The story of Z Shoes begins in the heart of the Amazon of Peru. Dave and Zak Batstone were on an investigative journey traveling down one of the Amazonian tributaries aboard a narrow, wooden boat. Four years prior Dave had created REBBL, a herbal health beverage, with the goal to bring more economic access and opportunity for native communities in the region, and subsequently to at-risk populations all over the world where the ingredients of REBBL are sourced. On this particular journey Dave and Zak were returning to the Peruvian Amazon to document the early manifestations of that impact. While visiting a native community deep in the rainforest, Not For Sale's (a global NGO started by Dave in 2007) Peru director presented them with a shoe made from local natural materials - rubber sourced straight from the tree along with naturally colored cotton picked from yet another local tree. Dave and Zak had dreamed the creation of a shoe company before they had even re-embarked on their boat.
Z x Peruvian Amazon 🇵🇪 A special bond between a shoe company, a region, and its tribal people. We take a unique business approach that goes beyond a transactional relationship with the tribes that we source our rubber and cotton. Yes, we buy our materials at a fair wage from the communities, however we also return $5 of each purchase back to developing the infrastructure of the communities. Investing in health care and education systems, working with global NGO Not For Sale to create a lasting impact with the communities that are part of the Z family!
NOT FOR SALE
NFS works to protect people and communities around the world from human trafficking and modern-day slavery. The organization equips and empowers survivors of human trafficking and those at risk of exploitation by providing shelter, healthcare, and legal services; education, job-, and life-skills training; and partners with leading companies and organizations to create long-term employment opportunities for survivors and at-risk communities.
WILD RUBBER (Shiringa)
The rubber used to craft the soles of Z Shoes is sourced from a local indigenous tribe of the Iberia region of Peru’s Amazon. Harvesters (Shiringueros) make incisions across the latex vessels, just deep enough to tap the vessels without harming the tree's growth, they then leave small buckets to collect the latex. This process is known as rubber tapping. Their process epitomises the term sustainability. So much so, that the local harvesters are still tapping rubber from the same trees that their great grandfathers once did generations before!
Organic Cotton (Algadon nativo)
Our partners on the ground in Peru have been growing Natural Cotton Colors in earthy beige, brown, chocolate, green and mauve tones since 1978. Initiated in 1990, our unique Amazon jungle Drug-Free cotton program offers a viable alternative to illicit coca leaf cultivation. Our partners were the first to certify as organic the superior Peruvian Pima fiber-- the longest, strongest and softest cotton anywhere. Our cotton is USDA Organic certified.
Z Shoes supports the use of environmentally conscientious practices of small farmers and producers, while fostering sustainable relationships and understanding among American peoples of diverse ethnic and cultural heritages.