Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Foot-Lovins Sans Toxins

I judge feet. Yep, I am one of those people who notice feet... although I don't have a foot fetish (ok peeps, get your brains out of the gutter!), I definitely can appreciate pretty feet.

Yoga makes us think a lot about our feet, without really noticing them- ever realize that? Lots of 'spread your toes', 'ground your feet into your mat', 'anchor the outside of your foot', 'line up heel to arch'... Our feet are an important part of the practice, ever try to practice with a charlie horse? Lately I've been getting them often (probably should look into that).

All this focus on our feet and toes and do we spend the same amount of time taking care of our feet? We wear heels, flip flops (or thongs if you're a westie!) and never massage or stretch our foot muscles. Truly, we should be taking each practice to warm up and strengthen our foot and ankle muscles and tendons. Especially if you're an eco-yogi(ni) like moi who walks a whole bunch to get places.

 My purple leopard print socks. I think my feet look cute in socks- especially LOUD socks. Weird as it is, I believe in complementing my feet... it's so important to find something about yourself that you like and let that part know. Often. :)

Probably my favourite foot pose is 'Virasana' or 'Hero' (please be careful and use a block under your bottom if you have knee sensitivities!). We spend so much time flexing our feet out in yoga that it feels so perfect to have it stretch the other way. Other actions like ankle circles and point-flexing our feet are also great and would be a wonderful way to start each practice.

Wouldn't you know it, summer time being flip-flop season- never mind the lack of arch support- but that plastic is leaching into your skin through your feet. In 2009 Danish researchers found that four types of phthalates (re: endocrine disruptor) in children's plastic sandals. A follow-up 2010 study of 'foam' adult and children sandals (vulcanized rubber or 'cross-linked' plastic) revealed that most had at least one phthalate and majority had them ranging from 10-46%. Their overall conclusion: phthalates leaching from plastic sandals are a significant source of reproductive toxins in our bodies, increasing if we wear sunscreen or lotion on our feet (Ecoholic 2011).

It's kinda late in the game for me to switch flip flop gears (and I don't have enough money to actually own more than one pair of flip flops). However, should YOU have the cash, OR if you'd like to investigate for future summer-y seasons (like moi!) here are some eco, reproductive toxin-free options:
  • El NaturaLista: LOVE their sandals (and shoes- so cute!). Sadly, a bit pricey, so I'd be saving up my moneys for a pair.... especially this sandal and this shoe! Made from recycled plastic, recycled rubber, hand stitched and assembled, ecologically tanned leather, cork... the list goes on.
  • OR Recycled PET flip flops from Simple Shoes (although I had annoying results with these guys- their prices are ridiculously skewed to American dollar- even though the Canadian looney is almost at parity... blegh)
Another option is to try leather.... but then that's a whole other bunch of issues.

My fav eco-friendly nail polish? Zoya!
Aimez vos pieds et vos orteils... et ils vous remercieront!

article and photograph copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. I'm a bit confused... El Naturalista shoes seem to be leather but you say that is "another option" with a whole set of issues....
    Anyway, plastic is plastic, whether recycled or not, as far as contact and toxicity goes. There are all cloth shoes around, or recycled rubber from tires, or cloth and rubber- all findable on the web. Personally I do wear leather because it's soft and I have very sensitive feet and it lasts a very long time. And no plasticizer toxins.

  2. Scary!! I am a total flip flop gal. I wear rainbows mostly. I will have to look into their side effects. Yikes. I am also a foot and hands girl. I hate my feet but I look to look at other peoples. Ha!

  3. @Anon: thanks for asking- i clarified a bit in the post :)

    the 'other option' of leather had more to do with regular, non-eco friendly leather options (since I'm not opposed to sustainable leather). Non sustainable leather is kinda sketchy due to the chemicals used for tanning and how the animals are treated prior to killing them for the leather.

    Check out the 'Technical' page for more info on the awesome amount of eco-options El Naturalista shoes consist of:

    @Meg: awww- i hear ya. I was a little freaked out when I read Adria Vasil's (Ecoholic) article on plastic leaching into our feet.

    Ah well- it's all about small steps. Can't afford different flip flops this summer- but next summer I'll be looking with a more informed outlook :)

  4. Oh goodness you'd hate my feet then---all sorts of chipped toe nail polish and scars from my Vibrams that love to rub me raw on long hikes ;) Love that you're bringing this up, even if Old Navy might ban ya for decreasing their flop sales. ;) Makes me think of one of those other topics that makes me cringe but makes me keep my mouth shut usually---the pedicure, especially when it's one of my preggo friends getting one. I tend to paint my own toes (a few times a year) at home and I love using Honey Bee Gardens less toxic polishes.... Just another food for thought ;)

  5. I do miss having painted toes sometimes. I abandoned nail polish altogether 3 years ago because of all the toxins...I checked out the Zoya website and they have lovely colours. They say they don't have any toxins but their site is not very informative...nor is there an actual ingredients list anywhere...are they on the bottle at least?? They are not yet in the Cosmetics Safety Database either.

    You also have to wonder about how much energy, and resources going in to making these products whether eco-friendly or not and decide if having painted toes is really worth it. It is a personal choice and I don't judge those who do it since I too have my little pleasures that are not the "best" for the Earth. But for me, it was something I could give up.

  6. i love my teva sandals made wih natural cork and latex. they now have a leather upper version too. i wear them every single day since i picked a style that is comfortable and classy enough for work.


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