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Meat and Shoes

I've been vegetarian. Pescetarian. Vegan. A vegan pescetarian, whatever that is. I also agree with most concepts of the paleo diet.

What does this have to do with? "This ain't no" nutrition lecture, but that'll come one day in the near future.  This is about dollar votes.

I don't like when the animals are tortured as they're raised. "But animals were made for man to eat." Hmm. Maybe so. But I don't think they were made for us to abuse relentlessly before eating. For us to force feed, alter genes, deform, and cage.

I think of my dollars as votes. I can't pay someone to torture chickens. I buy my eggs from a neighbors homestead, because I support her standards. I can't pay big dairy for milk (plus I don't think it's good for us), so I buy or make organic nut milk. That's where my votes go. I can't pay for someone to abuse and inject sweet cattle. I think of not just the product, but the people behind the product, and if I want to pay them for their actions.

Shoe companies obviously don't abuse or butcher animals to feed us. But when we purchase a pair of shoes, we are still voting. It's up for debate who makes the best shoes, but when we purchase a pair of shoes, we're voting for who we think the best shoe company should be.

Do you ever think about that- how your purchases progress or halt the growth of your sport? Do you pay attention to what athletes your favorite brands sponsor? Do they sponsor the events that you love to participate in? Do they promote the growth of the sport or the growth of their marketing team? Do they mix and mingle with little man or do they just set out to "buy" the fastest athletes?

After being involved in the production of virtually every type of running event for the last 8 years I've learned a lot. There is a stark contrast between the companies that view runners as dollar signs and the companies that view runners as people. I truly appreciate the companies that put their time into the sport and not just the marketing.

No, I'm not sponsored by any shoe company, nor do I have the desire to debunk the reputation of any major shoe company. BUT I do want to mention one of my favorite shoe companies, who I'm thrilled sponsors the Idaho Mountain Festival: La Sportiva.

This company doesn't just send a check and posters. They send their staff. They bring their athletes. Oh, and they also bring their product line for participants to demo throughout the weekend. It's a fantastic opportunity to not only look at their products, but to test out their shoes and get to know the people behind the company. Yes, it's a neat experience to run with the pros. Yet I think it's an even neater experience to run with masterminds behind the company who eat, breathe, and sleep running shoes.

I am so grateful that La Sportiva is coming back to the Idaho Mountain Festival in 2013. As the co-founder of the event, I am looking forward to my de-stress time that will be spent with the company chatting on trail runs while testing out their new shoes.

Oh, did I mention I love their shoes? The Crossover GTX easily outperforms any winter running shoe on the market hands down. (On heavy snow days, I'm the only member of my running clubs with dry feet). I've raced a couple of ultras in my Vertical K's, and I've enjoy how lightweight, comfortable, and cushioned they are.

Shoes and meat are not the same. But the concept of dollar voting- of taking that extra moment to think about who the company is, what they're promoting, and what they stand for- is the same regardless of how you "vote."

Ultra-runners go through a lot of shoes. At any given time I have at least 7 pairs of "active" running shoes. Often they are various brands. It's easy to know who my favorites are. It's also easy, after looking at company profiles and spotlights, to know why.


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