Given that Golden Goose sneakers are hand made and on average cost $400, the carbon footprint of the company is not as large as the carbon footprint of larger, more accessible brands. This, however, does not excuse the brand’s lack of environmental awareness which includes their decision to use materials which are knowingly unsustainable.
-Upper: 80% cotton, 17% textile polyurethane, 3% cow leather
-Lining: 56% cow leather, 34% cotton, 10% textile polyurethane
-Sole: 100% rubber
-White leather upper
-Red heel tab
-Green leather star
Of the materials used in making this pair of Golden Goose sneakers, the most noteworthy are polyurethane, cow leather, rubber, and lurex.
Polyurethane is a synthetic resin made of chemical components. Compared to other plastics, polyurethane is a more sustainable eco-friendly option. In the case of this pair of sneakers, polyurethane is used to coat fabrics to create water resistance. While the polyurethane production process is not inherently eco friendly, this material is still more sustainable than many alternative plastics used in the fashion industry.
Cow leather is a not a sustainable material. The demand for cow leather has led to deforestation, resource overuse (land and water), and increased gas emissions. Leather production significantly contributes to climate change, and is in no way a sustainable material.
The sole of this pair of sneakers is 100% rubber. The rubber used in most sneaker sole production is synthetic rubber. Synthetic rubber is extremely harmful to the environment. The World Wildlife Fund has stated that synthetic rubber production creates more waste in volume than the volume of the rubber produced from this process. Gold Goose does not disclose whether or not the rubber used in their shoes is synthetic, but this is likely the case.
Lastly, the laces of these sneakers are made of Lurex. Lurex is a non-recyclable product that takes decades to biodegrade. It consists of yarn from a strip of aluminum surrounded by two pieces of plastic film. Lurex in landfills seeps dye and chemicals that are then absorbed by soil. This material has very negative environmental impacts.
Golden Goose sneakers are handmade in Italy. Aside from this, Golden Goose does not disclose details about their production process or the the nature of their factory. Though Golden Goose is not overly transparent about how they make their sneakers, handcrafted products are inherently more eco-friendly than mass produced products. Handmade products require fewer resources for production, and when products are handmade, they are made in smaller quantities.
However, though Golden Goose makes their sneakers by hand, the materials they use to make these sneakers do not have very sustainable production processes. Polyurethane is synthetically produced, and is derived from fossil fuels. It takes energy to acquire the fossil fuels needed to make plastics like polyurethane, and plastics like polyurethane are inherently bad for the environment (even if this plastic is considered more eco-friendly than others).
Additionally, cow leather production is not sustainable. When leather is tanned, many chemicals are released, and often times these toxic chemicals are not disposed of properly. Additionally, leather production requires a copious amount of water.
Golden Goose is an Italian brand. the brand was started by Venetian designers Francesca Rinaldo and Alessandro Gallo. The two founded their company in 2000. Currently, Permira Funds, a British investment firm, owns the business. Rinaldo and Gallo were inspired to combine modern style with vintage accents. They were driven by their love of fashion and travel, but unfortunately were not motivated to create a sustainable business model that combined luxury fashion with eco-friendly practices. Golden Goose does not take accountability for its environmental impact. Nowhere does the company mention how their practices effect the environment or how they value sustainability in their brand model. Additionally, Golden Goose is not transparent about the effects of any of their practices. They do not discuss whether they test on animals, nor do they have any philanthropic involvement.