Designer Incubator Program unveils first collection


shein sustainable fashion

Image credit: Sourced from Shein

Shein, a global, integrated fashion and lifestyle marketplace announced the release of a new collection created by designers from the Shein X Designer Incubator Program.

The released collections come under Shein’s product initiative titled “evoluSHEIN by Design”.

Shein shifts focus to sustainable fashion

This initiative is aimed at accelerating the use of preferred materials and scaling responsible manufacturing processes.

The fashion giant said in its release that each of the six US-based Shein X designers launching these new collections – Alexandria Carroll, Anke Wonder, Farah Naz, Jacqueline City, Lauren Flagg, and Lillian Butterworth – were handpicked based on their passion for sustainable fashion.

“As a fashion company, our products are the biggest opportunity for impact, so we launched our evoluSHEIN by Design initiative to promote sustainable product development across Shein,” said Caitrin Watson, Shein’s director of sustainability.

“The six designers launching collections today are already independently incorporating sustainability into their personal brands and have expressed that using these lower-impact materials is really important to them moving forward. We’re excited to open this up to our Shein X designers and beyond, and to hopefully inspire the next generation of sustainability-conscious fashion creators.”

To meet the evoluSHEIN by Design standard, garments must consist of at least 30 per cent preferred materials, like recycled polyester, forest-safe viscose, and rescued deadstock, and be manufactured by suppliers that have achieved high social and environmental compliance verification through third-party audits.

All pieces are also produced using Shein’s small-batch, on-demand production model and shipped in packaging made with recycled content.

“We’re sending out a message about how we’re trying to be more sustainable, how we’re trying to get people more involved with using sustainable fabrics and shopping sustainable clothing to help us cut down the waste,” said Flagg, the designer behind Shein X Obviously Vintage. “This is the route that we want to go with fashion.”

Shein X Designer Incubator Program

The Shein X Designer Incubator Program is designed to guide independent fashion designers and artists through the process that brings their ideas to life – from product development to manufacturing, to marketing and supply chain logistics.

Since its launch, nearly 3,000 designers and artists from around the world have leveraged Shein’s industry-leading, on-demand production to launch more than 25,000 original creations.

In September 2023, the fashion house announced it will invest an additional $50m in the Shein X programme over five years, bringing the company’s total investment to $105m through 2028.

Also read: Dubai Fashion Week to begin on October 9

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The Best Sandals for Women of 2023


Hot days call for cool, comfortable feet, whether you’re on or off the trail. And just like any other footwear, a supportive, comfortable, and reliable pair of sandals can ensure a seamless transition through your day, no matter the summer activity.

Our dedicated team of athletes spent months this summer testing sandals in challenging craggy terrain, over river crossings, on beaches, and during everyday activities to determine the best sandals for women. Based on our personal experiences, we focused on maximum comfort, traction, and durability to key in on the 10 best of the best to free your feet.

Additional consideration was also given to the finer details, such as support, water compatibility, adjustments, style, and weight. After compiling our expertise in footwear, we created a list of the best sandals for multiple occasions because after all, each personal preference is unique — and so your options should be the same. 

We’ve broken down our favorites into categories to help you choose the best sandal for your needs. And for more information on selecting the right sandal, check out our comparison table along with our in-depth buyer’s guide and FAQ to help you choose the right sandal. 

The Best Sandals for Women of 2023

Best Overall Women’s Sandal

  • Weight (per pair)
    1 lb., 3.4 oz.
  • Adjustment zones
  • Closure
    Strap (buckle)
  • Arch profile
    High (3/8″ proud)
  • Outsole
    1″ thick ChacoGrip rubber with 3 mm lugs
  • Best for
    Regular hikes, walks, and meet-ups with friends

The Best Sandals for Women of 2023

  • Great no-slip traction sole

  • Amazing comfort

  • Multidirectional adjustment

  • Fun strap designs

  • A little heavy at over 1 pound

  • Webbing slightly abrasive before wear-in

  • No half sizes available

Best Budget Women’s Sandal

  • Weight (per pair)
    11 oz.
  • Adjustment zones
  • Closure
    Strap (Velcro)
  • Outsole
    1″ thick Teva rubber outsole
  • Best for
    Water activities, everyday use

The Best Sandals for Women of 2023

  • Affordable price

  • Lightweight

  • Comfortable

  • Fun color palette

  • Made for water

  • Doesn’t feel incredibly durable

  • No half sizes

Runner-Up Best Women’s Sandal

  • Weight (per pair)
    1 lb., 2 oz.
  • Adjustment zones
  • Closure
    Strap (Velcro)
  • Outsole
    1″ thick Teva Spider rubber
  • Best for
    Those who want an any-activity sandal

The Best Sandals for Women of 2023

  • Multiple adjustment points

  • Excellent support

  • Great traction

  • Contoured footbed

  • Impressive comfort

  • Slightly clunky

  • Not designed for extended water usage

Most Comfortable Women’s Sandal

  • Weight (per pair)
  • Adjustment zones
  • Closure
  • Outsole
    OOfoam footbed
  • Best for
    Those who want to give their tired feet a break

The Best Sandals for Women of 2023

  • Superb comfort

  • Easy to slip on

  • Budget-friendly option

  • Not great with moisture

  • No half sizes

Best Everyday Women’s Sandal

  • Weight (per pair)
    14.2 oz.
  • Adjustment zones
  • Closure
    Buckle (metal pins)
  • Outsole
    3/4″ thick EVA with 3 mm lugs
  • Best for
    For a causal everyday wear

