I've got a favorite new pair of kicks!

Last week I travelled out to Burlington, Vermont, for a very cool event put on by Boston-based PR firm Cercone Brown. They invited a bunch of media types to a super green home for three days of product testing and business meetings. We got to sit down and talk to people from companies like 7th Generation and Green Mountain Coffee to hear first-hand how they are greening up their operations. I have a full breakdown post that I'll be publishing tomorrow or Wednesday, but I wanted to jump the curve a bit and gush about a pair of shoes that we were given to test out.

The New Balance 70 is the first shoe in their "eco-preferred collection", and while they're not totally green, they get pretty damn close. Seventy five percent of the shoe's upper components use materials like recycled polyester and synthetics made using fewer solvents than traditional materials. The outsole is stuffed with rice husk fillers, and they use water-based glues to piece it all together.

The shoe components were designed to reduce the amount of waste. When cut out in the factory, the insole of the shoe shows how each piece of the uppers were laid out in a square; they fit together like puzzle pieces.

They are comfy, light and stylish.

The 70 won't go on sale to the general public until July and will retail for around $80.

The 70 is a good step towards a truly green shoe -- one built with components that are either fully recyclable or compostible -- and a shoe that follows the tenants of Cradle to Cradle. Hopefully the 70 sells well and provides New Balance with some lessons that they can apply toward pushing the eco-envelope even further.

I'll be watching. In the meantime I will be strutting around town with my exclusive green(er) sneaks. It's good to be a green blogger!

This video gives you an idea of how the parts were engineered to reduce waste.

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Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

My favorite new shoes
New Balance is coming out with a pair of green(er) shoes this summer. Get the early scoop on the new 70s here.