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The Search for Running Shoes that Were Not Made in a Sweatshop

The Search for Running Shoes that Were Not Made in a Sweatshop

 

We all know that sweatshops are bad, however we rarely are given information on how to escape them. I am in need of some new running shoes and decided to embark on the journey of finding a pair that were not made in a sweatshop.

I knew going in that I was going to have to do my research; I originally thought I would be able to find a variety of styles , and that at least one style could potentially be found at the mall  I did not have high hopes for this.

The top google result for “running shoes that are not made in a sweatshop” is an article about ‘next best things’ as all major brand running shoes are reportedly made in sweatshops. 

While this was expected it was not exactly an encouraging start seeing as my first result is a –there are no running shoes that are not made in sweatshops, so this is the best you can do.

I’m still confident that this isn’t true, but I am going to need to follow a lot of links and do a lot of digging.

If you are in a similar situation, it is not always about the product you are looking for but how you are looking for it; you need to get creative with your searches. For me, the key to finding the shoes I was looking for was to use the term “ethical”.

Another tip, use blogs. Here you can usually find a collection of links to sites you would otherwise not be able to find.

It was through such a blog post, The Hunt for Ethical Running Shoes (http://www.treadkindly.net/shopping/the-hunt-for-ethical-running-shoes/), that I found one, and only one, company that made running shoes in the U.S.A.

Newton Running, with headquarters in Boulder Colorado,have a B Corp status and exemplify their commitment to social and environmental performance. Newton is also involved in a variety of philanthropic and community outreach initiatives such as running classes and work with programs like Soles 4 Souls, One World Running, and Trickle Up.

Oh, also, the running shoes cost $135. That is comparable to all of those shoes made in sweatshops,so who’s really seeing all of those savings from cheap labour? (hint, it’s not the consumer)

My search took me over an hour and raised questions about the actual options available to ethical consumers. Many people rationalize buying clothing made in sweatshops  because there is nothing else out there, and I cannot argue against this; we do not have an hour to find every product we purchase. However, I also believe that we should not be using this difficulty as a reason to concede but instead as a call to action. Running shoe companies are incorporating more and more recycled materials. For  example, Adidas and Parley’s ocean plastic running shoe line. This initiative came from consumer demand, and I believe that it is time consumers demanded that sweatshops be a thing of the past. Either operate foreign factories under conditions comparable to those in the Western world or make your shoes here because otherwise I don’t want them.

 

Zoe Parco

UWindsor '19

Before I started writing this I googled "how to write a website bio", and a key piece of advice I picked up was "to be authentic".  However one has to wonder if authenticity is possible when one is trying to be authentic- and in this world of online media, where the selling feature is the supposed authenticity (these are real people like you!) are we really experiencing other peoples lives or a fabricated copy of their realities.  Anyway I'm studying biology and communications at the University of Windsor, my favourite movie is subject to change; although it is currently Trainspotting (1996), and I am a Capricorn.   
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