ZebraOasis Hemp Shoes review – They are comfortable and 100% recyclable!

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Zebra Oasis shoes

REVIEW – Three things are about to collide in this review.  The first is comfort.  Let’s face facts – no one deliberately decides to buy an article of clothing that will knowingly make them uncomfortable (something I say to my wife as she prepares to go out for the evening, and then ducking the heavy object she throws at me).  The second is the green factor – is the item made with an eye towards sustainability and does it use environmentally friendly components?  Finally, the third is style – does it look good or does it look like you might have strapped russet potatoes to your feet?  Usually, you get to pick two.  ZebraOasis says you can have all 3.  Does this shoe come close?  Read on to find out.

What is it?

The ZebraOasis Hemp Shoes is athletic-styled footwear that is made from a TPU foamed lower and a hemp knit upper.  The sole of the shoe is made from a fully recyclable TPU foam in a process that reduces the amount of CO2 needed to create the footbed.  The upper portion of the shoe is made from a hemp mesh knit that’s both strong and breathable.  And when the shoes are worn out, there is a rip cord inside the shoe that allows you to separate the bottom from the top, so each part can go on its own recycling journey.

A quick tour

Let’s take a tour of the ZebraOasis Hemp Shoes, starting with the top:

zebraoasis shoe 2

At first glance, these shoes look a lot like Skechers or other brands, but the comparison stops when you pick them up.  These shoes compete with the “light as air” style from other brands but beats them with how soft they feel.  My first thought when I opened the box was that these would not last a day in my world.  And I was wrong.

zebraoasis shoe 3

The back of the shoes.  Not a lot to see here.

zebraoasis shoe 4

The bottom of the shoe.  No tread to speak of, which led to thoughts of me gazing into the sky after I fell on a slick surface.  I can’t say that this won’t be a problem on very slick surfaces, but in my travels, I never found a place where I couldn’t go.  Maybe it’s the material used in the sole, but they grip the ground like any other athletic shoe.

zebraoasis shoe 5

The front of the ZebraOasis Hemp Shoes.  Again, nothing to see here.

zebraoasis shoe 6

And here is the shoe on our spokesmodel.  Something to note – you most definitely will not want to wear socks (even low profile) with these shoes.  Not that there isn’t room, but simply that one of the big draws for this shoe is that the top is breathable.  Even in the heat and humidity that makes up 3 of the seasons in Texas, my feet never once became sweaty or the shoe hot to wear.  I can’t imagine that would be the story if you choose to wear socks with these.

OK, so one more thing to note: this is the color they come in.  No dyes or other chemicals, so you are getting what I assume to be the natural color of the hemp top prior to being cut into shoe shape (at least, in the run up to the crowdfunding campaign, this is the only color).  It’s not a bad color at all – it goes with practically everything I own.  And if they get scuffed up, you can toss them in the washer.  Let them air dry, though.

The Teardown

Time to rip these up!

The secret sauce for the ZebraOasis Hemp Shoes is the ability to take them apart and send the tops and bottoms to their respective recyclers.  The process is very simple – in each shoe under the removable shoe liner is a plastic tab fit into an envelope.  The thread for the base of the shoe is attached to this tab.  Pull the thread off the tab, and continue pulling the thread until it all comes out.  Then just tear the top off the bottom and you are done.  Here’s a quick video showing how it works:

And this is what you end up with when you are done:

zebraoasis shoe 7

Final Thoughts

The ZebraOasis Hemp Shoes are probably one of the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn.  I had an entire travel day that I lived in these shoes, and never once did I have the urge to tear them off, something I can’t say the same about for my previous travel sneakers.  My feet were cool and comfortable the entire day.

There was one thing that I initially found annoying – the plastic tab that is part of the decomposition trick would irritate the back part of my arch.  After a few hours of solid complaining about it, I pulled the tab out of the envelope and cut it into a smaller size, one that fits entirely under the shoe bed.  And just like that, the problem went away.

All in all, the ZebraOasis takes all three of my areas of concern (style, comfort, and sustainability) and mashes them into something unique.  They’re stylish – I can go pretty much anywhere and not feel as if my footwear was inappropriate.  They’re comfortable, almost as good as not wearing any shoes.  And after a quick check with my recycling company, when their service is over I can put them in the recycle bin and put on a new pair.  I can see myself wearing these all summer, which in Houston means until the week before Thanksgiving.

Price: $99.00
Where to buy: ZebraOasis
Source: The sample for this review was provided by ZebraOasis

4 thoughts on “ZebraOasis Hemp Shoes review – They are comfortable and 100% recyclable!”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
    1. The folks at Zebra Oasis supplied a pair to tear up for the video, and that pair did not have the insole. The pair I wear almost daily now does have the insoles.

        1. Yeah – in D width shoes I wear a 10 and wide widths a 9.5. I received a pair of size 10’s and they fit perfectly. Plus the top stretches a bit, but not in an uncomfortable way. I wouldn’t hesitate to order in your normal size.

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