I spent a week wearing shoes that deliberately fall apart. It was a revelation

This was a very different experience. Earth-friendly, too.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer
Person wearing Zebra Oasis shoes

No, those aren't my feet.

Zebra Oasis

Taste is a difficult thing. Some people have it. Many people think that they have it and that other people don't.

And some people just don't care. They want the world to be saved and believe all forms of fashion contribute to its demise.

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This makes buying clothing a difficult adventure. You may like the look of something, but you know you're a fickle being. What if you decide you no longer like that something and it ends up in a landfill? The guilt can be unbearable.

So I was momentarily transfixed when the makers of the Zebra Oasis shoe asked me to try their wares.

A confession. I often wear shoes that are a little bit out there. The sort that make servers in restaurants say, "Nice shoes" and you're not sure if they're being serious.

I buy my strange shoes online at sites like Asos and I really promise to grow up one day. But just not yet. Being an adult doesn't seem to have done much for far too many people.

Ergo, when I took a look at the Zebra Oasis shoes, simple and white, they seemed a little restrained. Perfectly nice-looking in a local state senator kind of way.

Yet Zebra Oasis has a claim and it's a fascinating one. These shoes can be "completely detached by a single thread for 100% recycling."

We'll come to that in a moment. First, some other claimed attributes of these shoes. They enjoy "recycled CO2-foaming soles, reducing existing CO2."

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They also enjoy the "world's 1st Hemp Flynit Upper, every foot fits and breathes, no break-in pain."

Moreover, how about that there's no dye and they're machine-washable?

Was this enough to touch my tortured soul and incite it to save the world? Not really. But I wanted to try them anyway to see if they might have some more worldly redeeming features.

Now about them completely coming apart. Well, there's a ring that allows you to separate the sole from the rest of the shoe, something I've never seen before.

Breaking them up into parts makes them far more easily recyclable, say the makers.

But please, there's an important question here. What is it like to wear them?

I'm not in the habit of wearing white shoes. Any kind of white shoes. So this was something of a first. Still, I'll admit they didn't look too bad when I stared down. No one stared at me with disdain as I walked by them on the street. This is something of a rarity.

But the overwhelming impression was one of overwhelming softness.

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The cushioning on these things was veritably pillowy. They're light and they made walking an exceptionally pleasant experience.

I should tell you that I haven't worn them outside so much yet, as we've had a deluge of deluges here in California of late. Yet so far they've dealt with different sidewalk surfaces and parking lots as if they were veterans.

I can't attest as to how long the Zebra Oasis shoes will last, any more than I can tell you how long the world will last.

I will tell you, though, that I'll carry on wearing these things. It just might make me a better person.

One can hope.

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