The Best Sandals for Women of 2023

  • Highly durable

  • High-quality

  • Comes in half sizes and different widths

  • Comfortable and form-fitting right out of the gate

  • Expensive

  • Require maintenance

  • Not vegan friendly

Best Women’s Sandal for Adventures

  • Weight (per pair)
    1 lb., 1 oz.
  • Adjustment zones
  • Closure
    Bungee lace
  • Outsole
    1″ thick KEEN.Fusion rubber
  • Best use
    For anyone looking for an extreme adventure sandal

The Best Sandals for Women of 2023

  • Toe protection

  • Incredibly durable

  • Great support

  • Fast lace-lock bungee system

  • Heel loop

  • Come in half-sizes

  • Expensive

  • Not the most flattering

  • Pebbles get caught inside the sandal

Most Minimal Multitasker Sandal

  • Weight (per pair)
    16 oz.
  • Adjustment zones
  • Closure
    Strap (buckle/Velcro)
  • Outsole
    1/2″ thick Cairn Vibram sole with 3 mm lugs
  • Best for
    Light multisports

The Best Sandals for Women of 2023

  • Barely there feel

  • Surprisingly sturdy and capable

  • Unisex sizing

  • On the expensive side

  • Run a bit small

  • No half sizes available

Best of the Rest

  • Weight (per pair)
    14.6 oz.
  • Adjustment zones
  • Closure
    Strap (buckle)
  • Outsole
    3/4″ thick ChacoGrip rubber with 3 mm lugs
  • Best for
    Those who want to look stylish while outdoors

The Best Sandals for Women of 2023

  • Great traction

  • Stylish

  • Lightweight

  • Toe loops aren’t for everyone

  • Design isn’t very secure

  • No half sizes

  • Weight (per pair)
    8.6 oz.
  • Adjustment zones
  • Closure
    Strap (buckle/Velcro)
  • Outsole
    1/2″ thick FeelLite with rubber grip pods and 3 mm lugs
  • Best for
    Those who typically like going barefoot

The Best Sandals for Women of 2023

  • Barely there feel

  • Eco friendly

  • Ultra lightweight

  • Comfortable

  • Not ideal for uneven, bumpy terrain

  • Not as durable as other sandals

  • No half sizes

  • Weight
    9 oz.
  • Adjustment zones
  • Closure
  • Outsole
    2″ thick EVA foam with 1.5 mm lugs
  • Best for
    Recovery or lifestyle sandal

The Best Sandals for Women of 2023

  • Extraordinary amount of padding

  • Super lightweight

  • Reasonable price point

  • Runs slightly wide

  • No half sizes

Women’s Sandals Comparison Chart

XERO Trail EV Sandals Apres
Security, comfort, and weight are important factors when considering an everyday sandal; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

How We Tested Women’s Sandals

Rebecca Ross, a longstanding resident of the Pacific Northwest, has called the area her home for more than twenty years. With the Cascade mountain range and the coastal area at her disposal, she has put these sandals to the test while using them for water sports like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding on the Oregon and Washington beaches and rivers, several craggy hikes, and steep approaches in the North Cascades, including the tough approach to Mt. Baker.

Furthermore, the athletes at GearJunkie have a wide range of active interests and have tested countless pairs of footwear, from gnarly mountainous terrain, including volcanoes, in the Pacific Northwest to the high plains and canyons of the Colorado Rockies and everything in between. Our testers sport feet from size 6 to size 11, and run the gambit from wide to narrow to just downright trail-worn.

For our first look at women’s sandals in 2023, we’ve narrowed in on ten of the best from across the spectrum — from casual kicks to pair with a sundress to adaptable and comfy trail hounds that can put up with a few more miles. We then dove straight in, slinging these sandals across the PNW and testing them against one another.

While testing these recommended sandals on ourselves, we made sure to examine comfort, grip, stability, and durability, and brewed up a specific testing regimen for each. Sandals were worn up, over, and across the same terrain, and given relative scores to match their performance in each metric. We’ve evaluated each model thoroughly in accordance with their intended use and the requirements of our own athletes, so you can choose the right sandal for your needs.

HOKA ORA Slides at the Beach
Good testing requires a realistic test bed, and flip flops belong at the beach; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Women’s Sandal

No two sandals are identical, and we wouldn’t want them to be — which means selecting the ideal sandal can be a challenging endeavor. Each one of us has a unique foot shape and needs, whether we’re hiking, running errands, or just relaxing.

And that’s why below we’ve compiled a list of helpful features that will assist you in finding the right sandal based on your preferences.

Women's Sandals Hero
Sandals offer different features, including closure type and adjustment zones; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

Sandal Use Types

Adventure Sandals: Adventure sandals are designed for all-day comfort, toughness, and excellent traction to handle different kinds of trails. These sandals will often be a bit heavier, like the Teva Tirra, because they’ll have thicker outsoles to shield your feet from the uneven, rocky terrain and prevent bruising and fatigue. 

Additionally, these trail-ready sandals will sport multiple adjustment points to make sure they stay on your feet securely and comfortably without friction. Although many of our sandals are geared toward hiking, we often wear them just about everywhere.

Watersport Sandals: Water-ready sandals are specially made to handle both water and trails while maintaining their structural integrity — with no shrinking or wearing out faster than anticipated. They also will incorporate the grippiest outsoles with water-friendly rubbers that won’t give up the ghost when walking through water.

Many sandals can handle the water, but if you want a sandal that will see its fair share of water and dry land, then we recommend a hybrid sandal like the Bedrock Cairn Adventure, or ones that specifically state they are water-friendly, like the Keen Whisper.

