How are we improving our carbon footprint?
Athlete Adventure

How are we improving our carbon footprint?

Whether you manufacture barefoot running shoes like Vibram or sell them like us, or if you make any other product, being kinder to the environment is something every business of any size should have high on their agenda. Both Barefoot Junkie and Vibram are working hard to make sure our carbon footprints become smaller than the physical footprints we leave on our planet with our barefoot running shoes. We still have some work to do but we’re well on the way. We understand that our barefoot tribe takes all matters green very seriously and we do too. Connecting with the ground and the environment is one of the many pleasures from wearing thinner, less restrictive footwear, such as our barefoot running shoes. Together we’re making great progress towards providing a product that better aligns with the whole barefoot ethos. Let’s take a look at some of the ways we are both working on being kinder to the environment and what work we still have left to do. Reducing waste! Reducing scrap and waste is a really important piece of the puzzle and Vibram have already made some great progress here. Already, Vibram are saving 500,000 sheets of paper by the digitisation of documents. They are aiming to reduce this even further. At Vibram’s USA site water recycling has become a part of daily life. They've been recycling large volumes of water for the cooling tower to reach a target of ‘zero waste of industrial water’. Reducing energy! Vibram are using more renewable energy now, without any waste by reducing energy consumption. This is made possible with more efficient processes and state of the art systems that only use clean energy. The USA Vibram HQ is now using 100% renewable energy. Some of the steam presses have been replaced with more efficient electric presses. In China a solar energy system has been installed and elsewhere lighting has been gradually replaced to LED lights, some sites are already lit with 100% LED lighting. Vibram's barefoot running shoes are changing too. Take a look at the KSO ECO! The newest product in the Vibram FiveFingers range is a really big leap forward for sustainable footwear production. The KSO ECO uses brand new technology called N-Oil to produce a sustainable upper material made with hemp which is designed to reduce overall impact on the environment. It’s the first FiveFingers shoe to use this more sustainable material which is made from more than 90% natural ingredients. The KSO ECO doesn’t compromise on quality or comfort either. Barefoot Junkie’s own reviewer, Paul, had this to say about them: “I’ve worn many shoes in the Vibram FiveFingers range and have my clear favourites that I find myself going back to time after time. The V-Alpha for instance is my go to for a trail run, I’ll head for my V-Treks when the weather’s a little colder or wetter. However, since my KSO ECO’s dropped on my doorstep I’ve seldom worn anything else. Out of the box they felt softer than any of the other shoes in my rack, even though some of my favourites have had plenty of use. With any Vibram FiveFingers shoe I’ve never experienced any of the problems commonly associated with other new shoes like rubbing or blisters, but the KSO ECO took this to a new level. They felt as if I’d been wearing them for ages right from the start. They are surprisingly warm too, despite being very minimal and very light. If it’s a little colder outside they play very well with a pair of Vibram Toe Socks. I haven’t yet felt the need to reach for my V-Trek’s but I’ll still be grateful for the extra grip if things get slippery underfoot. Overall, these are a real winner for me and tick many boxes on my own quest to be kinder to the planet. I’m excited to see how Vibram will use these new, greener manufacturing methods to improve their range further” Click here to take a look at the new, greener KSO ECO and try them for yourself. We’re looking to do more! Even though we are really pleased with our greener efforts so far we’re not quite where we want to be. For example there are many things we can do to improve our delivery process and packaging for our amazing range of barefoot running shoes. Rest assured we are working hard to find more sustainable materials and more cost effective solutions. If you have any suggestions for ways that we can do more to become kinder to the planet we’d love to hear from you.
Is road running safe?
Barefoot

Is road running safe?

Thanks to barefoot running coach and Vibram FiveFingers fan Paul Mumford for this month’s blog. All about the perils of running in the countryside. How many of these hazards have you come across?I’ve spent many years and covered many miles running in Vibram FiveFingers. I can often be found running around the country lanes near my home but that can sometimes prove difficult. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are many hazards for the road runner. You need to be ready for anything! Traffic ... those pesky, and sometimes distracted, car drivers! I live and work in rural Essex. That means spending lots of time barefoot running on roads where there are no pavements. I remember as a child being told that it’s better to walk or run on the right hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic. This can sometimes be a safer bet and I’m always ready to dive into the nearest bush whenever necessary. However it seems no amount of reflective or fluorescent apparel is enough to alert some oncoming motorists to my presence. I could be 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, covered in fairy lights and still not get noticed!. It’s even worse if I dare to time my training around school kicking out time or rush hour. Taking out a few runners seems to be a competitive sport for some motorists! Pedestrians Oh, and don’t even think a pavement is going to be any safer. If I’m using a pavement that’s occupied by even a few other people I need to be prepared for anything. While I appreciate that barefoot runners can be stealthily quiet on our feet even a polite 'excuse me' or subtle cough often appears insufficient. Instead, pedestrians seem to take great delight in suddenly walking very slowly right in front of me, stopping at a moment’s notice, or changing direction without indicating first. As for those bystanders who do notice me, the odd word of encouragement can be nice but there’s only so many times in one run ,before calls of ‘have you forgotten your shoes’, goes from funny to irritating. Horses! and their offerings Horses are a real problem for the rural runner, or rather the stuff that comes out of their bottoms.   When I owned a dog I used to take a small bag out with me. Then, whenever he had a call of nature I could clean it up rather than leaving it on the ground for others to enjoy. Why then is it OK for horse owners to allow their animals to do it anywhere? Please have a thought for the weary runner who is struggling to make it through his 18th mile. Focus and attention starting to suffer, not noticing that large deposit right in front of … oh, too late. Dogs and their enthusiastic welcome Early Sunday mornings running through the forest near my home is one of my favourite times of the week. That peace and tranquillity, being one with nature. Unfortunately, the journey there means navigating a few roads and often coming across the odd dog walker. If the dog is on a lead I’m usually safe but the road to the forest rarely sees a car at the busiest of times, so often there are dogs on the loose, ready for action. Even the most intelligent of canine can turn into a disorientated mess when he or she confronts a runner. We’re like the catnip of the dog world. If I’m lucky they might head straight for me armed with a mouthful of enthusiastic slobber. If I’m unlucky they’re armed with half a tonne of wet mud from the forest as well. But I'm not put off! Don’t get me wrong, I love running and doing it in my Vibram FiveFingers makes it a double pleasure. However, have sympathy for the rural road runner. It’s not as safe as you might think. Best shoes for running? Road Running - Vibram FiveFingers V-Run Running Shoe.  V-Run shoe features an 8-mm thick sole and provides the right amount of cushioning and protection for running on pavement. It’s also a solid option for runners who are used to traditional running shoes and want to transition to barefoot running shoes. Your feet stay cool and dry, thanks to the polyester Lycra stretch mesh fabric. Designed to be worn barefoot, but can also accommodate toe socks when running in colder weather. Find out moreTrail Running - Vibram FiveFingers V-Trail Runner. If you plan on hitting the trails in barefoot running shoes, you need a shoe that offers the right amount of protection from rocks and other debris. The Vibram FiveFingers V-Trail barefoot running shoe delivers in that area, and also provides enough ground feel for a minimalist running experience. It features an extended rock protection mesh under the sole that helps reduce the shock when you run over stones or roots. With padding around the heel, toe bumpers at the end of the toes and an aggressive tread design, these shoes are sure to keep your feet comfortable and protected on the trails. Find out more