Boston-based New Balance just recently launched the first shoe in its new eco-preferred collection. This new collection will feature shoes that utilize environmentally preferred materials, constructions and manufacturing processes. The collection is part of a larger, corporate-wide sustainability initiative by New Balance to operate their business in an environmentally sensitive manner.
The first shoe in New Balance’s eco-preferred collection, the New Balance 70, a trail running shoe with cool styling and more sustainable design. The 70 is aimed at fashionable consumers who consider the environment without relaxing their standards of style and comfort the company said.
Seventy-five percent of the upper components are “environmentally preferred materials.” The laces, webbing, rand, quarter, tongue and saddle incorporate recycled polyester; the foxing and the tip of the shoe are synthetics made with fewer solvents than traditional materials. Rice husks filler in the out sole reduces the amount of rubber needed, thus reducing the amount of petroleum used. Water-based adhesives (rather than solvent-based) are used to join the upper and the sole unit and no paper stuffing or paper wrapping are used in the packaging of 70.
I’ve been testing a pair of the New Balance 70 over the past week and I like the shoe a lot so far. My pair is in an attractive burnt orange color. The shoes are lightweight and offer the perfect amount of support for a wide range of activities.
Cosmetically the 70’s are sharp – borrowing design elements from other outdoor shoes in their lineup. The rice husk filler is visible in the out soles which adds a cool look.
My first time wearing them was off to one of my favorite outdoor flea markets last Sunday. The 70’s were very comfortable and offered excellent ventilation during what was a hot and humid day. Since I’ve tried the 70 for a wide range of activities and have been impressed. The 70 is perfect for walking around town or using on the trails.
The 70 was also designed to reduce waste. The upper is constructed with minimal layers to reduce unnecessary material usage. It features a uniquely efficient design–the parts fit together much like a puzzle–in an effort to utilize as much of the original cutting material as possible.
“We used our best available resources and technologies to decrease the environmental footprint of the 70,” says Katherine Petrecca, senior outdoor product manager at New Balance. “The new eco-preferred collection is another step of many as we make progress to operate our entire business in an environmentally sensitive manner.”
The New Balance 70 launched late last month and should be available to consumers – although I haven’t seen them yet online or in stores. If you’re looking for a more sustainably produced shoe with all the features and comfort New Balance is known for I’d recommend checking them out.