By Su Reid-St. John
I confess: I'm a bit of a conservation nut. I'm the gal who fishes soda cans out of the garbage to put in the recycling bag, who turns the lights off in empty conference rooms as she passes, who brings her own take-out container to the company cafe. That's why I was so excited to hear about Brooks' new Green Silence running shoes.
Sure, lots of shoe companies have been touting "green" kicks lately, but these are the first I've seen that go this far. A full 75% of the materials used to make the shoe are recycled (as is the box they come in), and the midsole, insole, and collar foams are biodegradable. Plus, there are only half as many parts to the shoe as you'd normally find. Translation: It leaves a much smaller carbon, well, footprint than most others.
Of course, being green will only get you so far. I needed to find out how these eye-popping kicks performed. Enter my co-worker Susan Hall, a dedicated runner who shares my shoe size but not my tendency toward achy knees.
Here are her first impressions:
I tried the Green Silences on the treadmill and thought they were great! I'd wondered if they would provide enough support (I usually need a little beefing up in that department), but I ran four miles with no problem. In fact, they felt very cushy in the midsole and not constrictive at all in the toe box. There was no uncomfortable stitching—nothing that made me feel even a bit of irritation or pain.
So far, so good. A few days later, she took them out for a pavement pounding.
This time, they didn't feel as cushy or supportive as they had on the treadmill. But I really like that the tongue is integrated into the side of the shoe, so it stayed put and didn't become lumpy on the top of my foot. I also like that the outer part is mesh, which kept my foot cool. The tread performed well on slick bricks and sidewalks—no slipping at all, despite the fact that it had been raining—and my foot felt snug, thanks to the off-center laces (though I did have to do a double-knot to keep them from coming untied). Overall, I would prefer a little more support and stability from the shoe; I’m used to kicks that have more structure. But I could see a lot of people liking that these are so light, simple, and comfortable.
I borrowed them back and took them out for a walk-run interval workout to see for myself. While the level of cushioning felt fine to me, I found myself agreeing with Susan about the structure, as they lacked a bit in the arch support department. Still, man, these are comfy shoes. Plus, they're super-light (a mere 6.9 ounces, to be precise).
But these are serious running shoes, so I offered them back to Susan. She hesitated, looking at the colors that would feel right at home in Ronald McDonald's closet. "It's just that my style is a little less, well, flashy," she said.
No worries. I have a more flamboyant size 8 runner friend in mind for these. As I said, I know how to recycle.
Product: Brooks Green Silence running shoes
Pros: They're light and comfortable, with good traction. Plus, they're very easy on the environment.
Cons: They don't provide a lot of support.
Cost: $100 at
Extra tip: These shoes are sized as "unisex"—in other words, they work for both men and women, but are sized like men's shoes. Gals, find the male equivalent to your size here.