Zen Running Club shoes made from sugarcane and eucalyptus

January 3, 2022 by  
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The fashion world is fraught with blame for environmental  pollution  from chemicals during production to the everlasting post-consumer life of clothes and shoes that fail to degrade in landfills. With this in mind, many shoe companies are looking for ways to source more sustainable materials, but with that comes a lot of greenwashing, making their efforts perhaps seem more comprehensive than they are. Zen Running Club is dashing into the scene with a different mindset — of transparency and building the company from the ground up based on what we now know about the damaging effects of traditional shoe production.  Zen Running Club was founded by three partners with a history in the fashion industry, Richard Rusling, Andy Farnworth and Dominic Sinnott. These three presented the question, “If the biggest brands were starting out today, what would they do differently?” The answer is, “Pretty much everything.” Related: Cariuma teams up with Mike Vallely for 100% vegan shoes Zen Running Club shoes are plant-based and 100% vegan. To leave a small footprint, the ZR 01 shoe is made from sugarcane and tree fibers.  “We wondered why, at a time of self-driving cars and commercial space travel, the choice for runners is split between performance, good looks, or respecting the environment. We wanted to prove that we could create shoes that do all this without compromise – made from  plants ,” said Rusling. As a shoe company, Zen Running Club caters to those who enjoy the outdoors by working to replace synthetic materials with eco-friendly ones. Toward this mission, its flagship ZR 01 running shoe features a rocker midsole made from sugarcane sourced from Brazil and naturally irrigated by  rainwater . It grows quickly and is endlessly renewable. Plus, as a plant, it filters carbon from the air and releases oxygen. The upper is made out of TENCEL™ Lyocell, a fiber that originates as eucalyptus tree wood harvested from sustainably-managed forests. The material is spreading like wildfire throughout the fashion industry as an environmentally-friendly substitute for petroleum and other non-renewable resources.  Moving to the outsole, the shoe incorporates FSC-certified natural rubber, and the sock liner is composed of castor bean materials. The company’s products also rely on a mix of  natural materials  such as organic cotton grown without fertilizers and other chemicals, and cotton recycled from production scraps as well as post-consumer waste.  While this modern approach to sourcing low-impact materials serves the company’s mission, it is a shoe and apparel company that is equally dedicated to ensuring a quality product for the consumer. Running shoes have an important job in offering the right amount of support and cushion while being lightweight and comfortable. Zen Running Club’s mantra that “running is meditation in motion” propels you forward as you run. Meanwhile, the company is racing toward its goals to achieve 100% plant-based products and meet these standards without compromise for fit, style or the protection of natural resources.   The company defines itself by these ideals stating, “Zen Running Club is on a mission to run a better life. They share their consumer’s spirit and passion for the planet, enjoying nature and sustainable living. Zen Running Club continues to push the boundaries of running shoes and apparel through innovation, style and cutting-edge sustainable technologies. Their aim is to fill a responsible lifestyle with ecological choices and the power to make better decisions.” In addition to the ZR 01, the company has also released a line of organic cotton t-shirts and crew-length socks with reinforced toe and heel as well as wicking technology.  Personal Review Zen Running Club offered to send a sample for review. As a result, I received a pair of the ZR 01 running shoes in the Asphalt/Black/Zen Yellow color combination. Starting with my sample’s arrival, the packaging was all paper-based and  recyclable .  Sometimes the small things make the biggest impact, and let me say, this shoebox makes a huge statement. First off, the company motto of “Made from good decisions” is front and center on the lid as well as included as a hashtag on other parts of the box as #madefromgooddecisions. Inside the lid, the artwork stands out. Although not credited, after doing a little research I discovered the artist responsible for the design is James Nunn, a longtime runner and nature enthusiast who says, “The Zen Running Club project was the perfect opportunity to combine my work with my love of the natural world and running in it. I guess because those things are so integral to my life, the concept presented itself very quickly. I focussed (sic) on ways to represent the values of ZRC and the kind of world we want to run in. It was a simple case of depicting the plants that make up the shoe and to build a world out of all of that foliage to make a verdant healthy place where the shoes on our feet don’t harm the world we run in.” The artwork is striking and repeated on the tissue paper inside the box.  Moving on to the shoes. They are also striking. I adore the color contrast of the yellow against the dark charcoal grey. I feel obligated to preface this review with an understanding that I’m not a runner. However, I have been wearing them for several days and can speak to many elements. The fit is as expected with plenty of room. The sock-fit upper is soft, flexible and very breathable. The sole offers notable cushioning for a soft and supportive step, and the arch is centered on the inside of each foot. If you have a high middle arch, you may need an additional insert, but I imagine that depends heavily on your running style. Construction is durable, and the shoelace construction design is unique with a distinctive appeal. In fact, the subtle patterning throughout the upper adds visual contrast. Finger pulls on the tongue and back make it easy to put the shoes on and appear to be attached with quality stitching that’s incorporated into the design. Overall, these great shoes are ultra-lightweight, stylish and comfortable.  + Zen Running Club Images via Zen Running Club and Dawn Hammon 

