These Sustainable Sneakers Are So Cushy, I Can Do a HIIT Workout Without Annoying My Neighbors
Along with shaving my legs and reading more books, retiring my worn-down, stretched-out workout sneakers is one of those things I know I really should do but never get around to. Yes, you're supposed to put them to rest after 300 to 500 miles of running or walking, or whenever they begin to show unevenness on flat surfaces and signs of wear and tear. But after spending a few years breaking in my sneaks so that they finally fit *just* right (don't judge), I can't bring myself to let go and start the process over again.
So when I received a pair of Lane Eight's Trainer AD 1s (Buy It, $95, laneight.com) to replace the three-year-old Saucony sneakers (Buy It, $74, amazon.com) that had supported me through thousands of flights on the stair climber and countless runs, I almost dreaded lacing up for the first time. The thought of spending the next few weeks suffering from blisters and soreness was a major mood killer. (Related: These Socks Completely Eliminated My Painful Post-Run Blisters)
Once I finally slipped my feet into the taupe-colored Lane Eight's before a HIIT workout, however, all of my fears of injuries and discomfort instantly vanished. The shoe's cushy midsole conformed to my feet in just a few steps, yet they offered enough support to keep my feet pain-free as I powered through high-impact moves like jump squats and jumping lunges.
The material responsible for this cloud-like experience is eco-friendly BLOOM foam, which is derived from toxic algae blooms that pollute waterways but also absorb carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change — from the atmosphere. That might sound like a good thing, but not so much: While these algae blooms take in some CO2, they also grow rapidly in conditions where there are high levels of it. Their growth ends up polluting the water even more and eventually, when the algae dies, leads to "dead zones" — where there's no oxygen for aquatic life to survive, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. All in all, these blooms are bad news.
By harvesting, drying, and processing the algae into the midsoles, each pair of Lane Eight's sneaks returns 31.5 liters of freshwater back to the environment and removes 64 cubic meters of CO2 from the atmosphere, according to the company. As someone who's always looking for ways to curb my environmental impact, this choice gives Lane Eight extra brownie points in my book.
And that's not all. The sustainable sneakers have a snug, sock-like upper — made from 11 plastic bottles-worth of recycled polyester yarn — that hugged my ankles, so the shoes didn't fly off my feet while in the midst of a round of burpees (trust me, it can happen). Thanks to all these lightweight materials and ergonomic features, I don't need to worry about blisters on my pinky toes or causing a ruckus for my downstairs neighbors. Seriously, my own huffing and puffing is louder than the thump of the sneakers hitting the hardwood floor when I'm doing plank jacks or mountain climbers (and pretty much every other HIIT exercise).
Three months of sweaty home workouts later, the sustainable sneakers from Lane Eight still look like they're brand-spanking-new and are just as plush as the day I pulled them out of the box. And while I'm crossing my fingers they stay in this pristine condition forever, I know that when it's eventually time to call it quits, I won't have cold feet about getting another pair.