The shoe may be called Green Silence, but Brooks’ new eco-friendly kickers don’t come quietly onto the green market — thanks to their dazzling yellow hue. As my fellow MNN blogger Shea Gunther says, these shoes should be renamed Yellow Scream!
While environmentalists may ponder why Brooks chose to make its greenest footwear look like a subliminal advertisement for McDonald’s, most will likely agree that Green Silence are about the greenest running shoes out there today. For one, the obnonxious yellow hue’s actually produced using nontoxic dyes and colorants!
Even ignoring the loud eco-color, Green Silence does look decidedly different because it has half as many parts as a regular shoe, reducing the need for materials, energy and glues. The shoe’s tongue, for example, is a continuous extension of the shoe’s outer side. What glued parts it does have are kept together with water-based adhesives.
More impressively, 75 percent of the shoe is made from post-consumer recycled materials! Recycled CDs, for example, make up 50 percent of the shoe’s heel, while recycled rubber makes up 30 percent of the outsole. Most of the fabric part of the shoe is made with a blend of recycled PET from used water bottles — with the laces, gillies (loops for shoelaces), and reinforced webbing being 100 percent recycled PET.
What’s not recycled is mostly biodegradable — though obviously nowhere near as biodegradable as your average apple. According to Brooks, the midsole and insole break down “50 times faster than traditional midsoles in an enclosed, active landfill” — an interesting feat, although this does point out that the shoe will indeed end up in a landfill at the end of its life, as running shoes inevitably do. With that end in mind, Brooks has put together a helpful “Shoe Life Cycle” guide which shows people how to get the most out of their running shoes before sending them to the landfill.
I took the shoes out for a test run and liked the shoes’ light but cushioned feel! I was a little concerned that the semi tongue-less feature of the shoe might make them feel funny or unstable, but the shoes held firm. The permeable mesh uppers kept my feet cool, too.
My main complaint: I had to stick to alleyways and unpopular streets so as not to blind anyone with my yellow feet — or unwittingly end up on some fashion faux-pas blog. Unfortunately, while the $100-a-pair Green Silence shoes will start shipping in their 100 percent post-consumer recycled box come February, the kicks will not be offered in any other color combos. We’ll find out next month whether eco-conscious runners are willing to embrace looking like Ronald McDonald for the sake of the environment….
Top photo courtesy of Brooks; bottom photo by Siel