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Zen Running Club shoes made from sugarcane and eucalyptus

Affordable solar homes are lifting homeowners out of poverty

January 3, 2022 by  
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Carbon-negative, self-financing and scalable are just a few words to describe BillionBricks and Architecture Brio’s PowerHYDE. PowerHyde solar homes are models aiming to help solve both the global housing and climate crises. The PowerHYDE housing model was created by Prasoon Kumar and Robert Verrijt of Billion Bricks from India and Singapore. The housing model won a  Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction . Related: Living conditions rise in an Indonesian village PowerHYDE house explores sustainable means and solutions to empowering and facilitating growth opportunities to people without homes around Southeast Asia. These homes are now being used to create entire sustainable communities that help to lift homeowners out of poverty. “A BillionBricks Community is the world’s first carbon negative solar home  community to bring families out of poverty within one generation,” the designers said. The project presents an opportunity to shape the future of how houses are built. It helps both people to become homeowners and building projects to create their own renewable energy, aiding in the climate crisis. It is a radical concept in housing designed for energy sufficiency and extreme affordability. A BillionBricks PowerHYDE home is built via an indigenous prefabricated assembly technique that makes it easy to assemble in remote locations. The home has a solar array installed on the roof, and the homeowner can sell excess power generated back to power companies, generating a profit that helps to pay off the cost of the home. “BillionBricks homes are plug-and-play modular homes that do not need any connection to services and could be made functional from the day of completion of construction,” BillionBricks explained. The houses produce their energy, and also harvest 100% of the rainwater , clean their sewage and potentially grow their own food. Future BillionBricks homes will be integrated with smart technologies to improve their performance even more. Sample homes have been built in Mathjalgaon Village in India and in the Philippines. BillionBricks is now planning a full community of 500 homes near Manila , Philippines that will generate 10 megawatt of power.  + BillionBricks and Architecture BRIO Photography by Photograhix

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Affordable solar homes are lifting homeowners out of poverty

