I Tried Brooks' New "Eco-Friendly" Running Shoe — Here's What You Need to Know

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Jul. 21 2021, Published 1:10 p.m. ET

Carbon Neutral Shoe
Source: Brooks Running

While there are hundreds of sneaker brands out there, most longtime runners tend to gravitate towards certain brands — and one of the most popular is Brooks Running. As someone who has thoroughly enjoyed running for years, I personally have been loyal to Brooks for quite a while. The shoes are comfortable, reliable, and they have solid arch support. And recently, Brooks released a shoe that's deemed "eco-friendly," which I was lucky enough to test out.

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Brooks has recreated its most popular model, the Ghost, to be "more sustainable" than its other models. Now known as the Ghost 14, the iconic shoe is supposedly carbon neutral and composed of some recycled materials. Keep reading for my experience with the newest version of the company's widely beloved sneaker.

Brooks Ghost 14
Source: Brooks Running
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How are Brooks' Ghost 14s more sustainable than the classic Ghost?

Brooks recently unveiled a long list of environmental initiatives, but its most "instantaneous and tangible" is to offset emissions from its most popular sneaker, the Ghost. On July 1, Brooks released the Ghost 14s (SRP: $130), which are "carbon neutral" versions of the classic Ghosts. To do so, the company measured the impact of the original Ghosts by looking at its lifecycle — production, assembly, packaging, distribution, and disposal.

The new shoes themselves are mostly composed of recycled materials. Most of the upper textiles now contain upwards of 30 percent recycled polyester, while the sock liner top cloth, tongue lining, toe box reinforcement are now 100 percent recycled polyester. Brooks then makes up for the rest of the carbon emissions by participating in projects that curb climate change such as Crow Lake Wind Farm, Doe Mountain Improved Forest Management, Wenchang Biogas, and Gyapa Stoves Project.

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Brooks Running Eco-Friendly
Source: Brooks Running

Here's what my experience of running in Brooks' Ghost 14s was like:

All sustainability initiatives aside, I was quite happy with the Ghost 14s, as a runner. On Sunday, July 19, I donned them while running a half marathon to Rockaway Beach with the Brooklyn running group I co-lead, called Positive Mental Energy. And although the shoes contain different types of recycled materials, unlike the company's other models, they feel exactly the same as my other models.

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TBH, the run felt seriously spectacular — and I promise I'm not saying that because there was an ice cold White Claw waiting for me at the end of it, or because the shoes may have been more eco-friendly than my other pair. Like Brooks' other shoes, the Ghost 14s have reliably fantastic arch support, the materials are soft, they're light and a bit bouncy, which I personally like in a running shoe.

They're also really cute — and the women's Ghost 14s come in five different colors.

Ghost 14 Model
Source: Brooks Running
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So, the verdict? The Ghost 14s are great running shoes, and they're ultra comfortable. The fact they are comprised of some recycled materials is — green-wise — more impressive than the "carbon neutral" aspect, as the company doesn't really elaborate on to what degree they participate or invest in said projects. But, we're thrilled with the shoes and hope the brand continues to do more to "green-ify" its products.

Brooks has also released plans to offset company-wide emissions through a climate strategy.

On June 29, Brooks revealed its 2030 climate strategy to offset its environmental impact, which supports the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. If its goals are met, Brooks will supposedly achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040. The company plans to instate a take-back program and convert operational facilities and offices to renewable energy by 2022, and by 2025, Brooks hopes to convert its assembly factories to renewable energy.

By 2027, Brooks' high volume material factories will be converted to renewable energy, and by 2030, Brooks' products will supposedly be comprised of 50 percent recycled materials. The company is also participating the the projects above, and partnering with ClimateCare, to continue finding projects that make a difference in states in countries where its products are produced.

We love seeing running companies looking to do better — keep up the good work.

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