Running goes hand in hand with the environment. However, the future of running is now in danger following the continued effects of climate change. One of the countries most at risk of further losing their opportunity to run outside is India. In 2017, the Indian Medical Association urged the cancellation of the Delhi half-marathon out of concern for the air pollution’s health effects. More recently in 2019, the WHO said that India’s air particulate matter concentration was the highest worldwide.
As a result, many runners are now realising their role in protecting the Earth. As the athletes who are arguably most involved in a symbiotic relationship with Mother Nature, runners have the responsibility and the ability to follow and encourage eco-friendly practices. One of the easiest ways to do so is to switch to eco-friendly running shoes. Made ethically and sustainably, these shoes can support your athletic performance and the environment.
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% Nature
Touted as Nike’s most eco-friendly performance shoe, the sustainable Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% Nature is the newest natural release. Centred around the company’s environmental goals, the shoes are designed and manufactured with zero carbon and zero waste. This new silhouette is made with 50% recycled materials which include ZoomX foam, hybrid Flyknit and Flyprint uppers, and surplus Zoom Air Pods. Nike assures runners that this sustainable iteration does not affect the reliability of its fastest marathon shoe, but instead enhances its holistic value.
Adidas x Parley
Ocean pollution is one of the most pressing environmental concerns today. In 30 years, scientists predict that plastic waste in the oceans will even outnumber the fish. To prevent this, Adidas has partnered with environmental group Parley for the Oceans. Together, they’ve released the Adidas x Parley running shoes made from marine waste. To form the uppers, they use the specially crafted Ocean Plastic polyester yarn spun from dried and crushed plastic. This ensures that each shoe is made of 75% respun marine trash while still offering the same comfort and athletic standards that runners have come to expect.
Allbirds Tree Dasher
Although this is Allbirds’ first venture into running shoes, the Tree Dasher is a solid all-around training shoe. Made to be breathable and slim, these shoes are comfy and offer good cushioning and arch support. The firm yet flexible midsole is made from a proprietary material called SweetFoam, which is made from sugarcane. The breathable knitted outer is made from FSC certified eucalyptus trees, and the stylish sock liner is made from a castor bean-based textile. These shoes are easy to break in and transition from training to hanging out.
For those runners who want to try barefoot running, like one of our featured runners Jitendra Tayde, this barefoot-style shoe from Vivobarefoot is an eco-friendly option. These running shoes are made using recycled PET, natural yarn, cork, and recycled rubber. A completely vegan running shoe, each pair is manufactured with minimal water and chemicals so that it also consumes less energy. Although its production and materials are quite minimal, the running benefits are undeniable. The slim soles provide cushioning without being excessively springy. The uppers are also very breathable so the feet can comfortable even during long runs.
Running is an escape and a means to enter a new phase of your life. If we don’t start to do our part for the environment, the beauty and benefits of running may no longer be available to us in the future. Little by little, and step by step, we can help make a difference for the environment. And sometimes, that’s as simple as investing in a sustainable pair of runners.