Bedrock Cairn Adventure Sandals
The Bedrock Cairn Adventures are equally at home in the water or on dry land; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

Recovery Sandals: These comfort-first sandals are exactly what they sound like — giving your feet a break thanks to their plushness. These types of sandals will focus on providing a high stack height of soft foam or rubber under foot, like that found in the OOFOS OOahh Luxe Slide Sandal and HOKA ORA Recovery Flips.

Feet tend to get neglected when we are shoving them in mountaineering boots, ski boots, running shoes, climbing shoes, or simply standing on our feet all day at work. Taking care of our feet helps us rebound to the next adventure that much faster.

Flip Flops: Beach-ready and just plain easy to use, flip flops are simple sandals — with only a footbed and strap that meets in between your first and second toes. Because they are so simple, a good flip flop really comes down to the comfort of the midsole, and a number in our testing made the grade, such as the HOKA ORA Recovery Flip Sandals. Know too that some models of flip flops buck convention and slap on a more rugged outsole, making for a better beach scrambler.

Lifestyle Sandals: Depending on your preferences, lifestyle sandals can be pretty much any pair from our list. Sandals that are comfy, lightweight, supportive, match your style preferences, and are durable enough to last are the best for everyday wear. The pair we gravitate toward most when trail-to-town is on the docket are the Birkenstock Arizonas.

Birkenstock Arizona Sandals
The classic styling of the Birks meant they went well with pretty much anything; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

Closure Configuration

Slides: Free your feet! You don’t need much to keep your sandals on your feet, and often a simple loop of fabric will provide enough hold to keep you kicking down the road. No closure system is found on the HOKA ORA Recovery Flip and the OOFOS OOahh Luxe Slide Sandals, and since neither of these sandals has a closure system, it is simple to slip them on and take them off quickly without having to deal with any form of closure.

Straps (buckle and Velcro): This is the most common closure configuration on our list. Straps can be closed with either buckles, like the Chaco Women’s Z/Cloud, Velcro, like the Teva Original Universal, or utilize both like the Xero Z-Trail EV

The best closure system to use is largely a question of preference. Of the two strap options, we prefer buckles since they don’t fray or collect debris, which could eventually lessen their effectiveness over time. Velcro, though, is usually a little quicker to put on.

XERO Trail EV Sandals Outsole Flex
The Xero sandals use both a cinch buckle and Velcro closure to strap up; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

Bungee Closures: Strap systems involving elastic cord like those found on the Keen Women’s Whisper are less common, but are remarkably efficient at anchoring and locking your feet into place without coming undone. Sandals with these types of closure systems are often excellent for water use, as the sandals tend to move with you and won’t degrade when in contact with water.

T-Style Straps: Passing between your first and second toes, T-style straps are a bit unique and provide a stripped-down feeling that some will love, and some not so much. This style of sandal gives your feet the most wiggle room, but the drawback is that it has less support to keep your feet from slipping off the footbed.

Look to the sandal offerings from Bedrock to provide this type of hang-ten foot freedom, which incorporates the T-style strap as well as a multiple-point adjustment system to ensure that the straps lie on your foot in the most comfortable way possible.

Floating Straps: These designs are unquestionably noteworthy because, even though both the Chaco Bodhi and the Chaco Women’s Z/Cloud make use of the buckle, they incorporate a unique single sole and single adjustable strap design — a feature our tester raved about while testing them on Mt. Baker. 

With this style, you can adjust the webbing in several places for a custom, secure fit. The drawback is that it takes some getting used to, but once you do, you’ll be able to adjust when needed.

Chaco Bodhi Sandals
The Chaco Bodhi sandals sport toe loops and feature its unique one sole, one strap adjustment design; (photo/Rebecca Ross) 

Fit and Sizing

Like most footwear, you want a secure fit for ultimate comfort and stability. Several sandals on our list don’t come in half sizes, which is why we advise trying them on in person to know which size is the best fit, especially while moving around. When worst comes to worst, we almost always advise sizing up a bit. Your exposed toes will thank you.

Another thing to remember while trying on sandals is to identify any hotspots or pressure areas. In some cases, straps and outsoles are not designed for everyone’s toes, leaving some people’s toes to pinch while others hang over the edges. You’ll want to ensure your entire foot is well covered and secured without any discomfort.

Sandal adjustments are another feature to consider. For the most optimal fit, you’ll want something that has multiple adjustment zones so that you can get a secure fit over the entire foot. 

Lastly, arch support can play another role. Too much arch support can leave your feet feeling awkward and uncomfortable, while too little can leave them feeling fatigued and put pressure points on your joints. Overall, you want something that feels secure, supportive, and doesn’t cause any discomfort.

Teva Original Universal Sandals
The most budget-friendly sandal, the Teva Original Universal, incorporates two Velcro adjustment zones; (photo/Rebecca Ross) 

Weight and Packability

When it comes to weight, sandals can vary depending on their purpose. Hiking sandals tend to be heavier on the scale because they are designed for durability, have thicker soles, and may include arch support, deep lugs, and more coverage across your feet like the Teva Tirra (18 ounces), which is made for all-day wear and will provide protection for your feet across various terrains. They also tend to last longer.

On the lighter end of the spectrum, sandals like the Xero Z-Trail EV weigh a scant 8.6 ounces, and are great for watersports, blazing around town, or bringing them along to base camp to give your feet a reprieve from your heavy mountaineering or hiking boots. Although, keep in mind that the lighter and more bare-bones the sandals are, the less durable they will be for long distances, rough terrain, or heavy wear.

In general, we tend to aim for the middle-of-the-road option, like the Chaco Bodhi (14.6 ounces) or Teva Original Universal (11 ounces), which aren’t the heaviest on our list nor the lightest, but their packability and functionality are something we put high praise on.

