Like many here, I care about my consumption. I strive to buy “used” as much as possible.
Considering I am a runner, however, buying used shoes isn’t safe. I try to opt for sustainable/eco-friendly brands whenever I buy new. But finding sustainable gear that protects me from injury, optimizes performance, is vegan AND sustainable can be challenging. Recall, for example, my discussion of Oofos orthopedic sandals a couple years ago. The shoes are excellent, and I still utilize them for recovery to this day. But there is no mention of sustainability or carbon emissions on the Oofos website. So I experienced a bit of dissonance when buying them. Same with my running shoes at that time, the Brooks Ghost 13. While the shoes are vegan, the 13 is not sustainable/carbon neutral.
If you’re an avid runner and you’re not using an app to track your miles, you may be guessing how many miles you’ve put on your shoes. No shade; that is what I do! And since quality shoes are costly, I like to squeeze every penny out of them I can.
But the entire last week, my right hip and left knee have been in a bad way. (If you want to know where your physical weaknesses are, run a few miles. Your body will tell you.) I’ve persevered, but been collapsing onto my sofa in the evenings, and melting into my bed at night, completely exhausted and in pain. So I accepted that it was time for new shoes.
I opted for the Brooks Ghost 14, which is vegan AND carbon neutral!
First off, I can say that after putting 12 miles on these, my body feels much better. Admittedly, I was in a lot of pain so my bar isn’t that high! But these shoes are phenomenal. Brooks shoes have long been loved by runners for the advanced cushion technology, and this shoe is no different in that area. The landings in this shoe are remarkably soft, absorbing your weight in lieu of burdening your hips, knees and ankles. I’m running on more pavement than ever before, and this shoe is ideal for paved roads without compromising on adequate traction.
The phrase “smooth transition” may not mean anything to you if you’re not a runner, but that is all I can think of while running in these shoes. The Ghost 14 genuinely has me feeling like I’m gracefully gliding, not running. The shoes weigh 9 ounces, keeping you light on your feet.
It should be noted, this is a neutral shoe. If you have super high arches, you may find you fare better in a “max support” shoe. This is because folks with high arches end up putting a lot of strain on their plantar fascia. I find it helpful to use the thermal technology fitter at the running sports store. Because it is actually hard to know for sure. I danced ballet growing up and was always socialized to believe I had “high arches.” But in reality, I have a medium arch, making neutral shoes ideal for me. Conversely, if you have flat feet, you may be more likely to over-pronate. All that to say, go get fitted by the professionals!
And of course, I must discuss the material. The shoe is made of synthetic and recycled materials. Per the website, the mindful manufacturing processes used “reduces carbon emissions by 1,908,447 kg CO2eq”. To bolster the shoes’ carbon neutrality, the company has invested in carbon offsets. Therefore, by using recycled/man-made synthetics, mindful manufacturing, and investing in carbon offsetting, the Brooks Ghost 14 is carbon neutral.
The most environmentally friendly thing we can do is use what we have until it must be replaced, so I don’t encourage anyone to ditch their current shoes in favor of these. But when it comes to be your time? I would certainly recommend these vegan beauties. Yes, it is a kick in the pants economically. But quality gear is worth paying for. And we’re investing in our health AND protecting the health of the planet. What better way to spend is there?
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Photo: Chrissie Kremer via Unsplash, R. Coker