Why are we making a shoe?
Because this isn’t just a shoe, it’s an experiment.
For over ten years we’ve been running this experiment and proving that another way is possible. That it’s possible to pay workers properly, and for those workers to be unionized. That it’s possible to produce a shoe that is made from recycled and eco-friendly materials – a shoe that doesn’t fall apart after a few months and end up in a landfill. A shoe that is built to last for as long as your feet pound the pavement.
Blackspot is a shoe that represents a very dangerous idea - an idea that is more powerful than a billion dollar marketing machine. We think the will of the independent can beat the power of the established. That Blackspot can beat Nike. That a collectively-run café can beat Starbucks. That union-made can beat automated, and that the active can beat apathy. And we don’t just want to sit here and do nothing with our beliefs, we want action, and we want change, because we also think it’s possible to live your life without supporting a mega-corporate capitalist system that exploits and destroys everything it touches.
This is how we fight back.
That’s why we’re making a shoe.
What do you think?
The most Earth-friendly shoe on the planet!
- organic hemp uppers
- recycled tire sole
- hand drawn red sweet spot for kicking Nike’s ass
- Blackspot logo made out of recycled inner tube
- designed by Vancouver-based footwear-guru John Fluevog
- made in a unionized shop in Portugal
All Unswooshers are made in a rural area of Portugal, steeped in 400 years of shoemaking tradition. The factory is family owned and has been in business for three decades. Big, wide and well-lit, it is also well-ventilated. The noise level compliance of the machinery is strictly enforced and music is audible wherever you go on the factory floor.
The workday spans from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with 1.5 hours for lunch. Overtime is not compulsory, but when taken the first hour is remunerated at time and a half and then at time and three quarters thereafter. Workers in this factory earn between 485 and 700 Euros per month, depending on their job and seniority. In addition to basic salary, workers receive 25 paid days off and two extra months of pay per year, which works out to 35% above minimum wage. The minimum wage in Portugal is 485 Euros per month.
This Portugal factory is unionized. Union dues are 1% of the members’ salaries and about 40% of the workers are registered - those who do not see the need for the union are welcome to operate apart from it. While the union's primary role is to protect workers from unfair dismissals, it also involves itself in wage negotiations and provides workers with legal representation when necessary. Safety equipment is available and checked often. Portugal has a national medical plan for all its citizens. A doctor visits the factory twice a week, and workers are entitled to unlimited, free consultations.
If you have questions or would like to place an order via telephone, our lines are open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST at 1 (800) 663–1243'
Too big, too small? Not a problem! Just send the shoes back to our Vancouver address in their original condition with a small note detailing your preferred size, and we’ll shoot you back a new pair ASAP.
Make sure you mark RETURN clearly on the package if sending from outside of Canada so that all duty is waived!
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