The Vegan-Friendly Shoes I Wear for Almost Every Run


When it comes to running shoes, there’s no shortage of opportunity for geekery.

Minimal, maximal, stack height, heel-toe offset, arch structure, weight … to some people, it’s borderline obsession-worthy.

As a blogger who writes about running, I should be a shoe geek. But, alas, I just can’t get into it. I run for the simplicity of the sport — there’s a reason you don’t see me on a bike — and as long as my running shoes feel so good I forget I’m wearing them, I’m pretty happy.

My approach is a simple one, and questions I ask myself before buying a particular running shoe are few, but important:

  • Does it feel good?
  • Is it neutral and relatively low-drop?
  • Is it vegan?

(For those even less geeky than I am, “neutral” in running-shoe lingo means that there’s no extra support built into the inside sole to prevent overpronation; a neutral shoe lets your foot move where it wants to. More on low- and zero-drop in a bit.)

I don’t write about running shoes often. I raved about the Brooks PureDrift and the Hoka One One back in 2013, but in the past few years, that’s really it. Most shoes that I try just aren’t remarkable enough to write about.

Today, though, it’s time to break a two-year shoe drought and tell you about a brand I’m absolutely loving.

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‘Choosing Raw’ Review and an 80/10/10 Update

[choosing raw cover image]A few weeks ago, I published a podcast episode about my most recent diet experiment: 80/10/10, also known as fruitarian.

The diet is 100 percent raw and very low in fat (only 10 percent of calories), but I’ve made it slightly less extreme by eating cooked food for dinner most nights.

I’ve felt spectacular on modified 80/10/10, but after a month of giant salads, half-watermelon lunches, smoothies made from eight bananas, and more mangoes than I’ve ever eaten in my life, I’ve had to make further modifications, and the way I’m eating now only barely resembles true 80/10/10.

The problem? It has nothing to do with all the fruit — that’s actually been really fun. Instead, it’s my weight. Eating this way, I simply couldn’t keep it on, even with only moderate training (25-30 miles per week right now). I don’t keep close track of weight these days, but I know I lost a good eight pounds in the last month, maybe more. And considering I started around 140 lbs, that’s too much for me to lose.

The thing is, I’m not convinced the weight loss is unhealthy.

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Cream of Tomato Soup from the Oh She Glows Cookbook

[oh she glows cookbook cover]The day the long-awaited Oh She Glows Cookbook showed up on our doorstep was an exciting one indeed.

My wife and I do a lot of cooking at home, and time permitting, we make as much as we can from scratch — staples like almond butter, hummus, almond milk, and vegetable stock. Foods that of course you can buy, but it just feels better (and it’s usually cheaper, too) to make them ourselves.

And if there’s one blog that has helped us find our way along this less-trodden (these days), do-it-yourself path — and one blog that seems to turn up whenever we Google “how to roast pumpkins” or “oil-free vegan pancake recipe” — it’s Oh She Glows, by Angela Liddon.

Though we haven’t met in person, Angela has become an online friend of mine. I jumped at the chance to get a review copy, knowing major points would be scored on the  home front (as they always are when advance copies of cookbooks show up) but also genuinely excited to see how Angela would distill her considerable natural cooking chops and hundreds of recipes on her blog into a cohesive, comprehensive book format.

To nobody’s surprise, she has done it beautifully, with rustic, DIY elegance.

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5 Recommended Books for Healthy Summer Reading

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post called “On Turning Pro” where I laid out my plan to make some changes in my mindset — this after the roughest six months of my life, when anxiety issues came (seemingly) out of nowhere to render me pretty darn useless.

Central to my plan: reading for one hour each day.

It’s the one habit I can identify that is most closely tied to my sense of well-being. My hope was that by making sure I absolutely stuck to it, other good habits would naturally form.

And I’ve actually done it! I’ve gone through busy periods where much of the daily hour has shifted to listening to books (easy during 100-miler training), but that’s acceptable, and I must say it’s worked pretty much as I hoped it would.

I’ve taken on a lot this year — finishing up writing my book, training for a 100, moving to a new house, and having a new baby (granted, my wife played a slightly larger role in that than I did) — and anxiety has really taken a back seat to it all. Gooooo, reading!

My Summer Reading Recommendations

Anyway … in this past month I decided to read five health and running books that had piled up on my to-read list. Many of them had been sent to me for review by publishers, and I had back-burnered them in favor of books that I personally wanted to read. (By the way, I’m trying to get back into updating my GoodReads account, so you can follow me on there if you’re into that sort of thing.)