XERO Trail EV Sandals Womens
The Xero Z-Trail EV features a minimal design with a thin sole for excellent packability; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

Sandal Outsoles

A sandal’s outsole is the rubber that protects your feet from the abrasive, hot terrain. And when considering which outsole is best for you, it depends on a few different factors.

Decide what kind of activity you want to do first. For an active hiking sandal, you should consider deep lugs for traction over varied terrain. And for even better traction in any direction, we suggest multidirectional lugs.

Another thing you’ll want to consider is the thickness of the outsole for durability. The harder and more inflexible the rubber composite is, the longer your sandals will last. For example, we love the Xero Z-Trail EV sandals because of their comfort and minimal feel when we want our feet unencumbered, but they wouldn’t have the same lasting power as the Keen Women’s Whisper or even the Birkenstock Arizona’s would. Although the good news is that most sandals can now be resoled, which will save you money and is eco-friendly.

Last but not least, we tended to favor outsoles that feature the bright yellow Vibram label. And the reason for that is that Vibram soles are recognized for their quality, toughness, and traction. As a result, the Bedrock Cairn Adventure blew us away with its traction.

Women's Sandals Outsoles
Consider lug direction and depth when choosing a sandal for excellent traction capabilities; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

Support and Comfort 

Compared to hiking boots, sandals don’t offer as much support. However, there are many sandals available that are designed primarily for hiking but can also accommodate support and comfort, such as Chacos, which offer a lot of support and comfort for extended wear. 

For increased comfort and a less abrasive feel, some sandals like the Teva Tirra and Keen have a molded footbed and soft nylon lining underneath the straps for even longer wear.

While the lighter, more simplistic sandals on our list are still comfortable, they don’t provide the same level of support as the ones we’ve already highlighted. This puts you in contact with bumps and other objects on the ground, like the XERO’s Z-Trail EV, because they have thinner soles.

Overall, it depends on how much support you need, but if you need a solid walking or hiking shoe, seek a sandal with a sturdy sole.

Teva Tirra Strap Detail
The Teva Tirra offers three adjustment points, robust traction, and amazing comfort; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

Foot protection is generally a good feature to have if you plan on taking your sandals over rocky terrain where there’s a chance of stubbing or injuring your toes.

On our list, the only sandal that features foot protection is the Keen Women’s Whisper, which is closed-toed and can be worn for pretty extreme adventures while giving you peace of mind on protection. Our testers particularly like the closed-toed feature when crossing big boulder fields. But be aware that a rubberized toe guard is liable to add some bulk and weight to the sandal.

Keen Women's Whisper Sandal
The rubber toecap on many Keens lends them heaps of protection; (photo/Rebecca Ross)


Sandals with deeper lugs, thicker outsoles, and strong straps will typically hold up better over time than sandals made of less material. For instance, we love the Teva Original Universal sandals for both being comfortable and budget-friendly, but their less-than-durable outsole is more prone to damage than some of the other sandals on our list.

A sturdy outsole and footbed are other signs of durability. And when it comes to toughness, we instantly think of the Chaco Women’s Z/Cloud because it impressed us all with its capacity to withstand the approach to Cascade volcanoes with no issues.

Chaco Cloud Z/2 Sandals Straps
On the ascent to Mt. Baker, the Chaco Women’s Z/Cloud offered outstanding traction; (photo/Rebecca Ross)


The outdoor clothing and footwear market has increased its use of sustainability practices over the years, moving toward eco-friendly alternatives like recycled and vegan-friendly materials.

Among several, Teva is a brand that uses webbing from recycled plastic by using REPREVE yarns. We also like KEEN’s utilization of recycled and durable materials while avoiding the use of harmful “forever chemicals”. Last but not least, we admire Bedrock’s resole and repair program, plastic-free shipping, and the use of material printed with algal and soy inks for a more environmentally friendly approach.

When they’ve hit the end of the road, the soles of the Bedrock Cairn Adventure sandals can be resoled; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

Socks and Sandals

If you want a sandal that can be worn all year around, even when the weather dips into the freezing range, then we recommend sandals without toe loops or the T-shaped strap between the toes for an easier, less bulky, and more comfortable wear.

While we don’t think all sandals can accommodate socks, there are some sandals that pair well with socks, like the Birkenstock Arizona, which is a good one to consider because its suede material allows for better stretch than nylon or recycled material does. We also like the sturdy brass buckles as opposed to Velco, which won’t come unfastened while wearing thick socks.

Birkenstocks aren’t the only sandals that go well with socks; additional options include the Chaco Bodhi and both Teva sandals. However, we suggest sizing up, especially if you plan to use bulky wool socks.

Socks and Birks
Some sandals like the Birkenstock Arizona, can be worn with thick socks; (photo/Rebecca Ross)


The most comfortable sandals are the ones that make your feet feel good while wearing them all day and won’t give your feet blisters, hot spots, sores, or any pressure points. And once you’re done wearing them, your feet should still feel good afterward.

Finding the most comfortable sandal depends on your activity. A bare minimal sandal will feel great on your feet but wouldn’t provide support on long hikes, while hiking sandals can be great for hiking but won’t offer the same amount of plushness as a recovery sandal can.

Your choice of sandal will depend on the activity you intend to engage in. Good support, a thick outsole, good traction, and one to three adjustment points are necessary for a hiking sandal. A sandal that simply complements your style and still feels lightweight and comfy is a terrific option if you want to wear it every day. Finally, if you want a sandal for around the house that will provide you with the most comfort, consider a recovery sandal.

Sometimes, there isn’t just one sandal that works for everyone. If you’re like us, you might think about buying a few different kinds that suit several of your needs.

The most comfortable lightweight sandals are those that keep your feet secure and prevent sliding or slipping. The Xero Z-Trail EV is a great option because of its outstanding lightness (4.3 ounces per sandal), comfort, coverage, packability, and natural flex.

XERO Trail EV Sandals Detail
It’s hard to argue with 4.3 ounces per sandal when it comes to going lightweight; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

Not all sandals are designed to be worn frequently in water, despite the fact that many of them can. Additionally, even if some sandals can get wet, they may cause your feet to slip and slide around. And some like Birkenstocks may be composed of suede, which is not water-friendly. 

Consider sandals that are explicitly made for water or are regarded as hybrids if you’re looking for one that can handle watersports.

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Lady Amelia Windsor on her love of nature and her incredibl…


Against the magnificent backdrop of Somerset House, excited cheers from over 100 cyclists filled the air as Lady Amelia Windsor proudly cut the blue  ribbon to launch the epic London to Monaco bike ride. Passing through seven countries in eight days via the snow-peaked Swiss Alps and sparkling Italian Lakes, the 1000-kilometre journey is due to end this week with a regal champagne finish and personal welcome at the palace of another royal – Prince Albert of Monaco. The annual ride, which raised over £100,000 before it had even begun, was in aid of ocean conservation charity, the Blue Marine Foundation, of which Amelia, 28, is an ambassador.

“It was fun and such an honour to be asked to start it off,” she exclusively tells HELLO! Displaying her green fashion credentials for the occasion in her favourite multicoloured ‘Quad’ dress – made from recycled fabric by ethical British fashion designer Kitty Joseph – she continues: “I don’t think I’d be able to cycle that far but I’m sure it would be an amazing experience. Although I grew up riding a bike in Cambridge I don’t do it in London as I’d find it terrifying. I walk everywhere instead.”

Lady Amelia Windsor cuts the ribbon© Darren Fletcher Photography
Lady Amelia Windsor proudly cut the blue ribbon to launch the epic London to Monaco bike ride

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Amelia, who is the Duke of Kent’s granddaughter, recalls how she went cycling on a holiday in the Alps last month – on an e-bike. “It was magical and incredibly beautiful,” she says. “We were drinking straight from the streams and the water was so fresh and clear that having a shower in the morning felt like being in a spa.” Water is at the heart of Amelia’s work with the Blue Marine Foundation, the ocean conservation charity set up in 2010 to restore and protect the sea’s health and vital marine habitats and address over-fishing – one of the world’s worst environmental problems. 

Lady Amelia Windsor wears striped dress© Darren Fletcher Photography
Amelia was signed by Storm model agency in 2016

Described as “the most beautiful royal”, Amelia was signed by Storm model agency in 2016 while still a student at Edinburgh University and after her collaboration with Scottish clothing company Brora – which specialises in natural materials – she was invited three years ago to become an ambassador for the Blue Marine Foundation. “It’s a great charity and is doing such vital work with tangible results all over the world,” she says. “As well as developing sustainable models of fishing, it has protected kelp forests and achieved a successful ban on bottom trawling on the Dogger Bank in the North Sea.” Highlighting the importance of keeping our oceans clean, she continues: “Swimming in the sea is one of my favourite things. It’s a shame you have to check a map of the UK coastline to find out if sewage has been pumped into it before you swim.” 

Lady Amelia Windsor wears green and bright pink dress as she poses with Blue Marine Foundation© Darren Fletcher Photography
Lady Amelia uses her platform to draw attention to environmental causes

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By using her platform to draw attention to environmental causes, Amelia is following in the green footsteps of her royal cousins. Princess Eugenie featured exclusively in HELLO! earlier this year in her role as ambassador for the Blue Marine Foundation, as she helped re-wild oysters in the Solent, and last week, ahead of his Earthshot Summit in New York, the Prince of Wales scattered oysters in the East River as part of the Billion Oyster Project to restore oyster reefs in New York’s waterways. They are among the new generation of royals to seize the eco-baton from the King, a keen environmentalist for decades. Looking to the future, Amelia says: “When I see the good work being done by teams like Blue Marine, I feel optimistic that we can stop the damage to our planet together.”

To find out more about the Blue Marine Foundation, visitbluemarinefoundation.com.

 To read the full article, pick up the latest issue of HELLO! on sale now. Subscribe to HELLO! to get the magazine delivered free to your door every week or purchase the digital edition online via our Apple or Google apps. 

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eBay announces $200k grant program for circular fashion sta…


ebay Circular Fashion Fund

Brooke Eichhorn, eBay Australia’s Head of Fashion. Source: eBay

The Australian Fashion Council (AFC) and eBay Australia have just announced a $200,000 Circular Fashion Fund. The fund is aimed at startups specialising in circular fashion solutions and sustainable practices in the fashion industry.

According to recent statistics from the AFC, Australians purchase 27 kilograms of new clothing annually while discarding approximately 23 kilograms.

Statistics from Earth.org also show that 92 million tonnes of textile waste is produced each year — an alarming figure that has even been felt by designers here in Australia.

With this in mind, the Circular Fashion Fund aims to cut down this number by utilising emerging tech from startups to transform customer behaviours towards fashion.

“We understand that eBay can play a role in circular fashion by using our scale and expertise for good. We are committing support to small businesses to drive positive change through innovation in the fashion industry,” Brooke Eichhorn, eBay Australia’s head of fashion, said.

