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Green Silence incorporates sustainability without sacrificing performance
Jun '09
Leading running company Brooks Sports Inc announced the upcoming launch of the Green Silence, a groundbreaking competition racing flat that boasts a sustainable element in each part of the shoe. Using soy-based inks, water-based adhesives, and recycled materials, Green Silence incorporates sustainability—without sacrificing performance—into every stitch of the shoe, which hits retail February 1, 2010.

In recent years, Brooks has declared its dedication to introducing more eco-friendly design and manufacturing practices as well as more sustainable materials. In 2008, Brooks launched its proprietary BioMoGo midsole, the world's first biodegradable running shoe midsole that breaks down 50 times faster than traditional midsoles in an enclosed, active landfill. That same year, the company debuted a new shoe box, made of fully biodegradable, 100-percent recycled paperboard. The Green Silence represents another chapter in Brooks' commitment to environmental responsibility.

“Brooks believes it can continue to lead the running industry when it comes to sustainability,” said Jim Weber, president and CEO of Brooks. “Our latest attempt was to create the most sustainable competition racing flat as technologically possible, without compromising the performance, durability, or aesthetic appeal of the shoe. The result is the Green Silence, which lights the path to bringing more eco-friendlier elements into our future core performance training shoes.”

With direction from Future Concepts Manager Derek Campbell, Brooks spent three years researching sustainable materials and practices to build a shoe that would not only make an eco-statement, but would also successfully deliver the premium performance and durability expected from Brooks.

Green Silence was constructed with less than half (48 percent) as many parts as comparable shoes. Only 26 parts comprise each Green Silence shoe compared to approximately 54 parts in similar styles. And, more than 75 percent of the 26 components have been recycled by consumers. For example, heel counters are made of recycled compact discs; shoe laces, meshes, linings, gillies, and tongue webbings are made from recycled water bottles; and outsoles are made of recycled rubber. These substitutions reduce the energy (41 percent less) and oil (.5 liter less) needed to manufacture each pair of Green Silence shoes.

The dyes, colorants, and adhesives used in production are non-toxic and not harmful to those working in the factory. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were lowered by 65 percent. The midsoles, collar foams, and sock liners are completely biodegradable, which reduces waste when the shoes are eventually retired to an active, enclosed landfill.

What's in a name? Brooks' Injo Gunasekara, senior industrial designer of footwear and the creative mind behind the Green Silence design, selected the shoe's name as a nod to its eco-friendlier character (Green) and the belief that sustainability will soon become a consumer expectation rather than a marketable product differentiator (Silence).

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