Driving bio-based innovation for a better tomorrow

Why are we at Zen Running Club focused on bio-based materials, and just why is innovation into plant based materials so important?


Industry leading innovation

The footwear and apparel industries have been slow to adapt their ways of working, manufacturing and product output to become more eco-friendly.

Slowly, that is changing, driven by an increased awareness of environmental concerns and a consumer desire to want to do better for the planet we all enjoy and inhabit.

So far, most footwear brands have focused their efforts on recycled plastics to make them more sustainable. Whilst recycling is definitely a step forwards, it only extends the lifespan of materials we already know are not good for the planet long term. It’s important to note that once plastic has been recycled into a running shoe, it cannot be recycled again.

At Zen Running Club, we’re actively working towards a future where our running shoes can be buried in the ground when done. This means focusing on materials derived from plants instead of traditional synthetic or animal-based components.

Why and how is plant-based better for the environment?

Bio-based materials used in running shoes contribute to sustainability in several ways.

First, they reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by cutting and potentially one day even replacing petroleum-based materials all together. Second, bio-based materials have a lower carbon footprint throughout their life cycle. And third, bio-based materials are often compostable, which supports the principles of a circular economy.

Although there is a way to go, we believe that innovation into bio-based materials is the key reaching our goal of fully compostable running shoes.

Can shoes made from bio-based materials really perform?

Absolutely. Zen Running Club shoes are not just tested against other brands that sit within the ‘sustainable’ sector, they are also tested against running shoes made from traditional materials. We are clear that sustainability should not be a compromise for performance. Our research and development ensures our shoes provide as much cushioning, support, comfort and and flexibility found in traditional running shoes.

As far as sustainable, quality footwear goes, Zen Running should be at the top of your list in terms of a shoe that delivers both modern performance with an eco-friendly design that's several years ahead of the game in that department…. Considering that I was running on sugarcane, this was a very capable trainer that can compete against most high cushioned, rocker trainers in the market. The fact that it is sustainable is a big deal in terms of how well it also performs.

Doctors of Running.


Our Materials

Our key materials are Eucalyptus, Sugar Cane, Castor Beans and FSC Certified Natural Rubber.

Why Eucalyptus, why is it better than Cotton?

Eucalyptus trees are incredible, they create a clean closed-loop process and provide the fibers for our amazing mesh, using 95% less water than traditional cotton and a have a carbon footprint 33% lower than virgin Nylon

How is Sugar Cane used and how is that sustainable?

Our fully renewable EVA foam comes from sugar Cane - irrigated with rainwater and removing carbon from the atmosphere during growth, which makes this our soft and bouncy superhero.

What are Castor Beans used for?

Castor bean oil increases the natural content in our insoles and offers a comfortable alternative to the synthetic materials normally used in running shoes.

What is FSC Certified Natural Rubber?

FSC (sustainable forest management) certification ensures socially and environmentally responsible natural rubber production. FSC certification provides businesses and consumers with the option to purchase natural rubber products made in a way that is good for people and nature. It ensures sustainable sourcing at every step of the supply chain, protecting deforestation and upholding biodiversity.

Zen Running Club is the Future of Running. Made from Good Decisions.

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