“These initiatives will help revolutionise how fashion is created, consumed and recycled, making sustainable fashion practices more accessible for everyone.”

According to eBay research, there is currently a 45% upswing in pre-loved fashion purchases over the past two years. Additionally, a third of those surveyed stated that half their wardrobe comprises pre-loved fashion items.

This isn’t particularly surprising considering the ongoing cost of living crisis, as well as an increased interest in sustainability. Pre-loved fashion platforms such as Depop have also become incredibly popular with younger generations over the past couple of years.

“To transition to a circular economy by 2030 and Net Zero by 2050, the Australian fashion industry needs to fundamentally transform how clothing is designed, produced, consumed and disposed of,” Australian Fashion Council CEO, Leila Naja Hibri, said.

“For decades, eBay has been leading the charge in recommerce, driving the circular economy through its resale marketplace, in particular for fashion. eBay’s Circular Fashion Fund not only compliments but helps accelerate the roadmap for Seamless, the national clothing stewardship scheme, bringing us closer to our goal of achieving clothing circularity in Australia by 2030.”

The winners of the fund will be made by a panel comprising industry leaders such as KITX Founder Kit Willow, AFC’s Danielle Kent, Sendle CEO James Chin Moody, UTS and TAFE NSW’s Dr Lisa Lake, and eBay Australia’s Brooke Eichhorn, among others.

Applications are open now until November 10, 2023. A shortlist of six finalists will pitch their ideas to the panel, with the winner taking away a $100,000 grant. Two runners-up will each receive $50,000.

Winners of the Circular Fashion Fund will not only receive financial backing but also attend a six-week program including mentoring sessions, workshops and networking events. They’ll also have the ability to spotlight their fashion-focused tech solutions via the eBay platform.

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Meridian Green Team hosts recycling event for residents


Meridian Cares joined the Meridian Green Team for a recycling event held on Saturday. 

The event, held at Chippewa Middle School in Okemos, was a drive-by donation collection where volunteers would remove any waste in a drive-by dump, hoping to curb waste and encourage recycling. 

Meridian Cares held a coat collection drive, which continues through the rest of the week.

Meridian Green Team is a recycling oriented volunteer organization that host multiple “green” events a year, including recycling events, composting and sustainability education. Meanwhile, Meridian Cares is a fundraiser based program that helps local families who are struggling.

“We’ve been doing recycling events for a couple of decades, but more steadily over the last 15 years,” said Meridian Township Environmental Programs Coordinator LeRoy Harvey. “We try to do one or two recycling events a year since 2007. We recycle various things. At this event we’re going to do electronics, coats and we’re also working with Consumers Energy Electric customers to recycle appliances.”

Although the items being recycled varies by the event, the Green Team decided to collect electronics and appliances for this season collection because of how large a factor they play in waste streams.

Harvey said the Green Team takes items that are difficult to recycle and dispose of them safely. 

On Saturday, along with coats, they collected televisions, monitors, computers/laptops, mobile phones, satellite boxes, printers, scanners and stereo equipment. The public could also donate appliances such a refrigerators, air conditioners, freezers and dehumidifiers. 

“At our events we try to chose things that the public is interested in recycling, and might not be able to throw in your normal recycling bin,” Harvey said.

The collection of appliances is due to the need for energy efficiency.

Harvey also said clothing and fabrics are a large part of the waste stream, a reason why Meridian Cares held the coat drive. The team collects these items for recycling, waste reduction, social need and energy efficiency.

All electronics from this year’s donation will be taken by Valley City Electronics Recycling out of Grand Rapids, where they will be sorted and used for parts. The donated coats will be locally redistributed to other families in the greater Lansing area that are financially struggling. 

Harvey expected a total of a few dozen coats, several tons of electronics and a few dozen appliances.

Ellen Dillman, volunteer coordinator for Meridian Green Team, said that one year they had someone arrive on a bicycle to donate. The donor attached a trailer to the bicycle carrying a hot water heater.

“In the spring, we take bicycles. Sometimes we do shredding of household goods or large metals, that type of thing,” Dillman said. 

Recycling events and drives have become an increasingly popular volunteer opportunity for businesses, high school students and college students. Dillman, who has been volunteer coordinator for 11 years, has held many events and worked with hundreds of volunteers. 

“It was started by some women who wanted to be able to get rid of stuff that was harder to get rid of,” Dillman said. “Back then, it was things like cardboard, and bottles and cans, which now you can recycle easily anywhere. It’s melded into a thing where we will take things that are more difficult to find a way to recycle. Electronics are harder to recycle.” 

High school volunteer numbers have gone as high as 40 students at one event. Dillman said students seem eager to help out and always pull their weight.

Volunteers for the recycling events vary from schools to businesses, but the Green Team always pulls in high numbers of volunteers.

For more information about the Meridian Green Team, Meridian Cares or more upcoming events, visit the Meridian Township website.


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I’ve saved thousands of pounds by making one small lifestyl…


Left: Zara Canfield standing in front of a banner that reads 'FASHION FIGHTING POVERTY 23'. Right: Zara shopping for secondhand clothes at a charity shop, holding up some clothing on a hanger and smiling at the camera.

I had always been a fan of recycled fashion (Picture: Olly Ross for Oxfam)

‘I love your dress, where’s it from?’

That was the question I got numerous times at a wedding I went to recently.

I was wearing a vintage-style floral Hell Bunny dress, which I paired with some chunky nude heels that I’ve owned for nearly 10 years.

To each person who asked, I simply replied: ‘I bought it for just £8.99 from Oxfam!’

In fact, my boyfriend’s mum even told me that her dress was from a charity shop too, which just goes to show you can shop pre-loved fashion for any occasion.

