Last night was the launch of Oregon's latest environmentally minded active wear company, END. Specifically, they have taken on the sporty shoe challenge, making running and hiking shoes that have been stripped down in their design, using less unnecessary material (rubber, resin, foam, glue) and aim to have their products within 3-5 years be completely composed of renewable, sustainable, or recycled material.

I hate running shoes so badly that I live in dread of seeing people I know when I'm out on a jog, so it's kind of a backhanded compliment when I say that this is way less ugly than the pair I have:

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And, for the men:

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Now to be completely clear, I would never wear tech-y athletic shoes for non-athletic purposes, but I really appreciate the fact that these are so simplified. They hacked off most of the weird, spacey nonsense that plagues most designs in the genre, used an interesting color palette, and basically have convinced me to switch over when my Saucony horrors have finally bit the dust. It's just gravy that they are from a company based in West Linn (They are actually manufactured in China, and the company defends this PC faux pas by contending that they are part of the solution in the country that has the distinction of being "the world's worst environmental offender.") that was co-founded by the former global director of footwear design at Nike, Andrew Estey, who also started up Antlerstudios. Oh yeah, and the price points are in the $80-90 range which is fully on the reasonable end of running shoe going rates. You'll be able to find them at REIs in the Northwest, but be a good indie shopper and get them at Fit Right Northwest —they launch in August. I was also able to get a peek at the samples coming out in the fall, but I'm not allowed to post the photos. I will say that my favorite of the lot is from that season, a super lightweight, ventilated, water-to-shore shoe that makes me want to go camping right now.