Impact Of Barefoot Running Shoes On The Environment

Impact Of Barefoot Running Shoes On The Environment

Have you ever considered the impact your running shoes have on the environment? As more people become environmentally conscious, the popularity of barefoot running shoes has increased. These shoes, which mimic the feeling of running barefoot while providing some protection, are marketed as a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional running shoes. 

But are they as environmentally friendly as they claim to be? In this article, we'll explore the impact of barefoot running shoes on the environment and how we can make more sustainable choices regarding our footwear.

Definition of barefoot running shoes

Barefoot running shoes, or minimalist running shoes, are designed to mimic the feeling of running barefoot while providing protection and support to the feet. These shoes have minimal cushioning and are often flexible, lightweight, and have a low heel-to-toe drop. 

The goal of barefoot running shoes is to allow the foot to move and function naturally while still providing some protection against rough surfaces and environmental hazards. They are often marketed as a natural and sustainable alternative to running shoes.

A brief history of barefoot running shoes

Barefoot running has existed since humans first started running, but the idea of barefoot shoes is a more recent development. In the early 2000s, Christopher McDougall's book "Born to Run" popularized the idea of barefoot running and the benefits of running with a natural gait. It led to a surge in interest in barefoot running and minimalist footwear.

In 2004, Vibram introduced the FiveFingers, a type of minimalist footwear that separated each toe and provided minimal protection to the foot. It was followed by other brands, such as Merrell and Nike, introducing their versions of barefoot running shoes.

Today, barefoot running shoes are popular among runners and fitness enthusiasts seeking a more natural running experience. The design and materials of barefoot running shoes have evolved, with a focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness becoming increasingly important.

This article explores the impact of barefoot running shoes on the environment. We will discuss these shoes' positive and negative impacts, including their production, materials, and end-of-life disposal. The aim is to provide a comprehensive overview of minimalist running shoes' environmental impact and identify potential areas for improvement. 

Positive Impact of Barefoot Running Shoes on the Environment

  • Material Selection:
  • Sustainable materials are becoming increasingly important in the design and production of footwear. Many barefoot running shoe brands use recycled rubber, natural fibers, and biodegradable materials in their shoes. 

    For example, Andune uses recycled PET bottles to make the upper of some of its shoes, while the soles are made from recycled rubber. It reduces the need for new materials and can help reduce the shoe's environmental impact.

  • Biodegradability:
  • Some barefoot running shoes are designed to be biodegradable, meaning that they can break down naturally in the environment without causing harm. For example, Andune Footwear produces shoes made from biodegradable materials such as cornstarch and recycled rubber.

    These shoes can break down in a landfill in as little as three years, compared to hundreds of years for traditional running shoes.

  • Sustainable Production:
  • Sustainable production methods are also important in the production of barefoot running shoes. Many brands prioritize using renewable energy sources and minimizing waste. For example, the brand Andune uses solar power to generate 100% of the energy used in its factory.

    They also use lean manufacturing techniques to minimize waste and have a recycling program to reduce the amount of waste in landfills.

  • Longevity:
  • Barefoot running shoes are often designed to be more durable than traditional running shoes. It means that they can last longer and need to be replaced less frequently, reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing and transportation. 

    For example, the brand Andune offers a "sole warranty" on its shoes, meaning the soles are guaranteed to last for a certain period. It encourages customers to keep their shoes longer and reduces the need for new shoes to be produced and transported.

    Minimalist running shoes have the potential to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly than traditional running shoes. By using sustainable materials, prioritizing biodegradability, implementing sustainable production methods, and increasing durability, barefoot running shoes can help reduce footwear's environmental impact.

    Why Should You Prefer Andune?

    Andune is a brand that specializes in the production of barefoot shoes. Based in Spain, Andune offers a range of shoes designed to promote natural foot movement and improve overall foot health. The brand emphasizes sustainable production methods, using high-quality leather and recycled rubber materials. 

    Andune's minimalist design provides a more natural feel, encouraging proper foot movement and reducing the risk of injury. With various styles for different activities, Andune is a popular choice for those seeking a more natural and sustainable approach to footwear. 

    1. Quality materials: Andune uses high-quality materials, such as leather and recycled rubber, to produce its shoes. It can result in a more durable and long-lasting shoe.
    2. Sustainable production: Andune emphasizes sustainable production methods, such as using recycled materials and reducing waste in the production process. It can result in a lower environmental impact.
    3. Minimalist design: Andune's barefoot shoes have a minimalist design, providing a more natural feel and encouraging proper foot movement.
    4. Wide range of styles: Andune offers a variety of styles for different activities, such as running, walking, and casual wear. It can provide options for different preferences and needs.
    5. Customer satisfaction: Andune has received positive reviews from customers, indicating high satisfaction with the quality and performance of their barefoot shoes.

    Ultimately, the best barefoot shoes for an individual will depend on their preferences and needs.


    Barefoot shoes, such as those offered by Andune, can positively and negatively impact the environment. On the positive side, barefoot shoes can be made with sustainable materials and production methods, reducing their environmental impact. 

    Additionally, they can promote a more natural running style, potentially reducing the risk of injury and decreasing the need for more heavily cushioned and supportive shoes. 

    On the negative side, the production of any type of footwear can have environmental consequences, including using resources and creating waste. 

    Overall, the impact of minimalist running shoes on the environment will depend on the specific brand and production methods used. By making informed choices and supporting sustainable production methods, consumers can help to reduce the environmental impact of their footwear choices.