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Running Tips

More steps, less footprint: tips to make your run more sustainable

More steps, less footprint
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We live, work, run, and walk as part of a global community. Protecting the planet we run on is a marathon, not a sprint — small actions can bring big changes.

Here are some ways that you can move more sustainably while training, racing, and staying involved in your community.

Run Happy Team members enjoy Camp Run Happy in Utah
Run Happy Team members enjoy Camp Run Happy in Utah. Photo by Miranda Wodarski. (@mirawink)

Train like you live here


Bring (don't buy) your own water.  Stash a reusable water bottle along your route or run with a small pack filled with ice-cold H2O. Use bottles that strap to your hand or wear vests with water pouches to stay hydrated on your next long run.

Get the most gear for your miles

According to the U.S. Department of Interior, Americans use and toss around 300 million sneakers each year. Poorly made shoes contribute to a fast-fashion lifecycle. Wear shoes 400 to 600 miles, retire them to leisure activities, then recycle them or donate for others in need. Just remember to clean them first (here's how).

Get good gear

When you shop for gear, focus on well-made shoes and apparel that you can stick with for the long run (or walk). Look for products that incorporate recycled materials instead of virgin or new materials.

Nature lives wherever we run
Nature lives wherever we run. Photo by Hillary Allen (@hillygoat_climbs).

Race for a cleaner planet

Leave no trace

Store race materials, maps, and planning on a phone to minimize paper waste. Plan to take home or recycle everything you used on race day.

Drink from re-usable cups

If you use the hydration stations during a race, check out new options for collapsible race cups that easily clip to your shorts or race belt with a carabiner.

Travel smart

If you travel to the race, use  public transit or consider carpooling with some race buddies. When you must fly to your race, consider carbon credits to offset your flight.

Alison Mariella Désir runs the 2021 Boston Marathon
Alison Mariella Désir (@alisonmdesir) runs the 2021 Boston Marathon.

Move sustainably, together

Party time

Gather your run crew and organize a donation party to give gently used gear like running shoes and exercise clothes to those in need. Not ready to let your gear go? Consider a mending party where you and your buds get together to learn how to patch and sew well-loved gear. 

Be vocal

Reach out to your run community in advance of a race and collect signatures asking for organizers to make the event as sustainable as possible. Ask event organizers to switch race operations from single-use plastic bottles, bags, and cups to more sustainable options.  

Get involved

Raise money for environmental charities while you run and choose races and courses that prioritize sustainability.

RHT member Miranda Wodarski shares her choice of run shoe recycle partner
RHT member Miranda Wodarski (@mirawink) shares her choice of run shoe recycle partner.

Learn more

At Brooks, we aim to reduce the impact that our gear has on the planet. Many small steps will lead to bigger wins for the planet and sustainability in the run and walk community. Here are some of the ways Brooks supports sustainability:

  • Launch Brooks’ first fully circular performance running footwear and apparel by 2030
  • Reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain by 2040
  • Source only materials with minimum 50% recycled or bio-based content by 2030

Learn more about Brooks commitments on our Planet Page.