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  • Writer's pictureBrent Beckham

What running/active gear is your go to that is vegan, ethically made, and environmentally friendly?

What running or active gear is your go to that is vegan, ethically made, and environmentally friendly? Do you find it hard to check all the boxes? Years ago, I would buy gear and not think much of it. Typically the driving factors were, "How well does it fit?", "How much does it cost", and "Do I really need another pair of running shorts?" Okay, that last one not as often, but definitely the, "Do I really need this other [insert name of new fangled, fancier running gear here]?" came up quite a bit. The questions that come up today for me are: 1. Do I really need another one of this "thing" or upgrade this "thing" or a new "thing"? This can be a running vest, watch, shoes, other clothing, you name it. 2. Where is this thing made and by whom? Is it ethically and responsibly made. This one is a newer one for me. Though for me it really puts things in perspective. For example, if the item is vegan but I have no idea where it is made (specifics beyond the country) and by whom (are they paid fairly, treated well, of acceptable working age, etc.) then it is hard to justify purchasing said item. 3. Is it vegan and furthermore what materials is it made from? For example recycled plastics, renewable materials, etc. 4. Does it fit well? 5. Does it perform well? At the end of the day, it needs to perform as well as if not better than competing products that do not check the boxes. Otherwise, what is the point? 6. How much does it cost? I would be willing to spend more if I knew the above criteria, and any other added pluses/benefits not listed above, are met with said product. 7. Do I really need this item, or am I perfectly happy and can work with what I currently have? Basically am I falling into a consumerist trap, or is it really replacing something or a justified need. For example, rain gear that actually works and is packable for running (as well as hiking, biking, camping, etc.). What's on your check list? So I couldn't find a link to the Clouds (shown in the picture above) on Amazon (yes, I have an affiliate account). However, I also have a pair of the Hanas, below, and they are great! They are vegan and replace my old low top Converses (yes, I know - not vegan). They are really flexible, great for going out, walking around town, really anything. I will note that not the greatest for technical hiking with a lot of roots and rocks, especially when carrying your kid on your back in a hiking backpack, ha! Though great for most other hikes, walks, etc. Other critique is the grip of the soles, which are not the greatest on wet surfaces or loose dirt/terrain. So just a word of caution. The Clouds have a similar sole, with a more uniform pattern. So my critique is the same on the grip. Maybe a stickier rubber or lug pattern? Xero Shoes do offer trail shoes (the TerraFlex - link below and also vegan), which are on my wish list. They offer a bigger lug, so feasibly better grip, but no idea is the rubber is the same. I have also read from other reviews that the shoe does not drain that well, the insert has a tendency to move around (I think it was only when the shoe was wet but may be incorrectly recalling that), and the laces seem cheap or from a boot (versus made for a shoe). So, I am holding off on these until maybe a redesign of the upper. I have also been interested in the Prio (also vegan), as I am getting to a point where I should really replace my road shoes. Again, I believe the sole is similar to the Hanna and Cloud, but I like running in the Hannas. The Hannas just don't have a full lacing system so you can't really tighten them down to your feet, but still super flexible and great ground feel. Same goes for the Clouds. In short, I really like Xero Shoes as a whole (obviously not the non-vegan shoes they offer but we'll skip those - ha!).

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