Zara in her Hell Bunny dress

Zara in her Hell Bunny dress (Picture: Olly Ross for Oxfam)

It’s just one of the outfits I’ve sourced completely second-hand ever since I decided to take part in Oxfam’s ‘Second Hand September’ – a campaign that promotes donating, reusing, rewearing and restyling your clothes for a whole month – for the past four years. 

I had always been a fan of recycled fashion. There’s a certain charm in clothing that has a story behind it and a thrill in searching for unique treasures.

Despite my love for vintage, I was a self-confessed fast fashion fanatic. Hours would slip away as I mindlessly scrolled through clothing apps. I was caught in the cycle of keeping up with ever-changing trends.

Zara Canfield looking through secondhand clothes while smiling at the camera.

Immediately, I noticed that giving up buying new clothes was actually pretty easy (Picture: Zara Canfield)

Then came the turning point.

I started working at Oxfam as a Festivals Marketing and Engagement Executive in October 2017. It was through this role that I learnt about Second Hand September and I thought it was a brilliant idea.

In 2019, I went to Latitude Festival and found myself having some thought-provoking conversations, which made me reflect on my own consumption. This included talking to people about the effects that the fashion industry has on the planet and how easy it was to change our shopping mindset.

So I thought to myself at the time: Why wasn’t I practising what I was preaching? I left determined to make a change in the way I shop for clothes - including doing Second Hand September that year.

Zara Canfield standing in front of a green brick wall with thin yellow horizontal stripes; wearing a pantsuit with a bright green belt and a mustard top underneath, left hand in her pocket and right hand by her side, smiling at the camera.

I found a boiler suit, belt, neon top and accessories - all for less than £15 - which I wore to Guardians of the Galaxy Secret Cinema (Picture: Olly Ross for Oxfam)

The best thing I did at the start of my journey was to remove any temptation by unsubscribing from clothes retailers and deleting shopping apps off my phone. I also unfollowed influencers who continued to promote fast fashion hauls and replaced them with sustainable fashion accounts.

Immediately, I noticed that giving up buying new clothes was actually pretty easy and I enjoyed shopping so much more - going instead to physical stores and feeling glee when I found a hidden gem in the charity shop. My style became far more unique and I was saving so much money too!

The first month went so well that I decided then and there that I’d give up buying new clothes for good. And that was four years ago.

Zara Canfield on her 30th birthday, standing between two balloons (a 3 and a 0) on the grass in a marquee, with shiny pink streamers behind her. She's wearing a polka dot top and a skirt patterned with birds.

I turned 30 and was proudly wearing pre-loved clothes (Picture: Zara Canfield)

Now, every September I can look back at how far I have come in changing my shopping habits for the better.

It’s also my birthday in September, so it’s a great time to buy a second-hand outfit (or two) for the celebrations. This year, I turned 30 and was proudly wearing pre-loved clothes. Even my birthday badge wasn’t new - it was from my auntie’s 30th birthday just over 20 years ago.

My off-the-High-Street ventures have blessed me with numerous one-of-a-kind finds.

Zara Canfield wearing a purple patterned dress, standing indoors in front of a green wall covered with posters for Second Hand September. Her left hand is on her hip, right arm by her side, and she's smiling at the camera.

My wardrobe is bursting with amazing finds (Picture: Zara Canfield)

From a £150 Barbour wax jacket that I bought for £10 from the Sobell House Hospice charity shop in Headington, to a vintage handmade dress from the 40s that I got for £8 from my local Shaw Trust charity shop. I’ve even bagged myself nearly-new Dr. Marten boots for £20 from the Oxfam Superstore.

Some items carry designer labels – like Ralph Lauren and Comme Des Garçons – and some no labels at all, but each adds an interesting flair to my wardrobe.

Charity shops are also great for fancy dress outfits.

I found a boiler suit, belt, neon top and accessories - all for less than £15 - which I wore to a Guardians of the Galaxy Secret Cinema event for my birthday. I also spent around £15 after I found a funky yellow dress and tan boots for me and a tan suede shirt and retro round glasses for my boyfriend – all for a 70s-themed birthday party.

Zara Canfield wearing a black and white polka dot dress, sitting outside at a bench at a pub next to a brick wall, smiling at the camera.

It’s actually a badge of honour to say that I bought something this way (Picture: Zara Canfield)

My wardrobe is bursting with amazing finds – so much so that I have just had to have a clear-out. I filled lots of bags to donate to my local Oxfam shop.

It keeps the circular economy going and makes me happy to know that someone else is going to get excited about finding something I have donated.

In my four years of shopping second-hand, I have only made one big new purchase. I was a bridesmaid and had to dress a very particular way. I couldn’t get around it.

Full disclosure, I have also bought necessities such as socks and underwear, but I choose to support more sustainable brands.

Zara Canfield in front of a green brick wall with thin yellow horizontal stripes; she's wearing a navy pantsuit and high-heeled black boots with bright green laces, kicking one foot at the camera, both arms raised by her face, hands in fists and smiling at the camera.

Rummaging through vintage racks is like a treasure hunt (Picture: Olly Ross for Oxfam)

It’s hard to say exactly how much money I have saved over the last four-plus years but, with most items being less than half the original price, it’s a lot!

I also find myself shopping far less than I used to without the temptations of endless emails and notifications from shopping apps. I always love to seek out a bargain and if I can do this while also supporting a charity that’s even better – it’s a win win all round!

Every year, the fashion industry generates massive amounts of climate-damaging emissions in the production of new clothes. The way I shop now is how I can act in my own small way to help extend the life of clothes already in circulation and cut down on my own consumption.