How to bring biophilic design inside your home in 2022

January 3, 2022 by  
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Design trends come and go, often as a reflection of the country’s zeitgeist. So, it’s really not too surprising the events of 2020 and 2021 have driven design trends towards a connection with nature. So much so, there’s a label for this type of architectural and decorating style. Biophilic design is the primary design trend for 2022. What is biophilic design? At its core, biophilic design connects inhabitants with nature. It not only emphasizes natural elements such as cross-ventilation and natural lighting , but also places a focus on creating a healthy and productive space. That’s something we all seem to crave as the work-from-home trend extends.  The prefix bio- means life, making it clear why the movement involves a lot of plants and other greenery. This would be both inside the space and within views out windows and doors. In addition to vegetation , other natural materials such as branches and water are introduced.  Related: Verdi creates home décor from natural fibers and metal Origins of biophilic design  Stephen Kellert, professor of social ecology at Yale, is credited with the early foundations for the design style. He developed a guiding set of principles aimed at bringing outdoor experiences into the home environment . Lighting If you’re at the construction (or remodeling) stage, the best way to develop the design is to invite in natural light at every possible avenue through skylights, big windows and glass doors.  If a remodel isn’t on the docket, incorporate surfaces that reflect light, such as glass tables and large mirrors. For interior lighting, use natural and energy-efficient bulbs and give yourself options with teardrop, can and chandelier lighting. Provide additional task lighting with under-cabinet lights, floor lamps and table lamps.  Think about how light moves through your space from morning to night and how you use the space. Place your desk or couch near a window. Put a dining table where it will receive evening sun.    Colors Nature has acted as a template for interior design since the time the term was phrased. Color holds a lot of power in setting the tone of a space. When leaning into biophilic interior design, keep the color palette subtle and natural. Think creams and beiges. Also look at soothing shades of blue and green. These colors can create a backdrop as paint or fill the interior on furniture, curtains, carpets and throw pillows.  Provide airflow Fresh air creates an invigorating reaction. It flushes out stale air in the space and brings an instant connection with the outdoors. With this in mind, rely on open doors and windows with screens. Cross-ventilation allows air to tunnel through the space without relying on the central HVAC system. If you don’t have a natural air source, use a ceiling fan instead. Consider airflow options when placing your furniture. Plants Bringing living bits of nature into your space sets the tone for a connection with the natural world. Plus, since plants naturally filter the air, they provide a healthier environment. Research has also shown caring for plants reduces stress. Look to every level when displaying plants . Use ceiling hooks to hang plants, mantles, window sills, half-walls and multi-tiered plants stands.  Water Few natural elements elicit a response quite like flowing water. You can achieve this benefit through a tabletop or wall fountain. Large or small, the movement of water is calming and naturally connects to the other elements of water and air.  Fire The addition of a wood or gas-burning stove or fireplace brings another natural element into the mix. The crackle of the wood, the smell and the look of flames climbing upwards all trigger memories of camping, childhood summer camp and backyard gatherings.  Keep edges soft Look to Mother Nature when selecting furniture and décor pieces. She doesn’t have sharp edges. Instead of rectangular, square or other rigid shapes, choose curved and rounded pieces instead. Curved couches, round tables, circular lamp shades and carpets all bring softness to the space.  Texture and balance Every decision you make in your biophilic design has the potential to add to or detract from the cohesion of the look. To achieve balance in the space, make sure all elements are working together. For example, bulky curtains can block out natural light so consider a transparent and flowing fabric instead.  Rely on natural materials throughout the space for an immersive dive into a connection with the planet. Jute, wood, cotton, bamboo, natural yarn, stone and wool all bring the look. Although a calm vibe is the goal, it doesn’t mean your space has to be a blank slate of off-white, smooth surfaces. Use texture to bring depth in throw pillows, window covering, upholstery fabric or rugs. Too much and the space will feel overly busy. Too little and it can feel cold and sanitary. Go for a blend with small accents instead. As a form of indirect biophilic elements, gather up framed or canvas art that highlights natural aspects of fire, water, air, mountains, oceans, rivers, trees, plants and animals too. Via Modsy Images via Unsplash

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Adidas x Parley host giveaway for 3D-printed sneakers made from recycled ocean plastic

June 11, 2016 by  
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If you’ve ever wanted to get your hands on a 3D-printed shoe, here’s your chance. In honor of World Oceans Day , Adidas and Parley for the Oceans are giving away 50 free pairs of their beautiful 3D-printed running shoes made almost entirely of recycled ocean plastic. Around 16.5 post-consumer plastic bottles and 13 grams of gill-net plastic were used in the production of every sneaker. Read on to learn how you can enter.

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Adidas x Parley host giveaway for 3D-printed sneakers made from recycled ocean plastic

One company will turn your old sofa into a pair of running shoes

March 7, 2015 by  
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You’ve heard it before: get off the couch and get moving because sitting is one of the worst things you can do for your body. Bottled water company Vittel is taking that to the next level by turning your couch into running shoes. Just send the company your sofa pattern and they will send you a pair of sneakers to get you off and running. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bespoke running shoes , custom running shoes , ecouterre , get moving , get off the couch , running shoes , turn your couch into shoes , turn your sofa into shoes , Vittel couch shoes , Vittel water bottle

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One company will turn your old sofa into a pair of running shoes

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