When swimming, snorkeling, bodysurfing, or bodyboarding, finding a great pair of fins can alter your experience immensely. Summer ocean camps like Junior Lifeguards often require a specific model of fins called Duck Feet to participate in water activities. These fins are also used exclusively by many lifeguard organizations and swimming groups. While these fins may be popular and considered as “standard” for many jobs and activities, how sustainable are they? The manufacturer’s lack of transparency suggests that these fins may not be the most sustainable choice when enjoying summer fun in the sun. Finding alternatives with the same fit, look, and colors may be a better option for recreational or professional use, if other models are acceptable to your employer.
Duck Feet are made of one material: rubber. This is because rubber floats, making the fins easy to find. Other benefits of using this material include fast drying times, easier glide through the water, and little to no drag because rubber does not absorb water. Despite rubber’s many benefits, it should be used with extreme caution. Rubber farming operations can be extremely unsustainable. Choosing rubber from a sustainable source is very important to making a sustainable product. In Voit’s case, the rubber’s source is not identified to consumers, meaning that its sustainability is unknown. Suppliers that use sustainable rubber sources usually advertise this fact, so it can be assumed that Duck Feet are made with unsustainably farmed rubber. Supporting commercial rubber farms that do not use environmentally friendly practices supports deforestation, land grabbing, illegal logging, and human rights violations. If Voit were to be transparent about their rubber sourcing process, they could be inspired to make a sustainable change in their supply chain.
Duck Feet are made in Mexico, but that is all consumers know about the product’s creation. Voit mentions that they proudly manufacture their products in Mexico, but does not give specifics on how their products are made. The American company’s labor outsourcing raises questions about human rights and labor practices at their facilities abroad. The lack of transparency when it comes to product manufacturing, especially for products that contain materials like rubber that can be incredibly harmful to both humans and the environment, is disturbing. Do better, Voit. Consumers deserve to know where your rubber comes from and how your products are made.
Popular sports company, Voit, manufactures and distributes Duck Feet fins. Voit is most commonly known for their rubber volleyball products, swimming gear, and professional athlete ambassadors. Voit has not released a single sustainability statement, despite the company’s long history of producing sports equipment. In fact, their lack of sustainability documentation is so apparent that a simple Google search of “Voit Sustainability” leads users to an error message and other suggestions. Without a sustainability policy, it is clear that the Earth is not a priority for Voit. This is ironic, considering that Voit capitalizes off of a plant-based material like rubber. The fact that this company sells in partnership with knowingly unsustainable organizations like Amazon further proves that sustainability is the least of this company’s worries. For a company that encourages people to get outside and enjoy nature, Voit’s silence in this area is deafening. If you love sports and care about the planet that gives you areas to swim and play, find a sporting goods company that shares your vision instead of buying a Voit product.