And I’m not alone. Increasing numbers of shoppers, activists and people within the fashion industry are choosing second-hand fashion as it is no longer seen as second best.

It’s actually a badge of honour to say that I bought something this way as it is an environmental choice, as well as being great value for money.

For me, rummaging through vintage racks is like a treasure hunt, offering me unique pieces that enhance my personal style.

It’s amazing how easy and fun it can be.

Dress for the world you want this September by pledging to shop second-hand and donating all your unwanted clothes to Oxfam. Find out more in store or at: https://www.oxfam.org.uk/get-involved/second-hand-september/ 

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing jess.austin@metro.co.uk. 

Share your views in the comments below.

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Fashion with a purpose! Eco-friendly fashion with sustainab…


Eco-friendly fashion implies making sustainable choices in a world driven by fast-paced trends and disposable clothing. But then the term ‘sustainable fashion’ itself is an oxymoron. As defined in the Cambridge Dictionary, ‘fashion’ means a style that is popular at a particular time, and on the other hand,’sustainable’ means able to continue over a period of time. Despite this contradiction, the notion of being fashionable while embracing sustainability is not only possible but also increasingly essential in our modern society.

Impact on the Environment: The fashion industry has long been associated with a significant ecological footprint. It’s a leading contributor to pollution, water consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. Following are some of the industry’s most pressing issues:

Fast Fashion: The rise of fast fashion has led to an accelerated production cycle where clothing is designed, produced, and discarded rapidly. This contributes to massive amounts of textile waste.

Resource-intensive: Traditional textile production relies heavily on water, energy, and chemicals. Huge amounts of electricity and heat are required for cloth and garment manufacturing. Most of the factories operate in areas that are largely dependent on coal for energy production, causing huge gas emissions.

Pollution: Dyeing and finishing textiles release harmful chemicals into waterways, polluting ecosystems and endangering human health.

Waste: The fashion industry generates vast amounts of waste, from unsold inventory to discarded clothing, much of which ends up in landfills. Given these environmental challenges, the fashion industry is under increasing pressure to become eco-friendly and embrace sustainability.

Rise of eco-friendly fashion

In recent years, eco-friendly fashion has gained traction as a response to the industry’s environmental and ethical concerns. Eco-friendly and sustainable fashion focuses on minimizing harm to the environment and improving social conditions throughout the supply chain. Here are some of the key aspects:

Eco-friendly Materials: Sustainable fashion prioritizes the use of eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton, hemp, Tencel, and recycled fibers. These materials are produced with a lower environmental impact.

Ethical Production: By prioritizing sustainability, brands engage and support the local communities and provide safe, healthy, and fair working conditions for labour.

Transparency: Sustainable brands aim to be transparent about their supply chains, making it easier for consumers to trace the origin of their clothing.

Circular fashion promotes the idea of reducing, reusing, recycling, or upcycling clothing. This includes repair services, resale platforms, and clothing rental services. Fortunately, consumers are also becoming more conscious of these issues and demanding green alternatives. By adopting some of the following eco-friendly practices, individuals can reduce their carbon footprint and make a positive difference.

Choose Sustainable Fabrics: Opt for clothing made from sustainable materials like organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, Tencel, or recycled fibers. These fabrics are produced with less environmental impact compared to conventional ones.

Buy Second-Hand: Thrifting and shopping at vintage stores not only reduces waste but also gives clothing a second life. You can find unique, pre-loved items that contribute to a more sustainable fashion cycle.

Support Sustainable Brands: There is an increasing trend of brands that prioritize sustainability. One should opt for them and support them. Look for certifications like Fair Trade, GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), or B Corp. to ensure ethical and eco-friendly practices.

Quality over quantity: Invest in high-quality, timeless pieces that will last longer instead of fast fashion trends. Quality clothing often withstands wear and tear better, reducing the need for frequent replacements. Repair and Upcycle: Instead of discarding damaged clothing, learn basic sewing skills to repair or upcycle them into something new.

Minimize washing: Overwashing clothes can wear them out faster and consume more water and energy. Only wash your clothes when necessary, and opt for cold water to save energy.

Energy-Efficient Laundry: When you do wash your clothes, use energy-efficient appliances and eco-friendly detergents. Line-drying your laundry or using a drying rack can also save energy.

Capsule Wardrobe: Create a capsule wardrobe with a limited number of versatile pieces that mix and match well. This reduces the need for excess clothing and streamlines your style choices.

Support Local Designers: Support local fashion designers and artisans who often produce on a smaller scale and may use eco-friendly materials and practices.

Rent or Borrow for Special Occasions: Instead of buying formal or occasional wear that you’ll rarely use, consider renting or borrowing these items. This reduces the demand for single-use garments.

Eco-Friendly Accessories: Choose sustainable accessories made from recycled or eco-friendly materials, such as cork, reclaimed wood, or upcycled metals.

Educate yourself: Stay informed about sustainable fashion trends and practices. Attend workshops, read books and articles, and follow influencers and brands that promote eco-friendly fashion.

Being fashionable and sustainable is about making mindful choices that align with your personal style while considering the environmental and ethical impact of your clothing. By embracing eco-friendly fashion practices, you can not only look good but also feel good about your contribution to a more eco-conscious and socially responsible industry. It’s being more responsible towards nature, towards our mother Earth. All players, from the consumer to the company director, the manufacturer, and the farmer, ought to take responsibility for their part in the supply chain and the creative process and for the choices they make. (IANSlife)

Also Read: The fast fashion dilemma: Who pays the real price?

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