As It Happens6:23These super shoes may help you win a race, but it comes with an environmental cost
The Adizero Adio Pro Evo 1 by Adidas aren’t built to last, but they do seem to get results. Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa set a world record wearing the shoes at the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 24.
She ran the course in 2:11:53, which was two minutes faster than the previous female record. Adidas claims the shoes “are lighter than any other racing supershoe.”
But Caroline Staudt, an avid marathoner and member of the environment-focused Green Runners group, says the shoes come with a cost beyond the $650 price tag. They’re only meant to last for a single marathon.
“The environmental impact of that is is extraordinary,” Staudt, told As It Happens host Nil Köksal.
“Runners love their clothing and their shoes. They really do. They love the new colours. They love when something is advertised as helping them go just a little bit faster,” said Staudt.
“A big part of what our mission is is helping to educate people and realize, in fact, that comes at a consequence.”
Matter of minutes
Shoes have proven to improve a runner’s ability. According to a study by the University of Colorado Boulder in 2016, for every 100 grams shaved off the design of a shoe, a runner can go one per cent faster. Over the course of a marathon, that amounts to a couple minutes.
In a press release about the Adizero Adio Pro Evo 1, Tigist Assefa said, “This is the lightest racing shoe I have ever worn and the feeling of running in them is an incredible experience … They enable me to put my full focus on the race.”
Staudt says for the everyday runner, it doesn’t make much of a difference. But she gets why avid runners would want to snag such high-tech shoes.
“I would love for people to think about is just realizing that that comes at more than an economic cost. It comes at an environmental cost as well,” said Staudt.
“Really consider, are those two minutes worth it to you, versus a pair of shoes that might last for a little bit longer.”
Staudt says most brands advertise that their shoes are good for 300 to 500 miles. But she says most people can get a lot more out of their shoes. Staudt says she gets new sneakers a few times a year.
“You wear them until you no longer feel good,” she said.
Staudt suggests there needs to be more regulations around the manufacturing of running apparel.
“I really think it’s more a question of the industry needing to change and probably coming down, frankly, to regulations needing to change around production on clothing and shoes generally,” said Staudt.