Connecting the Dots Between Food & Environmentalism Read More →
I got asked by another blogger today to write my thoughts about what I use for vegan running shoes. I get asked this a lot and just decided to take photos of some (operative word here, 'some.' ) of my closet. I will also include a few from races here.
Bottom line, companies are saving their bottom line by dumping leather. With droughts all over the world, cattle, beef and leather prices are soaring. So it is much easier to find non-leather shoes these days. Why this wasn't done decades ago is beyond me. But I'm joyful to have so many more choices now.
The red shoe is the T6 by Brooks. I've been wearing them for about 3 years as just racing flats. No cushioning at all, but great light-weight flat. I'm pretty sure I go a minute or two faster in them. (There go my secrets.) They've come out with a newer version, but I haven't bought them yet. You should replace running shoes every 3 months or 300 miles...or whenever you can see significant wear.
One of the photos shows me wearing the Brooks shoe at the "Run Through Hell 5K" at Tampa's Al Lopez park last summer. I placed in that race, but not before falling into a mud filled hole. It was great fun.
The Asics GS Trainer is one I've worn for years, though I can't pinpoint when they went vegan. I use it when I'm trying to use a softer and less reinforcing orthtotic. Hard orthotics work best for my knees, but kill my flat arches. So I rotate between hard and soft orthotics (a whole other story).
The Asics Gel Nimbus is a neutral shoe that I wear with my hard orthotics and use for long distances, and especially when running on concrete and asphalt. I've tried to quit them and go to more minimalist shoes, but for long training, it just doesn't work for me. I need the more cushioned shoe.
Here's a picture of the label inside the tongue. Like with food...read the labels. Not crazy that so many shoes are made in China, but there just aren't many non-China choices. The label here says "synthetic fiber & synthetic leather upper, rubber sole." They just can't quite come out and say "vegan," can they?
I would like to say that I trust everything I read, and generally, with labels like this I do. I still give the shoe a once-over, and if I think there is any doubt, I won't buy the shoe. But these days, it has become much easier to tell if a running shoe is covered with shiny, reflective materials, most likely it is not leather. If it doesn't look anything like a cow, it probably isn't a cow.
Synthetics are also lighter in weight, which is what many runners look for these days, even if they aren't minimalists or barefoot runners. I've tried the whole barefoot running thing, and in concept, I love the idea. But it is hard to give up years of atorphying muscles in shoes and orthotics. I admire the folks who run barefoot on soft surfaces, but I'm thinking that the folks running marathons barefoot on concrete streets may be in for some trouble down the line. Like so much of progress, concrete is a fairly recent development, anthropologically speaking. I got injured running barefoot on what I thought was an ideal surface on a flat beach. Not so fast. Another story for another time.
The other shoe is the New Balance 1080. This newer version was meant to compete with the Gel Nimbus, but after about 20 miles, I started feeling my neuroma between my second and third toe, which I don't with a more cushioned shoe. So back to the Gel Nimbus. Miles of smiles to you...just get out there! Gotta run!!
Keeping fit doesn't have to be expensive. I once had a student in a cooking class who lost 120 pounds in 8 months never counting a calorie, ever being hungry and she loved the vegan food. She couldn't work out because she had multiple myeloma, one of the more fatal forms of cancer. It is a kind of bone cancer and her bones were very fragile from the start. (Why don't more docs recommend a vegan diet for weight loss??) Read More →