An exploration of understanding the environmental impact of the running footwear industry – what sustainability looks like now and what we hope for it to be in the future.

First, we’ll hear the story of the lifecycle of one pair of running shoes, from concept to landfill with Bennett Grimes, Senior Product Manager of Footwear at REI’s Co-Op. Next, we’ll have a discussion on the future of materials with Jad Finck, VP of Innovation and Sustainability at Allbirds. Then, a breakdown and call to action on how the listener can take immediate next steps on being an active participant in making the running industry a more sustainable place. Finally, we’ll hear from Zoë Rom, Runner, climate activist and Associate Editor at Trail Runner magazine, as she reads her poem, written exclusively for Running Realized, “Last Words.”

Meet the guests:

Bennett Grimes

  • Senior Product Manager at REI
  • 2:18 marathoner
  • Father to 17 month old Baker
  • NCAA XC All-American with Western Washington University
  • 13 years in the running/footwear industry

Jad Finck

  • Vice President of Innovation & Sustainability at Allbirds
  • Mechanical engineering degree from Stanford University
  • MBA from the USC Marshall School of Business.

Calls to action:

  • Be intentional with your purchases & vote with your dollars, buying sustainable products, especially from companies that are testing out sustainable products, sends them a big message that consumers see sustainability as important
  • Research and reaching out to companies you care about to ask them for their carbon numbers
  • Donate your shoes to SolesForSouls, Shoe4Africa, or other donation services

If you take action and do one of our suggested takeaways, tell us! We would love to hear what you did, and how it changed you. Tag us in a post on Instagram or email to share.

A special thank you to Zoë Rom for writing an original poem to go with this episode, find Zoë’s DNF podcast for similar shows to Running Realized.

Running Realized is hosted by Tina Muir and Knox Robinson. Produced by Jon Phillips. Original music, sound design, and mix by Daniel Brunelle. Edited by Gordon Bramli. Cover image created by Mari De Monte and Toby Kelleher.

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Thank you to Tracksmith for partnering with running realized

Tracksmith is a Boston-based running apparel brand, born from a desire to celebrate both the history and the evolving culture of running. Their team works to create a space where stories and conversations from all corners of the sport are welcome. They believe that stories have the power to both inspire the next generation and grow the sport. And they know that conversations drive change and empower new perspectives. Check out the Tracksmith Journal at to learn more.

Thanks for listening!

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Thanks for joining us. See you on May 5 for Episode six!

environment, environmental impact, running industry, running realized, running shoes, sustainability

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