1. Select your model
2. Select your style
3. Select your soles
4. Select a material and a special element
Design and win the shoes of your dreams
With a bit of luck, you can win a pair of bespoke shoes.
Select your shoe model and get started.
Ethical factor: Salaries
Ethical factor: Health and safety
Ethical factor: Transparency
You have chosen shoes produced by underpaid workers. Millions of employees in the shoe industry live in extreme poverty. Yet their pay represents only 2% of the sales price of shoes. If they were paid a living wage, it would barely impact the price of the shoes.
Health and safetyMore Information
You have chosen shoes that were made without any health and safety protection for workers. They are the weakest link in the supply chain – and have to pay the price. Low wages are linked to health issues. It is therefore essential to protect both health and safety of the workforce in factories and tanneries. This is the companies’ responsibility.
You have selected an intransparent mode of production, where working conditions cannot be controlled. Transparency is however necessary to guarantee fair working conditions: companies must know their suppliers and subcontractors in order to be aware of the measures they implement to guarantee fair working conditions.
Well done! You opted for a just and fair production of your shoes! But can they really be made in a sustainable way? The current situation in the shoe industry is far from just and fair. It is nearly impossible to find ethically correct shoes in a shop. This is why you can only win the shoes you designed. The winner of our competition will receive a pair of bespoke shoes.
The ethical factor of your shoes is not 100%. The shoe industry is unfortunately anything but sustainable: the big brands don’t really care about sustainable and fair working conditions. That makes it nearly impossible to find ethically correct made shoes in shops. This is why you can only win the shoes you designed. We will make a pair of tailor-made shoes for the winner of our competition.
Participate and win your own tailor-made shoes
Thank you for taking part, Spread the word
Demand better working conditions, spread the word to your friends and help us raise awareness about the dark side of the shoe industry.
Share your design on the hashtag #myfairshoes or #theshoecreator
Help make the world a better place!
Public Eye is an independent association of over 25 000 members. The Organisation fights against injustices with a significant link to Switzerland and demands the respect of human rights throughout the world.
We act together with our members, because we fully believe in the power of collective action and the ability that we all have to drive positive change. Join our movement!
First steps towards ethical shoes
Discover the hidden face of the shoe industry, its unacceptably low salaries and dangerous chemical products.
Design and win the shoes of your dreams.
The mistakes of the shoe industry
A new pair of shoes every two months
Almost 23 billion shoes were made in 2015. This corresponds to more than three pairs of shoes per person at a global level. In Switzerland, people buy an average of six pairs of shoes a year. Old ones almost never get repaired. The “fast-fashion” model is now also relevant for the shoe industry. Nowadays people prefer to simply throw away a pair of worn-out shoes, and replace them with a new pair. This behaviour has serious social and ecological consequences.
Paid a pittance
Irrespective of where the shoes are manufactured, companies appear to be only concerned by the lowest possible production costs and shortest production times. And suppliers do not hesitate to outsource work. The further down the supply chain you go, the lower the salaries, and the worse the working conditions. In almost all countries where shoes are made, the shoe industry is one of the sectors with the lowest wages – and the wages paid are often unacceptably low. The income of those working in the shoe factories is far from enough to allow them to live dignified lives.
The chemicals, glue and cleaning products used in the shoe manufacturing industry may cause poisoning, respiratory problems and asthma. There are heavy loads to be carried, the work is monotonous, and the big machines used represent many different risks. However there is little or no training on these issues. Protective equipment is rarely available. Many female workers explain that they would not be able to work well or fast enough to meet their daily objectives if they had to wear masks or gloves.
Lack of transparency
The supply chains in the shoe industry are complex and lack transparency. Much of the work is done by sub-contractors, and it is hard to get clear information on the sector as a whole. All too often, the brands themselves do not even know where the different parts of their shoes are being made, or where they are being stitched.
In order to improve this situation, the connections between working conditions and the brands must be clarified and made transparent. In order to ensure that their rights are respected, workers in the factories should know the brands for whom they work. And consumers should be able to know where, and in what sort of conditions their shoes were made.
Discover the daily lot of the workers in the shoe and tanning industries. Learn what companies, states and private individuals can do to help improve working conditions in the shoe industry.