Feet Forward: For this 29-year-old Georgia shoemaker, sustainability comes first

Third Oak shoes create just one-200th of the carbon footprint of other sandals
Sara Irvani
Sara Irvani

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Third Oak Sandals
Third Oak Sandals

Photo by Ben Rollins

Fast fashion is notoriously wasteful. But for Sara Irvani, the 29-year-old CEO of Third Oak, a new brand from local footwear company Okabashi Brands, sustainability is key. “As a third-generation shoemaker, I was shocked to discover how many shoes end up in the landfill or pollute our waters,” says Irvani, whose parents’ business is known for its spa slides. “Our shoes have one-200th of the carbon footprint of other sandals.” Third Oak uses recycled, soy-based materials to build the vegan flops in two styles: the traditional thong “Scout” ($30) and the ankle-strapped “Journey” ($35). When your soles wear out, you can ship them back (for a 15 percent discount on a new purchase), and they’ll be recycled into new pairs. The Buford-based factory makes Third Oak part of an elite crowd of footwear manufacturers—according to Business Insider, just 1 percent of all shoes are made in the U.S. 

This article appears in our July 2018 issue.