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It’s still early into the new year and this is usually the time that many of us set resolutions to get fit and healthy. And if you’re looking to start working out and shed those extra pounds you gained during lockdown or Christmas, you’ll need the right pair of high-performance running shoes and trainers. We’ve curated this 2021 guide to men’s sustainable running shoes to help you find the perfect pair for your high-impact fitness regime while minimising your environmental footprint.
Merrell’s ‘Rubato Trail Running Shoes for men continues the brand’s tradition of designing and producing functional running shoes – with durability and sustainability in mind. A member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, this brand uses the Higgs Index to guide their sustainability efforts. The Rubato Trail Running Shoes are vegan-friendly, has a EVA foam insole with 100% recycled top sheet and made with breathability and comfort in mind, featuring light FloatPro Foam™ and comes with Jacquard and TPU upper.
While Allbirds have been making shoes featuring natural fibres such as Merino wool and eucalyptus fibre, the Allbirds Tree Dasher is the first actual shoe the company has designed to be worn for high-impact workouts such as running, never mind that one of their earlier shoes was named a “Runner”. This comfortable running shoe is made with durable and breathable plant-based fibres, the upper material is sourced from FSC certified eucalyptus trees and it also features dual-density sugarcane midsole designed for maximum energy return. The insole is made from castor beans and emits less carbon than normal fossil fuel options. The sole is made from SweetFoam which is an EVA made from sugar cane not to mention that this is probably the only running shoe on the market that is completely carbon neutral.
According to Adidas, this is the right shoe if you are “ready to get serious about running”. And we couldn’t agree more. The shoes are made with Primegreen, an innovative series of high-performance recycled materials. The upper contains a minimum of 50% recycled content and is designed for increased airflow. The Supernova is available in 12 colours from black to grey, from blue to neon orange.
As a global business operating worldwide, Adidas has a responsibility to look after the environment, both for people today and for future generations. The brand already relayed that more than 60% of its products will be made with sustainable materials this year as it expands its lineup of eco-friendly apparel and these shoes fit the bill.
This show offers the performance of the ASICS Gel Nimbus 22 but has been produced with a softer landing and smaller environmental footprint. The Nimbus Lite is sustainably-made; its lightweight upper is made almost entirely of recycled material (sourced mostly from plastic bottles). The midsole is made of cellulose nanofiber, a byproduct derived from sugarcane. As FleetFeet describes it, the ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite isn’t just one of the best ASICS running shoes, it’s one of the best running shoes ever produced in this day and age.
This is one of the finest shoes on this list and we particularly like the all black futuristic look, which Reebok says this is inspired by a ‘progressive’ running style. The global sportswear company has really been doubling down on its efforts to be more sustainable as a brand and just last year, the brand released a sustainable plant-based running shoe.
Reebok aims to use only 100% recycled polyester fiber in their shoes by 2025 and its Zig Dynamica footwear comes with a soft and flexible textile upper made with recycled and repurposed materials.
Adidas continues its run on producing great running shoes (pun intended). The Ultraboost DNA is a combination of beauty and function. This is the colorful take on the Ultraboost silhouette, and my personal favorite is the blue colour which the company invites you to wear and contemplate the cosmos on your next run.
The shoes have a snug sock-like fit providing super comfort thanks to its responsive cushioning and a foot-hugging knitted. The knitted upper is made with Primeblue, a high-performance recycled yarn containing at least 50% Parley Ocean Plastic. Adidas continues kicking sustainability goals with this shoe.
The React Flyknit 2 is a masterpiece of Nike’s famous technologies; the React Sole and the Flyknit upper and it’s still one of the company’s most-tested shoes, designed for durability and stress-tested for pavement running. The advanced Flyknit upper provides breathability and the React Sole provides a smooth and responsive lightweight cushion. The company has been recognised by the Textile Exchange for their sustainability strides but Good on You, an app that ranks brands on sustainability and other ethical values, rates Nike as ‘It’s a start’ outlining that while the global sportswear brand has “good policies to audit suppliers in its supply chain… it is not taking adequate steps to ensure payment of a living wage for its workers.” According to Nike, “Sustainability is everything. Sustainability at Nike is more than a single-product principle. It’s an ethos we are embedding and scaling across our company and infusing into every brand, every category and every product from start to finish.”
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Disclosure: This list was curated based on the writer’s research. It does not fully take into account all the ethical considerations that are unique to each individual. Before making a purchase, we encourage you to do your own research paying particular attention to the supply chain and your own particular set of ethics. You can also check out online tools and apps that provide product reviews and brand ratings here. This list also includes affiliate links. Click here to read more about our policies.