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October 2008
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Running with a Conscience

Running may not be the best means of alternative transportation; running with a heavy back pack is just not easy. But many people find running an easy way to stay in shape; you can run anywhere. As one of my favourite running t-shirts says “The roads are never closed.”

I grew up racing cross-country and track. Every year I would go through many pairs of shoes, somewhere in the order of 10 pairs. Being very innocent and naive back then I had no idea just what an impact my shoes had on the environment; the physical space they take up is one thing but they are also made of petroleum products and likely in a factory that produces regardless of what their impact.

Enter the Stumptown 10oz from ENDoutdoor

It is a running shoe with a conscience. END, Environmentally Neutral Design, has started selling their shoes in Portland, Seattle and online at REI.com. What separates END from everyone else is their philosophy of “Born Green, By Design.” From them to us…

END was born out of idea that better design through
problem solving is the next step in making greener gear for the outdoor
athlete. We will not just replace toxic or virgin materials with
sustainable ones, our evolutionary design process, Co2ND, will begin at
the design table. Here we will question every seam, every stitch, every
material and every step in the manufacturing process...we will question
everything in our quest to minimize the footprint of our products prior
to manufacturing.
Once a problem is solved and a new design born, we will incorporate
sustainable materials that can withstand the rigor our outdoor athletes
require whenever possible. We will then work with our factory partners
to make their manufacturing process greener by simplifying the
construction process and reducing complex parts. Environmentally
Neutral Design is our charter...it is unfortunately not the starting
point in today's market. In those instances where we can't find or use
sustainable materials in a stitch, seam or yard of fabric due to cost,
availability or durability, we will be transparent in disclosing this
fact to our athletes. We will measure our success by seasons, by being
able to say we have increased the percentage of sustainable materials
used in our products while decreasing the amount of materials actually
needed to make them.
The day will come when we are creating and manufacturing 100%
Environmentally Neutral Designs, products that we can tell you to throw
into your compost pile when used up. That will be a good day for all of
us, a day we can then say we have reached END.

It doesn’t end there with END. There are other cross-training and hiking shoes. And as an added bonus they are very affordable. At $80USD the will ship them to you anywhere in the US for $10 or to any REI store for free. REI will also ship to Canada for $20, which in terms of cost of running shoes is still great (my current shoes are almost $200CAD).

As the life of my shoes comes to an end, I’ll be making the switch to END.