The running shoes of the future, the future of running shoes

A Dutch startup completely re-thinks how to produce running shoes. Instead of recycling plastics, they don't use them at all: these running shoes are completely made from plants.

I’m quite excited today to introduce you to what I believe is the future not only of running shoes, but of how all products should be made in this century.

Zen Running Club is a brand new running shoe brand. I met one of the founders last week, he took me through their vision and I’m really excited!

Why isn’t everything made like this?

“Made from good decisions” is the company motto and it applies to all: they have a clear vision of what is possible technology-wise in order to build the ultimate eco running product possible in 2020, as it is simply creating a superb running shoe that perfectly meets the needs of the modern runner.

What they managed to create – so far – is a shoe that is made only from sustainably grown and sourced materials. It’s also 100% vegan, but that’s beyond the point.

This shoe weights 10oz and has a 6mm drop – with an oversized, stable and soft midsole with a rocker shape design

Where can I see them / get a pair?

Zen Running Club launches today, on Kickstarter. I recommend you have a look, especially because this for this launch period, the Kickstarter is at almost half the price of the final shoe!

Do you know all the details?

Maybe not all, but I do know a few. Here are the main points.

An engineered knitted upper eliminates excess material waste, produced from a process that turns Eucalyptus Plants into workable natural fibres. The knitted upper is zonally engineered to create a combination of support, flexibility and breathability ensuring a sock-like fit, enhanced by a natural fibre lacing support frame to lock the foot in place and ensure a customisable fit. Every element has been reworked, even down to the 3D engineered eyelets that ensure a seamless fit on top of the foot.

The midsole is built to provide maximal cushioning with its oversized design delivering a stable platform for support and sculpted to ensure maximum weight reduction. The rocker profile ensures the smoothest possible heel to toe transition to reduced harmful impact pressures and enhance the rolling gait for the runner to deliver a snappy and efficient gait.

The element of surprise is the responsive and resilient foam is made from a 100% organic compound, where we have turned Sugar Cane plants into a foam based material that can be used as a viable substitute to the petroleum based EVA’s used on running shoes currently.

The footbed is created out of Castor Bean Oil, and delivers incredible step-in comfort thanks to the form-fitting moulding around the heel. The eucalyptus top cloth of the footbed delivers excellent wicking and long-lasting durability.

The outsole is moulded from 100% natural latex, tapped directly from trees, with no additives, to round off the naturally sourced material components on the shoe.

zen running club 01 - features

Why this is important

Millions of running shoes are sold – and thrown away – every year. Made largely of plastic (yes, the amazing TPU foams we all enjoy nowadays…) they take centuries to decompose in a landfill.

We can do better. If new players come into the market with products that are sustainable from their inception and people buy into it, all other manufacturers will have to follow suit.

Very often this kind of product is little more than a novelty that is sustainable, but not a proper running shoe. Zen Running Club seems to be different – they are a serious running brand that thinks of the environment and produces proper, sustainable, performance running shoes.

The vision of the founders is clear and I, for one, support it.

Don’t forget to check Zen Running Club’s launch on Kickstarter here.




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