With Thanksgiving and Black Friday out of the way, we have nothing but Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus and Rotinimiss (the new year end holiday celebrated by Pastafarians) to look forward to as we close out the last month of 2009. Whatever your religious and holiday affiliation is, it's likely you're expected to buy stuff for people who will be buying stuff for you. If you have to buy stuff, why not buy some greener stuff?

Over the next few weeks, I'll be highlighting a lot of the things I use everyday that I think would make a good present for the green leaner in your life.

Today I'm going to rave about the NB 070s, the new greener shoe from New Balance. I got a chance to try them out in April before they went on sale this summer and haven't worn anything else since. They're easily the most comfortable shoes I've owned for everyday living. When I first picked them out of the box they felt artificially light, like something was missing. As soon as I put them on my feet and walked around a bit though, I knew that the only thing missing was the weight — these shoes are performers.


New Balance tried to keep the design of the 070 simple and kept the topside material to a minimum. The first thing I noticed when I first put them on was that they didn't feel like my other shoes. It wasn't so much that my feet were tied in as they were tied on. The thin, but sturdy fabric on the top wraps and stretches nicely to provide for a snug but form-hugging fit. The rice husk rubber outsole is sturdy and has held up to daily wear and lots of time spent running, biking and on my longboard.

On top of being super comfortable, the shoes look really nice. If you're into earth tones (like I am), the NB 070s will work right into your wardrobe. They are shoes you can wear just about anywhere this side of black tie.

I wouldn't call the New Balance 070 green shoes, but they made some big steps in the greener direction (there's a big difference between green and greener; I'm a stickler for pointing it out). In addition to the rice husk rubber outsole, the NB 070 uses a lot of natural material — like using recycled whenever they needed to go synthetic. The pieces of the shoes are cleverly designed to minimize waste in production — you can see how one side of the shoe locks into the other, like a puzzle. It's a little feature, but an important one. The inside of the shoe has a little illustration showing how they tried to cut all the pieces of the shoe out of the raw blanks to eliminate trim waste.

The New Balance 070's retail for $79.99 and ship for free from NB Web Express. They'd make a great present for anyone appreciating the greener side of life and they come in four styles — two colors for men and two for women.

[Buy the New Balance 070]

Click back tomorrow when I'll be highlighting another cool piece of green holiday presentry.

Full Disclosure: New Balance gave me my shows gratis. I get plenty of stuff for free that never sees the light of a review- it's only the stuff that I truly love that gets a mention here.

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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.

Shea's '09 Holiday Gift Guide
Find some great greener presents to buy your loved ones and in-laws this holiday season as Shea shares some of his favorite eco-stuff. Today it's the New Balanc