Vegan shoe company launches at Malibu Farmers Market

A new shoe brand based in Europe has just launched its first product at the Malibu Farmers Market. The Zen Running Club brand, based out of Berlin and Amsterdam, chose to introduce its unique product in the Malibu community that it calls a perfect fit for its vegan running shoes.

Zen Running Club is a new company launched by three former employees of global shoe giant Adidas. The company’s mission is to reimagine running shoes citing a new environment of sustainability. The Zen Running Club founders questioned why running shoes have to be made of plastics. So, they came up with the idea to only source natural ingredients for their shoes. The shoes are made up of eucalyptus fibers, sugar cane and organic cotton. 

“Only a very small amount of micro-plastics is still in there,” according to spokesperson Yvonne Busch of Malibu. 

Less than 5 percent is not natural at this time, but Busch says that will quickly change. 

“It’s the glue and at the moment they’re on a mission to try to exchange that glue made from plastics into a natural ingredient,” she said. “It will be 100 percent biodegradable.”

Zen Running Club shoes took a booth at the Malibu Farmers Market last year to first introduce their unusual and stylish shoes to the world. 

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“We thought it is a good environment to introduce this shoe to the right people because we think that Malibu is the place where people value sustainability, they value products and take the environment into account and work towards exactly that; to make better products that not only are good for you, but also for the planet,” Busch said.

With every upcoming product the company plans to release they will only be organic. More products are expected to be launched later this year and next. “Malibu will always be the center where these products will be introduced,” the spokesperson said.

The company is so taken with Malibu that it is going to be a sponsor at this year’s Malibu Half-Marathon in November. Zen Running Club also started a collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club Malibu, a beneficiary of the half-marathon. 

“There’s a grant program that supports development of environment friendly, social entrepreneurship, and leadership the company will support.” the spokesperson said.

The company hopes its partnership and grant program might get teenagers to question what they wear and where it comes from. 

“We try to introduce a brand and also become part of the community,” Busch said.

This Sunday, May 15, at 9 a.m., Zen Running Club will be back at Malibu Farmers Market to host a free running event to promote the benefits and joys of running. Wellness and endurance coach Ted McDonald will lead a 6K run/walk from the Farmers Market across Pacific Coast Highway on a loop route. McDonald, who owns 5 Point Yoga in Malibu, is a teacher, fitness trainer, trail runner and longtime fitness advocate. All participants in the free event will receive a goodie bag and a chance to win a pair of the plant-based and vegan-approved shoes. RSVP at Eventbrite.com/runmalibu.

One of the company’s founders, Dominic Sinnott, told The Malibu Times Magazine, “It seems the more we do here, the more friends we make and the more we feel at home.”

Although Zen Running Club shoes are marketed as running shoes, they are touted as comfortable walking shoes too. The company also sells T-shirts and socks all made of organic fibers. The plant-based, vegan-approved shoes and collection are available at ZenRunningClub.com

Important Update: Due to safety concerns by City of Malibu about the 6K Fun Run planned for Sunday, May 15, Run Malibu and Zen Running Club had to cancel the team run. They will be the destination for all individual runners interested to come out to the Malibu Farmers Market and get some swag. Visit the Zen Running Club’s booth at the Malibu Farmers Market anytime between 9:00 am and 2:00 pm PST. At 11:00 am they will still be raffling off an exclusive pair of plant-based shoes by Zen Running Club, and 2 entries to Run Malibu on November 5 & 6, 2022.

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