Running 2021 with Efforts for a Cleaner Environment

While I support a cleaner environment, I have to be honest. My thoughts about the environment are usually fleeting and don’t really come into focus until it impacts me directly. Like when I look at the temperature before a run and the weather site also indicates poor air quality. Or when I am fortunate to run along a beach and see debris washing in.

As runners, we spend a lot of our precious time in the out of doors. So, how does our passion for running have an impact on the quality of the outdoor environment we enjoy? To some degree, through the manufacture (and afterlife) of the shoes and apparel we purchase.

Every year, runners purchase an incredible amount of merchandise, particularly running shoes. Most of us have at least several pair in our closets and generally more than one brand. There are several brands that demonstrate concern for the environment and have incorporated recycled material into their products. Adidas is one of them.

Several years ago, Adidas, partnered with Parley for the Oceans and introduced a running shoe in its Ultra Booster line made from plastic found dumped into the ocean.

Now, they are expanding efforts to do further clean up of the oceans. This recent article in FootWear News says they plan to make 17 million pairs of shoes (that’s a lot of shoes!) with recycled plastic from beaches and oceans.

I have Adidas athletic clothing in my closet, primarily from my forays to the Boston Marathon. Truth be told, I don’t remember owning a pair of Adidas running shoes. I believe the toe box is a bit tight for me.

Adidas isn’t the only company that has upped its awareness on environmental issues. I did a quick comparison of sustainability policy with the three brands that I do wear: Saucony, Brooks and Mizuno.

Each brand has information posted on their website explaining their environmental efforts. I am impressed with Saucony’s continuing work toward a biodegradable shoe and Brooks was one of the earlier brands in attempts to incorporate recyclable material into their shoes.

All in all, it appears that Adidas is currently doing the most aggressive work. They have plans for an upcoming vegan line that would use mycelium (had to look this one up, google dictionary tells me it is the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a network of fine white filaments). Adidas vegan versions would include a leather alternative.

Adidas says it continues work to reduce carbon emission and water consumption. By 2050, their goal is to achieve global climate neutrality.

Those are some high goals. I will keep this company in mind as I replenish worn out workout gear. Sometimes our voices are heard most clearly when and where we open our pocketbooks.

Wishing all a happy new year and a cleaner environment.

Do you consider a company’s policies and environmental efforts when making running shoe purchases?

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

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