The Subscription Economy Comes For Your Shoes

Something else we like besides right to repair here at Fight to Repair is running. Paul is a seasoned marathon runner. I’m a bit greener, since running was a habit I picked up at the start of the pandemic.

One thing that baffled me when I started running regularly was that long-distance runners are typically buying three new pairs of running shoes a year. Run for ten years, that’s thirty pairs (sixty shoes!!) that end up in a landfill somewhere. Being someone that spends time thinking about our relationship with repair and the things we own, something doesn’t sit right with me about this.

(People in my neighborhood are always leaving things on the sidewalk before trash day for people to snag, this stash had seven pairs of running shoes)

There’s a sneaker made from beans – and you’re not allowed to own it

Recently, I stumbled on a subscription running shoe service called “Cyclon” run through the Swiss shoe Company On – which brands itself as the shoe you will never own. Instead of trashing your old shoes, you send back the first pair you get to receive a new one. Through the wonders of modern science, your old stinky pair will be crunched up and used to make a brand new shoe.

The Cyclon program work like this: You sign up for the Cyclon subscription service and get a pair of shoes in the mail. You then send them back when you’ve run them into the ground and get a new pair in the mail. (Repeat ad infinitum.)

On’s model for minimizing waste and energy while manufacturing their shoes is simple:

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