The hunt for eco-friendly running shoes
"I MUST find a running shoe that is eco-friendly & ethical!", I thought to myself when I realized I was in need of replacing my running shoes. Little did I know how hard that would prove to be...
I searched & searched for 2 days, a few hours at a time, and kept coming up empty handed. I couldn't believe it! In this day & age, how was it THIS hard to find an eco-friendly running shoe?! You may be asking why I was so insistent on finding an eco-friendly running shoe & I will tell you why. Last year, I read The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist. I highly recommend it to every lovely soul on this earth because it has changed my life & my relationship with money. The main message I received from the book is to use your dollar as your voice, your vote. What you purchase on a continual basis & even the bigger purchases you make, like running shoes, should align with your beliefs & values.
Over the past year since reading The Soul of Money, I had taken a deep look at what I was voting for with the money I was spending. I noticed the areas that needed a makeover & also noticed the areas where I was already completely aligned with my beliefs & values: shopping at the local farmers markets to support organic farms, buying in bulk, always making sure to use reusable bags at the grocery store & even when shopping for clothes, buying clothing from companies that operate & employ in the United States...these are just a few examples. I realized that my next pair of running shoes should be aligned with my other purchasing habits.
Because even after 2 days of searching, I still couldn't find a company I was totally wild about, I released my intention for finding a sustainable runnning shoe into the universe. I closed my laptop, closed my eyes & said-
"OK universe, show me what you got!"
The next day, I started to search & before I knew it, I had stumbled upon a company called Vivobarefoot, based in the UK. This is directly from their website: "VIVOBAREFOOT footwear is produced sustainably using recycled, locally sourced materials, with efficient and eco-friendly production techniques in independently monitored ethical factories. We use minimum components where possible and favour stitching and vulcanized production methods over glue. We aim to make our shoes extremely durable so they spend more time on the feet...Our philosophy and principles do not end with the eco production methods we adhere too. We also believe in improving the life of others through charitable partnerships. VIVOBAREFOOT’s chairman, Lance Clark, set up Soul of Africa and VIVOBAREFOOT have helped its development over the last two years. Soul of Africa has raised over $2m for the Soul of Africa trust to date and provided hundreds of jobs in a destitute area of South Africa."
Isn't that just GREAT?! I thought so!
Just to clarify, I'm not getting paid by Vivobarefoot to write this post. I am writing this in hopes of helping others who may be looking for a more sustainable, eco-friendly AND ethical running shoe company like I was. Yes, this company is based in the UK, & yes, it would be much better (in regards to carbon footprint & supporting American businesses) if there was a company in the US or better yet, in California that was doing what Vivobarefoot is doing, BUT there isn't (at least to my knowledge!)
So purchasing from this company & supporting what they are doing seemed like the best possible solution to my conundrum. I received my shoes in a few days time, I unwrapped them with the excitement of a child unwrapping the Christmas present they've always wanted, and tried them on right away. They did not disappoint! They fit perfectly: they were like wearing socks but with more oomph. I had to give them a whirl right then, so I did a quick HIIT workout, jump squats, lunges, burpees, the works. OH MAN, THESE SHOES ROCK!! Believe it or not, it was easier to remain stable while moving. I actually really enjoy the barefoot-but-not-barefoot feel of them. I feel more connected with the Earth below my feet & more connected to my body as a whole. Keep doin' your thing Vivo! You guys definitely have my support for the long-run! **pun intended**