Written By Vancouver Running Co. - November 10 2022
In celebration of the PUMA First Mile program and the introduction of the PUMA Velocity First Mile, we sat down with Vancouver Running Co. Footwear Specialist Matias Mcdonald to chat footwear design, sustainability and why the First Mile program is an important step in the manufacturing of running shoes.
Type of runner: Soloist
Hobbies: Design, art and movement in the outdoors
Current schooling focus: Bachelor of Product Design
Q1. Tell us how your passion of footwear design and sustainability affect your purchasing decisions as a consumer.
Brand transparency is always at the forefront of my purchasing decisions. As the end user of a running shoe, I’m always thinking of the materials, resources and the people along the entire supply chain. With materials, I want to know where they came from and how they were sourced. With resources, I want to know the manufacturing process. And with people, It’s so easy to forget those who played a role in the design, the making, the handling and delivery of our running shoes. A company that acknowledges each individual and the part they played in creating the product will always have my support.
People have worked incredibly hard along the entire supply chain to allow me the opportunity to continue my love of movement and passion for running - showing the transparency of that is what ultimately will drive my consumer decisions.
Q2. What is it about Puma’s First Mile approach that attracts you?
Transparency, use, quality and price. A company that is willing to share aspects of the supply chain from the first mile of the product's life is integral to me. Specifically the impact First Mile can have on communities around the world. Then, It’s not often you find a quality daily trainer that uses recycled materials at this price point. It’s a shoe that I can do anything in, that doesn’t break the bank and most importantly empowers all individuals that played a part in its creation. I can do tempo work, fast runs, long runs, city trail runs and the option to wear it casually all while having the human connection to those who got the shoes to my feet.
Learn more about First Mile
Q3. If you could make one change today in the footwear industry to lower environmental impact, what would it be?
I would put a big emphasis on the end-of-life of footwear and waste management. While being transparent and using recycled materials is great, shoes don’t last forever. Having a sustainable way to handle post consumer waste of shoes should be emphasized as much as the creation of a sustainable shoe is. Unfortunately at the moment this is (for the most part) in the hands of the consumer. Creating an accessible, cost-friendly and sustainable way to break down and recycle the materials of a shoe could create the circular supply chain all consumers should be after.
Q4. In your opinion can the performance of a shoe be maintained when using post-consumer materials the same way it can be developed using virgin materials?
Of course! This shoe is a perfect example of that. The performance doesn’t waver from a traditional virgin material based shoe. Its goal is to be your daily trainer, meant to be worn often and in all weather conditions. The fact that it handles those aspects so well should come as no surprise to consumers.
The only potential flaw when using post-consumer waste may be the longevity of the product or material(which doesn’t directly affect performance) As a material is continuously being recycled and reused it’s lifetime becomes shorter and shorter depending on the recycling/manufacturing process used.
Change is a marathon, not a sprint, each stride bringing us closer to our goal. It is with this belief that PUMA created RUN PUMA x FIRST MILE, a collection of sustainable running gear featuring pieces made from at least 47% recycled materials. But it’s more than turning plastic into product: The collaboration is rooted in cooperative opportunity and human connection—common threads that unite those trying to do better. Empowered people, cleaner planet—from the First Mile forward.