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August 29, 2010

Simple Satire Kids' Shoe Review

*Admin note before today’s post: given the time of year, I’ll be bringing at least a couple of back to school-themed posts in the near future. I’ve also mentioned previously that books will be getting increased attention around here; in some cases those topics (books and school) might overlap, but in most cases they won’t. This is one of the “won’ts”.

“I can change the world with my own two hands –
Make a better place with my own two hands …

I’m gonna make it a brighter place –
I’m gonna make it a safer place –
I’m gonna help the human race –
With my own, with my own two hands.”

- Ben Harper, “With My Own Two Hands” (video after post)

A few years ago, my son’s 4th grade class sang the above song at an assembly, which was part of the school’s overall emphasis on developing children of character: kids who practice kindness towards others, conduct themselves responsibly, and take care of the local community and global environments around them.

The idea of teaching eco-responsibility is relatively modern - at least, I certainly don’t remember it from my own elementary school days – but it’s not always an easy thing to do with our kids in practice. Organic, free range, or hormone-free food is expensive. Finding toys without plastics or that are assembled without toxins is next to impossible. And environmentally responsible apparel and footwear is often a combination of the two: both rare and expensive.

So when a company makes responsible role modeling simple and easily accessible, it’s a pleasant thing to see. Or, flipped around, perhaps I could say that when the Simple company makes pleasant footwear models for kids, it’s our responsibility to pay attention.

I’ve profiled Simple shoes in previous product reviews, but here’s their story in a nutshell: the company’s mission is to be the most eco-friendly shoe manufacturer on the planet. They use materials and processes that minimize their environmental impact as much as possible, with a stated goal of becoming 100% sustainable. They’re also committed to keeping their retail prices affordable enough to be accessible to everyone.

They also make a full line of fashionable children’s shoes, and my 9-year-old daughter (coincidentally, now a 4th grader herself) went back to school this fall in the Simple Satire, a very cute little sneaker with all of the eco-friendly features of the company’s grown-up shoes.

The Satire is a completely vegan shoe, with no animal products or byproducts used in its construction. It has a moderate midsole height but no drop from heel to toe, making it a nice option for fans of natural walking, albeit with much less ground feel than a minimalist-style shoe.

The footbed contains some EVA but also uses a material called BIO-D that is biodegradable. Certified organic cotton is used for the interior lining, and like all Simple shoes, the bottom of the Satire utilizes rubber from recycled car tires.

Best of all, they just look like a cute schoolgirl shoe, and they’re fairly affordable, especially if you can find them on sale. The pair pictured here is an older model that we picked up at REI.com, where they’re presently being closed out for $20. Current pairs retail for $42 from the Simple website, but many sizes and styles (including boy colors, too) are discounted to $32 at Endless.com. It’s a relatively affordable way to make a statement to your kids about supporting good companies, and to bring them one step closer to changing the world with their own two feet.


Although it was Jack Johnson who made this song famous among the 10-and-under crowd by reworking it for the Curious George soundtrack, in my opinion the original reggae version remains vastly superior from a musical standpoint. Coming from a devoted Jack Johnson fan, that’s really saying something.

Ben Harper, “With My Own Two Hands” (click to play)

*Product purchased independently.
**See other product reviews on sidebar at right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at info@runningandrambling.com.


J. 9/1/10, 8:43 AM  

Donald, thanks for bringing these shoes to my attention. I just ordered a set for my own Dynamic Duo; we'll see how they work out.

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