Sperry Top-Sider - A Passion for the Sea - Relacing 101
The Story of Sperry Top-Siders resembles the ideal American lifestyle by focusing on living in a relaxed world. Sperry provides its customers with comfortable boat shoes that can dress up an outfit while providing comfort to the consumer unlike the typical dress shoe. Sperry has been dominating the boat shoe industry since its founding in 1935. Wolverine Worldwide owns Sperry as well as many other shoe brands including Hush Puppies, Sebago, Stride Rite, and many more. Within Wolverine, there are four different groups. Sperry makes up a large percentage of their lifestyle brand. The Lifestyle brand division мейд 9.7 million dollars in 2014, which was a 2.5% decrease from the profit of 2013 (Annual Report Wolverine). Even though Sperry lost some profits during the past year, it continues to be a large shareholder within the market. Top-Siders are very popular since they allow you to dress up or dress down based on the situation. They have been a steady shoe in my house since I can remember. I always look forward to getting my next new pair. Since I enjoy wearing my boat shoes on a daily basis, I decided to learn the story behind the shoes I love. After doing research, I have learned about the life cycle of Sperry’s, which includes the effects of leather shoes on the environment, and the workers that produce them. Within American society, having items readily available has become the norm; I have examined the cost of consumption, and seen the negative effects of consumerism.
When examined, Sperry Top-Siders have four main parts of the shoes: the rubber sole, leather, metal, and cotton. Each part has a back-story behind them, however, the main part of the shoes that I will focus on is the leather and rubber. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the production of leather can come from the skins of cows, pigs, goats or sheep. The animals are alive and receive no sedation in any way, before the process of skinning occurs. In 2001, after hearing the disturbing facts of animal cruelty provided by PETA, Wolverine Worldwide vowed to stop buying leather from India until their government provided proof that they are enforcing animal protection laws (Abel). Since most of these issues have been resolved and they are buying leather again from India, we can move on in the cycle to what comes next. The animals that are skinned in China and India remain there for the duration of the production cycle.
After the producers have the animal skin, they are next dyed. Dyeing of the animal’s skin to achieve the color we normally see is very dangerous to the consumer as well as the producer. To get the desired color for leather the workers usually use approximately 20% of the raw material; the remaining 80% of raw material goes unused and usually becomes either solid or liquid waste (Kolomaznik). The waste released affects both of the employees of the factories, as well as the environment. The main chemicals released are CrVl and Crlll. These chemical have not been proven to have a direct cause of any diseases, however, workers in factories have experienced issues with kidney’s and urinary tract infections.
The soles of Sperry Top-siders are мейд of rubber. Making rubber is the second most important of the materials in the shoe. In today’s world, there are two kinds of rubber: natural rubber, which comes from Hevea brasiliensis tree (rubber tree), and synthetic rubber, produced by factory workers. In order to produce synthetic rubber, used in shoe soles, the workers use many chemicals, which creat
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