Fairly traded shoes

Is there such a thing as a fairly traded running shoe? I currently run in Nike Air Althea Triax and am having problems getting hold of another pair - no one seems to have them in stock. I don't particularly enjoy supporting the Nike corporation and would love to run in a fairly traded alternative. Any suggestions?


  • Don't know if this helps but the New Balance 764, perhaps not a too disimilar shoe to the Althea, is made in Britain. If they were suitable for you at least you could stop worrying about what happens to kids in factories in the far East.

    As far as I know NB are the only brand routinely manufactured in the developed world, although I'd be happy to be contradicted.
  • GavoGavo ✭✭✭
    I'd heard the same thing as Glenn & will be looking at NBs next time I get new shoes. Unfortunately the wallet often beats the heart so my running clothes are made up of all sorts of corporate stuff.
  • Not sure of the record of other companies - I was particularly put off Nike myself by a Panorama report on child labour in (from memory) the first factory they went to.

    I think NB are based in Cumbria, but obviously that may not be where they are manufactured.
  • Isn't the NB factory at Shap? I think people from Penrith would baulk at describing that as the "developed world"...

  • Specifically mentioned the 764 'cos I've got some and they're definitely made in GB. I think that MOST of their shoes are, but not all.

    Venom, in my world view "developed" stops just south of Peterborough and doesn't start again till you reach the Scottish border. On a bad day I'm happy to believe that civilisation only exists within a 10 mile radius of Cambridge. Have you SEEN Haverhill or Stavenage?
  • There is a new balance shop at shap but the actual factory or one of them is over at Maryport. Whenever I've bought NB shoes they've always been made in england
  • The bulk of our (New Balance) 'technical' running shoes are made in England, although we have to use imported components (cos all the soles in the world are made in China).

    Most of the classics and some cross trainers are also UK made.

    The Factory is actually in Flimby, which is next to Maryport on the Cumbrian coast. I won't rise to comments about 'the developed world' (although it's often referred to in the office as 'the land that time forgot'.

    Factory shops at Flimby, Shap and Keswick.

    Any retailer should be able to check whether a particular style is made in the UK, as it's clearly printed in the brochures they get.
  • Hi M-L

    I hope this means that all stocks of the new style Air Althea have been recalled because it's rubbish, and that the previous model, my own all-time favourite running shoe, is about to be reintroduced!

    I find Asics 2060s fairly similar to Air Altheas, and am getting on quite well with a pair of Muzuno Wave Riders although I had to go up a full size and use a different lacing technique to get them to fit comfortably without slipping.

    Cheers, V-rap.
    Cheers, V-rap.
  • Yep, I've just bought a pair of NB 764's and I have to say that British workmanship p*sses all over the slave labour abortions peddled by other major brands. Probably the best shoes I've ever owned and cheaper than most of the competition.
  • Thank you - I just need to go and try out some of these shoes now!
  • Looks like we've got the making of a NB764 fan club here. Mine are great, and I intend on buying many many pairs more of them.

    All I would say is that much as I agree with the principle of only buying fairly made shoes, you're not helping anyone if that principle leads to buying shoes that aren't completely suited for you. Nike have taken a lot of flak for some of their practices, but I don't think they're quite the evil empire that the Naomi Klein's of this world would have you believe.
  • Venom, a good point and well made. The golden rule still applies, get your gait checked by a reputable store or podiatrist to make sure you're getting what you need.

    I'd also say, make sure you get at least two or three opinions before you part with any cash. The less scrupulous retailers may well determine your needs based on what stock they happen to want to shift.....
  • You're absolutely right, Venom. It's not helping anyone if you're wrecking your joints. I remember seeing a TV program where Michael Moore interviewed Nike's chairman (His name escapes me now...) and he certainly seemed like a decent sort of chap, but is obviously not averse to making money out of cheap labour. Us little people can only do our bit, even if it's only voicing our concern over unfair practices.
  • Yep - my joints come first, but if I can find a pair of shoes that have been more fairly traded (though who knows really?) then that's a bonus. I have to admit to owning other pieces of kit that have almost certainly not been fairly traded, but if we can all do our bit in our own way, then maybe one day the message will get across. I'm a bit of an idealist!
  • The reason there is any problem with ethical trading issues is because 'we' the general public demand better quality and cheaper price, WE created the monster. Same thing with multi national conglomerate (is that spelt right?) 'big fish' swallowing up smaller companies (fish) and building massive monopolies the doing just as they please.

    'WE' have to bite the bullet a lot lot harder to even start to put things right!
    Do 'WE','YOU' and 'YOURS want to pay the price.

    Ok... I feel better now, sorry.
  • Absolutely - and where I have the choice I buy fairly traded. The difficulties I have had relate to getting this information - hence coming to the forum!
  • Hey Slowboy,

    How many people would it need to get together to buy some NB764's and get retailers pricing!!

    And what sort of discount would that be off list?
  • Hi all

    I am always interested in ethical issues/recycling etc. in all manner of areas, but I have to say that when it comes to running, although a beginner I have chosen to think of my knees and other joints above all else.

    Best shoe experience, (having had the " you want to do what in them?" response from JJB and the like) went to a small triathlon shop in Colchester Essex. 53-12 in the Cowdray Centre are just excellent, really know their stuff and very helpful. As the shop is a unit in an indoor centre with polished concrete floors you can try them on and charge around the block!! Not only do you get to run in them but the staff also watch your gait and advise on the right shoe for your size and running style. They watched me run in 3 different pairs. Came away with Mizuno Waveriders, not all that PC but great shoes for me.

    Also didn't feel a bit silly in trainers and a suit, honest.

    Don't worry I don't work there or own shares - I just think it's a cracking arrangement.

    Anyone else found anything similar?

  • From experience, Easy Runner in Bristol, Runners Need in Camden, Total Fitness in Bath and Ironbridge Runner in Exeter all let you loose on the street.
    Nike also have the Bowerman man in his van, who will let you try the range he has on board on the road off the road, for 100m or you can run the whole race (tends to attend races, not just big events either!)at the venue you find him at. He does not sell anything so there is no obligation whatsoever. I think some of the other brands do the same sort of thing now as well.
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