The Zen Story

Zen Running Club was born out of a question - what would happen if you no longer had to choose between performance, sustainability and looking great?

  • ZEN

    An approach to an activity, skill, or subject that emphasises simplicity and intuition rather than conventional thinking or fixation on goals.


    As a sport or for pleasure, running significantly improves your health, lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, whilst enhancing mood and energy levels.

  • CLUB

    Our club allows everyone an equal chance to participate and have the opportunity to progress how they choose.

Plant Powered Innovation

Building a running shoe is like baking a cake. It requires skill, patience and a blend of just the right ingredients. We ‘bake’ our ZR 01 running shoe from three main plant-based ingredients: sugarcane, eucalyptus, and natural rubber. Then we add a sprinkling of sustainable and recycled extras to get the performance just right – but as soon as bio tech allows us, we'll be serving 100% plant-based.

  • Eucalyptus

    Running shoes often wrap your foot in a soft, lightweight mesh, made by melting down plastic, turning the sticky liquid into thin threads, which are woven together to form the fabric.

    However, the downside is poisonous carbon disulphide pollution, CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change, and plastic micro particles that will be here for centuries.

    We create a material of the finest performance, using the same process, but our ‘plastic’ is a pulp made from sustainable eucalyptus trees, grown in managed forests with natural methods and rain water, absorbing C02 to be carbon negative and helping tackle climate change. Our tree fibres become a thread called Lyocell. 

  • Sugarcane

    The soft midsole that sits beneath your foot is made from a material called EVA. It cushions, supports and propels you forward into your next stride.

    Standard EVA foam is created from an oil based plastic, which unfortunately means harmful CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change, and plastic micro particles that will be here for centuries.

    We create a material of the finest performance, using the same process, but our EVA is made from a mix that includes sugar cane. Yes, that same sugar we like in cakes and candy. It looks a little like bamboo, and is grown sustainably using natural methods and rain water, as it absorbs C02 to be carbon negative and help tackle climate change.

  • Natural Rubber

    Giving sure footed confidence on the ground, our outsole is designed to last. Most running shoes use a synthetic rubber compound – a flexible oil based material that unfortunately comes with all the usual eco downsides of plastics.

    Our natural rubber is FSC approved, responsibly grown in the warmth and rain of a tropical climate. As with all plant based materials, the growing process absorbs CO2 to be carbon negative and to help tackle climate change.

    In order to provide the functionality and durability demanded of a performance running shoe, our rubber is mixed with small amounts of additives that aren’t yet plant based. But with bio tech rapidly advancing, we're aiming to be 100% organic.

The Loop

Our ultimate goal is to create 100% plant-based products within a perfect ‘closed loop’. Where the soil created from composting our old shoes helps grow the materials to make our new shoes. We’re not there yet, but much of our idea is already happening…

Growing Plants

Plants are grown sustainably and responsibly using natural methods and rain water, to create our core materials. They capture CO2 that helps reduce the effects of climate change, and any organic waste from harvesting becomes the compost to grow another crop.

Creating Materials

The production facilities first turn these plants into pulps and liquids, then threads and foams. This process captures clean, useful by-products such as ethanol and renewable energy.

The Product

Moulded, woven, and assembled using water based glues and dyes, for a healthy working environment. Packed into a shoe box made from recyclable cardboard sourced from responsibly managed, FSC certified, forests.

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