Simple Shoes to Shutter by Year’s End?

Simples Shoes, Deckers, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-friendly shoes, sustainable shoes, eco-friendly sneakers, sustainable sneakers

The future of Simple Shoes is about to get a whole lot more complicated. Deckers, its parent company, announced plans on Tuesday to cease distribution of the eco-friendly shoe brand, effective Dec. 31, according to WWD. Deckers will shift its focus instead to Sanuk, a casual footwear brand it acquired last month for $120 million. “Given that there is some degree of overlap between Simple and Sanuk consumers, and Sanuk’s positive outlook and global appeal, we make this difficult decision knowing it is in the best interests of the brands, the company and its shareholders,” Angel Martinez, Deckers’ CEO and president, said in a statement.

Simples Shoes, Deckers, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-friendly shoes, sustainable shoes, eco-friendly sneakers, sustainable sneakers


After 20 years of business, Simple took an abrupt turn after Teva and Simple president Pete Worley took over in January 2010. Simple, Worley told WWD in November, had lost its identity. “The original roots of the brand—and the reason it’s called Simple Shoes—was that it was all about the simple life, of which environmental consciousness was a very important element,” he said. “But over the years, that eco story took over and became the entire platform, and it even took on a bit of a preachy tone, if you will.”

After he took over in 2010, Worley implemented a new agenda for the brand: keep the green elements, but ditch the eco-only association.

Consumers found the brand message “too serious,” according to Worley, who implemented a new agenda for the brand: keep the green elements, but ditch the eco-only association. “We believe that has held Simple back and caused it to be less approachable than it should be,” he said. “[Simple’s] high-water mark, sometime in the late 1990s, was just north of $30 million. Since then the brand has lived in the $15-to-$25 million range in global sales. That’s barely scratching the surface, so there’s huge potential out there.”

Requests for comment were not immediately returned.

Update: Deckers is currently evaluating their options for the Simple brand, according to spokeswoman Errin Cecil-Smith, but the Dec. 31 cutoff will still hold.

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35 Responses to “Simple Shoes to Shutter by Year’s End?”

  1. mlonergan says:

    Sorry to hear about the Simple brand. I love the sneakers. They’re a bit funky and cute. Comfy too. Plus they carried my size (12 womens) and that’s a hard size to find in cute shoes.

  2. Blake See Double You (@blakeisinthis) says:

    This is bullcrap. I like simple AND sanuk, but sanuk isn’t as eco-friendly as simple. Fooey. Sanuk does have a “Rasta” shoe line, which I own the slipper and the sandal. Whatever. I have no control over it anyway. Bluh.

  3. jamsolid says:

    Yeah, it is a shame. There are few clothing lines that more honestly push the environmental issues we should all be more conscious of as we exercise our consumerism. It is my personal passion, and I thought Simple was unique for this. Since learning about them only a year ago I have bought 4 pairs of their shoes, locally, only to find in store supplies dwindling. That’s what has brought me online actually. To search for Simples!

  4. Abi-D says:

    I am so upset about this. I was really proud to own shoes made from recycled car tyres, that were so cute and comfortable. My pair are now worn out and I was looking to replace them, only to discover that there are none to be had anywhere.
    I’m disgusted and saddened that they would stop making an environmentally friendly brand of shoe because it seems ‘too preachy’! Governments are struggling to make people aware of the environmental crises we’re facing, and encourage us to buy recycled products, but this company decided it’s not so profitable to be responsible, so screw the environment.
    From what I’ve seen of the Sanuk range, the overlap they talk about does not apply to the type of shoe I loved. They are apparently just discontinued.
    Thanks Worley.

  5. jimmy k says:

    In the words of Dr. House, “you idiots.” Can’t believe you’re discontinuing Simple sneaks. I love them. My friends love them. Bad business decision, guys. Bad business.

  6. michael d says:

    Sad excuse by a company to discontinue a shoe because there was too much dialogue about the enviroment ! The shoes were great and they are the majority of my wifes shoes… I hope the company realizes sanuk does not cross over. Really disappointed… Does anyone know of a brand that comes close in design ?

  7. sharronsuss says:

    My big toe finally wore through the top of my 20-yr-old Simple brown clogs so I bought a second pair a month or so ago from Amazon. Turns out I may have gotten the last pair. Trying to get a pair for my DIL, I have only located a size-15 and size-14 men’s on Amazon & Ebay. She has big feet but not THAT big!

    Guess I got lucky. Twice!

  8. amberlady says:

    I hate to have to resort to hunting all over the world to find the shoes that fit me so well, are environmentally friendly and other people have raved about every time that I wear either the sandals or the sneakers. Why is it that only the good, reliable and long wearing things go out—-

  9. oochalian says:

    Aww… Sad story. I want Simple Shoes badly but I can’t afford it before. Now that I have dough to buy it, it’s gone XD

  10. gamarilys says:

    sanuk does not cross over!! they are horrible, I want simple back!!

  11. sneakers says:

    Please listen to your customers and keep making these shoes. I have found nothing that compares to them and always get compliments when I wear them. I love sneakers and these are sooo
    comfortable. Please, please, please reconsider this decision!!

  12. lisalu22 says:

    Please bring Simple Green Toe flip flops back!!! I can’t live without them! I don’t think Rainbow makes hemp flip flops anymore. Sanuk is okay, but not the same as Simple. Please come back Simple!

  13. diannemit says:

    Please!!!bring back Simple brand sneakers. They are so great. My last pair is in their last days.

  14. cindys says:

    It’s sad news to know that I won’t be able to replace my worn out Simple “Old School” pairs. I’ve worn and cared for these 2 pair for years while trying to find replacements. Now I see that it not going to happen. Comfort, style and durability … hard to find. Now I buy top of the line boarding shoes, Nikes, and they’re okay.

  15. peru28 says:

    thats a bad news,Simple was my favorite sneakers and i was proud to walk in front of many users of vans,johnfoos,converse,etc and looking to my SIMPLE to ask me where did i get those :) so i have to repair the ones i have to use with more proud now,i bought 4 pairs on 2001 and YES those are still ON,SIMPLE FOREVER!!

  16. nikki232 says:

    please keep the simple brand. i am an extremely picky person and these are the only shoes i have liked in years and cant find any shoes like them that i enjoy as much. please keep them.

  17. slmelchor says:

    What crap. I love the fact that the brand had integrity for the eco-conscience. Boo to you Worley :@

  18. daniel james says:

    Really sad to just see this!

    I went to an event at their showroom years ago, where I heard they were offering free drinks and a pair of free kicks.
    The kicks i got were grey, and looked like a “Simple” version of converse. Being that I owned quite a few pairs of converse, I figured I’d just wear the real things, and put the pair in my closet.
    Fast forward a few years, I had to move and found the pair.
    I put them on to run out & grab something to eat, and felt like i was floating.

    These sneakers were super comfortable, and I felt no back pain when I walked.
    I continued to wear them for the past few weeks.

    So many compliments have come my way.
    I’ve beaten the heck outta these things, and realized how well made they are.

    So this morning I wanted to find where i can get more, only to find this sad article.

    My first reaction was that they were a converse wanna be, & yes at the showroom party, heard the whole recycled thing, which was like yeah-ok, these will never catch on.

    I was “simply” wrong!

    I relate with everyone’s sadness, that these wonderful shoes are no longer, I’d be a buyer for life.



  19. allieboop7 says:

    A sad, sad farewell to the shoe company of a millenia. Bought my 1st pair from a sports shop in downtown Flagstaff, AZ in 1995…just after they started making them. Have owned multiple pairs over the years, down to just 3. Sneakers are on their last legs. Sanuk is crap, will never buy. Came on here today hoping against hope that Simple came back. Wish the original Santa Barbara team would just start it up on their own again. Going to try pf flyers next but no they’ll never compare. So long simple shoes.

  20. jessiej says:

    About 3 years ago in Southwold I bought the purple suede ones with green lace. They’re so comfy and get loads of admiring comments. Looked on here to see if I could buy some online only to find this sad article. What a pity. I would have loved some more.

  21. sammy84 says:

    I’m guttted by this too, I bought a pair a few years ago and they were my most comfy pair of sneakers. I also would of been a buyer for life. I have googled them a few times to see where I could get a pair. Such a massive shame, Im actually really gutted. I also loved the echo ethos.


  22. kate2triggs says:

    Is anyone from the Santa Barbara factory reading these comments? Ahh I am wearing my worn out simple shoes that are simply wearing away since i have worn them so much for the past three years. Love the eco concept and the fact they are so comfortable.

  23. kathom says:

    I’ve just washed my pair of second hand Simple trainers, which I love, for their looks and comfort. Was looking into buying another pair in a different colour and found this site. What a shame.

  24. kasey says:

    Wow I’m really late. I have about 4 pair of simple shoes was looking to purchase more. I like Sanuk as well but it’s clearly two different shoes. I agree with the concensus that discontinuing this shoe line was a bad idea.

  25. hoolit says:

    I’m another one who’s late to this. I own 3 pairs of their lace up trainers and absolutely love them. My favourite pair are wearing out and I’m gutted I can’t replace them. I don’t drive, so walk everywhere and the recycled car tyre soles were super bouncy and comfy. Plus my fave pair are made from a sturdier material than canvas (recycled seatbelts comes to mind?) and they’re much better at holding up in the rain than canvas, without the price tag of something like leather Converse. Had a look at the Saunk range and they don’t overlap when it comes to the Converse style trainers :( Please Decker, either bring back Simple or start making the trainers under the Sanuk name!

  26. oldschool says:

    sole in right sand, worn through.
    stitching in left blue, busted out.

    i’m mismatching and i don’t care – there is no alternative.

    but please come back. soon.

  27. shoeguy says:

    Yes, I agree with the “Sanuk’s are crap” comment. This move is pure and simple a financial decision. Sanuk is a cheaply made throwaway shoe line (not to mention ungodly ugly), but the profit margin is higher. I feel sorry for all the employees that lost their jobs. Sadly, I’m sure the CEO still has his. Is there no justice?

  28. g.t. plainandsimple says:

    Ditching the Green Toe line has ruined this company. They were the most comfortable shoe out there. Had multiple pairs of slip-ins. They were Stylish,comfortable and durable. My wife lived in the Mary Janes as well. Simple is Green Toe. If you want to move in a different direction, make a new line. Green Toe wasn’t broke so bring it back.

  29. badger says:

    commentary #19…I too bought my first pair of simple OS at aspen sports in ole downtown “Flagpole” in early 90s…small world!!!only “cool” sneakers i have worn since…have a stash that i unbox new pair each dec on my birthday…good for 4 more years then i guess i will have to find a new sneaker. sent email to decker ceo to ask they at least bring back OS…no response, hes a tool.

  30. babyivan says:

    OS OS OS OS OS!!!!! Cmon, atleast bring back my 2050 OS sneaks! The only shoe I wear. I just bought a pair of the hemp version on ebay for ridiculous $$$ I much prefer the original, but I will take what I can get!! BOOO to corporate greed and Sanuk!

  31. nadschwa says:

    I just sat down at my computer to purchase slippers and shoes for my 3 kids. First thing I did was Google the term “recycled shoes.” I get an article raving about Simple, it leads me to this article. SUPER SAD. At minimum would have purchased 6 pairs right now, at least twice per year with growing kids for next 12 years until they all graduate and start buying their own shoes. Doubt I’m the only mm who thinks and shops this way given online stores like “EcoMom” etc. Seems like there’s enough of a market and people who don’t find the eco message too preachy but are in fact the choir. Dumb business decision. Back to Google to find another brand. Their loss!

  32. amandoo says:

    the striped blue and pink and green canvas slip-on shoes were my favorite. i just saw a picture of them i had taken bc they were my “favorite shoe ever” and the most comfortable, and now i’m again lamenting the loss of these shoes. had i any clue, i would have bought three or twenty pairs…please come back comfy tire-bottomed shoes. please!

  33. sealbeachgirl says:

    Hi. I got my first pair of Simple ankles in 1993 or 1994 and still wear them. Very sad to hear about this news. I’ve been thinking about getting another pair. This is still the most comfortable shoe ever. And it still is in great condition. Mistake company. Miss you

  34. dywiz says:

    Are you crazy? Which “genius” made this decision?!!I’m so angry and can’t believe it.
    I really hope that someone will separate from stupid Deckers and will carry on with Simple. I will buy a lot in first minute.
    Shame on you Decker!!!

  35. jessiej says:

    I bought the purple suede Simple plimsolls about 4 years ago and I absolutely love them. They are now looking a bit scruffy. Has anyone tried putting them in the washer? I don’t want to ruin them. Would love another pair – I’m so disappointed that they’re not making them anymore.

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