Right in the city centre of Madrid there is a small shop which is worth visiting. The curious shopper will find no conventional shoes in Ecozap, but only shoes that meet the highest ecological standard. Some of them are made exclusively of natural products such as hemp, jute, palm-tree, seeds, organic cotton, natural latex, coconut fiber, rice rind and many more. Some others are made of vegetable tanned leather, of recycled materials such as tires or bottles. And all their shoes are either made in Spain and Portugal or meet the fair trade standards. Raquel Jiménez, founder of Ecozap, strongly believes in local products as a tool for reboosting local economy. She favours renewable, biodegradable materials for her shoes, and takes care that the products she sells have not been treated and do not contain any toxic substance. “It is really difficult do find suppliers who take sustainability into account in all their processes, from raw materials to packaging”, says Raquel during an interview. Ecozap is her personal project. It started at the beginning of 2007 as an online shop and was afterwards expanded with a physical location in the fashionable district of Chueca, in Madrid.
But why choose an ecological shoe? Raquel´s answer is straightforward: ecoshoes do not pollute the environment where their production takes place. They are mostly biodegradable, due to the nature of the raw materials they are made of, and do not emit any toxics, which ends up being safer for the feet that wear them. But an ecological shoe is especially durable, having been designed to last and remain fashionable for years. All Ecozap´s shoes have either been produced in Spain and Portugal or have been imported under the Fair Trade standards. Ecozap´s website offers a traceability map for every brand they sell. Even the shop has been recently renovated with more sustainable materials and a system has been installed to reduce electricity consumption.