Planning to go trail running with your Sierra Club buddies? Now there's a new pair of green shoes that’ll make your fellow environmentalist friends green with envy: Brooks Sports Cascadia 6. Finally, you can go trail running wearing shoes made with 50 percent recycled content!
Half of that 50 percent figure is post-consumer recycled content — which means that a full quarter of the Cascadia 6 was once used as water bottles, furniture foam or other products before ending up on your feet. The laces, gillies and tongue webbing are all made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials, while the shoe’s mesh and sockliner boast 30 percent post-consumer recycled content. Recycled rubber makes up 30 percent of the shoes’ outsole. Plus, the Cascadia 6 gets its bright green color from nontoxic dyes and colorants and is held together with water-based adhesives.
How do they do on the trail? At 9.3 ounces (11.2 ounces for men), the Cascadia 6 provides great cushioning and has a fairly generous toe box (I find the toe box for most running shoes far too narrow) without being heavy. I discovered during a hike up Temescal Canyon that the shoes have a great grip, as trail running shoes should — and in general, provide more support and comfort than the New Balance 070, another green trail running shoe I’ve tried that has a more basic, no-frills structure.
According to Brooks, the Cascadia 6 was produced greenly too, saving 35 percent energy in production, and using fewer petroleum-based products. Brooks also contends that the shoe’s greener materials are largely biodegradable — with the midsole expected to break down 50 times faster than traditional EVA midsoles in a landfill. That feature’s interesting but doesn’t impress me very much, because I just don’t see a great green benefit to having a shoe break down faster when it’s already trapped in an enclosed landfill.
But I am impressed by Brooks’ efforts to use post-consumer recycled materials in its shoes, keeping those materials out of landfills altogether — at least until the shoes wear out, which Brooks claims will be a longer-than-expected time since the Cascadia 6′s cushioning system’s more durable. I’ll do a lot of hiking to see if the shoes live up to its longetivity promise!
The Cascadia 6 isn’t Brooks’ first green shoe. Last year, Brooks debuted Green Silence, a green racing flat. But the Cascadia 6 is the first shoe greened by Brooks that already had an audience. Many trail runners are already fans of Brooks’ Cascadia line and may be convinced to try Cascadia 6 simply because it’s the newest iteration in the line, even if they don’t care about the shoe’s eco-creds.
Kudos to Brooks for introducing its customer base to a greener option! The Cascadia 6 is available now for $110 a pair in four color schemes, two each for men’s and women’s.