Editor’s Note: This post is sponsored by Freewaters.
My everyday, go-to shoes are simple, white Reebok Classics. You know the ones, right? Your grandfather probably has a pair, or twelve. And long before Kendrick Lamar began to promote the Boks as some new-age, senior-chic fashion statement, the shoes were uniform for E.R. doctors and nurses. So, why do I wear them? They work.
When I lived in Paris I walked 2 miles to get to class, 2 miles home, and on top of that, I would spend large parts of my day in exploration of the city. In short, I needed shoes that could support me when I was going to be on my feet all day.
I get that some shoes look cool or make you taller (by what considerable margin, I don’t know), however, at some point, footwear must be valued for its utilitarianism. And if you have been wearing the same, worn-out, aesthetically design driven shoes for most of your life, putting on a good, functional pair of shoes feels like coming home.
That is what it felt like to put on Freewater’s Kaamper sandal. It felt like when you put on the perfectly sized glove or sit down on a couch that allows you to sink all the way in, without feeling like you will be drowned in cushions… Well, um, you get what I mean.
Honestly, I’m really not that much of a sandal guy. It has nothing to do with the fashionability of the style, rather the functionality. Sandals always feel like flat, slightly amorphous pieces of hard fabric barely held against my feet. However, when I put on the Kaamper, my feet sunk into the “Therm-a-Rest™ footbed,” and I audibly sighed. It was the squishy. Straight-up squish. The sandals feel exactly like, if not better than, wearing a pair of shoes. They don’t slip off your feet when you walk and they don’t slip off the ground, either. This is thanks to the “Bubble Outsole,” which basically bites and holds on to the ground like a rabid dog to a mailman.
Again, I never considered myself a sandal guy because walking down the trail at Trestles always seemed more attractive in hyper-structured supportive footwear. But Freewaters has created shoes and sandals that you can wear to the beach, get all wet and sandy, and it’s no biggie.
It is no coincidence that the two founders of the company are both surfers. But what makes the company really unique, in my opinion, is that they have ulterior motives beyond the sale of footwear. They give 1% of gross sales to various different water projects they have deemed worthy of investment.
Why water? Well, let’s ask Freewaters: “We wanted the sale of our footwear to help address a foundational, basic human need. We could not live without consistent soaks in the ocean. How could others live without access to clean water for drinking, let alone bathing?”
Ours is an age where most people in modernized countries tend to think of water as a natural born right; turning on a tap has become synonymous with something as simple as breathing. Freewater reminds us that this is not the case for a large number of people, both abroad in places like Kenya and Haiti, but also in California as well.
Like I said, I am attracted to the footwear and will continue to wear it because it’s comfortable, functional, and, honestly, looks pretty nice on my feet. But, if my money goes to a company that has goals outside of pure profit accumulation, I feel like I am making an investment in something larger than myself.
And check out the company’s interesting founders and creation story here.