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My New Favorite Running Shoes and the Story of a Gigantic Chocolate Egg in a Suspicious Package

My friend Jason Fitzgerald, who writes the brilliant blog Strength Running, taught me a philosophy that I think strikes the perfect middle ground in the barefoot-versus-shod running debate:

“Run like a barefooter, but do it with shoes on.”

What Jason means when he says to run like a barefooter is that you should run with a quick cadence, short strides so that your weight stays over your feet, and a midfoot strike, instead of landing hard on your heel. Running barefoot essentially forces you to do these things, since doing otherwise just plain hurts, without all that cushioning that traditional running shoes offer.

This lack of feedback caused by modern shoes, of course, is the main argument for barefoot running. Cushy shoes allow us (encourage us, even) to run in a way that’s unnatural and that, over time, leads to injuries.

The argument for wearing shoes is less subtle: a layer of cushioning between our feet and the ground protects us not just from the impact of the road (which is perhaps much harder than the surfaces we evolved to run barefoot on), but also from rocks, glass, etc.

You can see the appeal of the compromise: Run with the form nature designed us to run with, then throw in a layer of protection from the ground.

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The 2012 No Meat Athlete Holiday Gift Guide!

Face it — as a vegetarian or vegan athlete, you just might be that friend who is impossible to shop for. We tend to be kind of obsessive, and outside of food and fitness, there’s not always a lot of time leftover for other, gift-friendly hobbies. You know; golf, gadgetry-obsessing, necktie-wearing, etc.

That’s why Susan, Doug, and I decided to put together this little holiday gift guide, specifically for weirdos out there like us. Over the past few weeks, we’ve tried out a bunch of new (and some not new) vegetarian/vegan/fitness products, and the ones we liked best made our list!

We hope you’ll find the opportunity to not-so-subtly pass it  on to a friend whose gift list you’re on … or that you’ll find a few ideas for things you had no idea you badly needed. Which, of course, is what the holidays are all about, right? 🙂

Enjoy our holiday picks!

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How Subway’s 3 New Vegan Subs Stack Up

Subway's new vegan subs

Finally, a mainstream restaurant chain has taken a step toward embracing the dietary choices of vegetarians and vegans.

And, lucky us, it’s not just any old restaurant chain — it’s the world’s largest.

After a lengthy campaign from the good folks over at Compassion Over Killing, Subway announced last week that eight of their Washington, DC area restaurants would be testing out three new subs.

The Malibu Greek, the Italian Black Bean, and the Sweet Riblet are their names, and these new subs aren’t just vegetarian — they’re 100% vegan.

Why this matters

It happens to us all.

Even the most prepared of vegetarians will find themselves five hours into a long car ride, or sitting in the airport looking for something to eat besides a wilted salad and a roll. Most of us prepare by bringing snacks, homemade sandwiches, or following tips for traveling as a vegan, but sometimes the only option is to grab something on the road.

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Book Review: Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra

Rich Roll may not yet have the name recognition of Brendan Brazier or Scott Jurek in the plant-based endurance world, but his story sure deserves to be heard.

What makes Rich’s story so inspiring, as he tells it in his new book, Finding Ultra, is that in reading it you come to realize that this man who now excels at the Ultraman — a triathlon about double the Ironman distance, spread over three days, ending with a 52-mile ultramarathon — is actually a whole lot like you and me.

Looking at Rich’s resume now, it’s hard to believe that just five years ago, he didn’t do much of anything physical: didn’t run, didn’t cycle, and hadn’t done much swimming in his 20 years since college. And he most certainly didn’t do Ultramans or anything resembling EPIC5, an event consisting of five Iron-distance triathlons, one on each of Hawaii’s islands, in the span of a week, that he and his buddy cooked up for fun.

On top of all that, as a busy lawyer he didn’t give a second thought to what he was eating after a hard day of work. And as it turns out, the shift to eating plants is what started it all for Rich, when at nearly age 40 he got a wake up call and decided he needed to change, starting with his diet. In his words:

I can say with full confidence that my rapid transformation from middle-aged couch potato to Ultraman—to, in fact, everything I’ve accomplished as an endurance athlete—begins and ends with my PlantPower Diet.

That alone would make for an interesting story. Who just decides to go vegan, gets off the couch and starts running, and a year and a half later turns in a respectable finish at one of the toughest endurance events on the planet, only to be named one of the fittest men alive shortly after that?

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