2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.
Share your tales of travel & adventure with our step-by-step guide. Upload trail descriptions, photos, video, and more. Get Started
GREEN SCENE - Your environmental news and information source

Zero Impact Challenge Rides Again

Backpacker Magazine asks outdoor companies to make a carbon-neutral shoe

It's happening again. Backpacker Magazine has put the challenge out to the industry to build a better mousetrap--this time in the form of a carbon neutral hiking boot.

What we asked for:  a mid cut hiker that can carry a 30-lb. pack and give other backpacking boots a run for their money on the trail, with the lowest possible carbon footprint. Five companies have risen to the challenge: Hi Tec, Oboz, Patagonia, La Sportiva, and Wolverine. And they're off and running: We've already gotten boots from one company (they're not due until September 1) and we're anxiously awaiting the rest. Once again we're partnering with Climate Cooler, the company that helped Backpacker become the first carbon neutral magazine, to analyze the data and figure out where each company can reduce their own carbon footprint. We'll share the most effective and the most creative strategies in our spring Gear Guide.

Backpacker has run two Zero Impact Challenges so far, one for packs and one for sleeping bags. We've published the results in past Gear Guides and here at One of the coolest things about those challenges, however, happened after we'd put out the challenges, done the field tests and published the articles. At least one company that we know of, GoLite, which participated in both challenges, took what they learned and not only came to market with one or two greener products, but incorporated changes across their entire product line. Feathered Friends made changes across all their 20 degree down bags. And we're waiting to hear back from others how these challenges have effected their products long term.

The footwear challenge will be our toughest one yet, as hiking boots have far more components than sleeping bags or packs. That's why the lead time for footwear is so much longer than with other products--in fact right now most boot makers are working on shoes that won't hit market until 2011! Though we're only calculating carbon, we know that all the participants are looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of their shoes across the board.

So the five participants are hustling to get their shoes done in time for our field test. Oboz is blogging about the challenge, as well as Patagonia. And other blogs are reporting on what we're doing as well. Check out the story at, which is following Patagonia. And keep your eye on Greener World Media, which will also be posting a story soon.

And in the coming months, keep your eye on this blog, where we'll talk to the participants and learn about what worked, what didn't, and where they're headed next.

--Berne Broudy


Aug 17, 2012

Aug 22, 2009

What are the criteria for 'carbon neutral'? Does where the boot is made come into factor? I recently purchaced a Keen shoe which is supposed to be earth friendly, only to find it was made in China.


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Tell me about new boot trends!
Posted On: Sep 01, 2014
Submitted By: hikerjer
Rocky Mountains
Backpacking Trip in the Beartooths
Posted On: Sep 01, 2014
Submitted By: hikerjer
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions