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- Lane Eight is a sustainable vegan sneaker startup that makes workout shoes for all types of athletes.
- The brand uses materials like recycled plastic and algae reduce impact on the planet.
- We tested the popular Trainer AD1 sneakers and talked to the founder about the shoes.
Sneakers are one of the fastest growing categories in the apparel industry. Founded in 2017 by Josh Shorrock, Lane Eight is an up-and-coming sustainable and vegan sneaker brand that uses materials like recycled plastic water bottles and algae to make its performance training sneakers.
It's no secret that sustainability has been trending upwards in recent years, with big brands like Nike and Adidas taking steps to lighten their impact on our planet. But it's refreshing to see newer startups putting in the effort from day one. In addition to putting the planet first with its materials and manufacturing techniques, Lane Eight also aims to improve sustainability by simply making shoes people can use more than one way.
"Our point of differentiation is our focus on versatility," said Lane Eight co-founder Josh Shorrock. "While most performance brands separate their products based on sport-specific categories like running or training, we develop footwear that is versatile and responsive enough to handle all the ways Everyday Athletes train and move, all in one shoe."
To better get a feel for the brand, we tested Lane Eight most popular design — the original Trainer AD1.
Amir's review of the Lane Eight Men's Trainer AD1
The Trainer AD1 features a unique lacing system that spans the lateral and medial sides of the midfoot, rather than just at the top of the foot. The design really helped to keep my foot secure and locked down.
Since the shoes are designed for all-around training, you won't find super bouncy midsoles and sculpted outsoles. The bottoms are mostly flat, which allowed me stay planted and balanced during workouts.
Even with the firm midsoles and flat bottoms, the shoes are made comfortable with algae-based beaded foam insoles. I've experienced similar technology in shoes from Adidas and Puma, and it works just as well on the Lane Eight Trainer AD 1.
Sally's review of the Lane Eight Women's Trainer AD 1
I've worn my Lane Eight sneakers to the gym for several types of workouts, from cardio to strength training, and I've been loving the lightly cushy soles for treadmill or machine days. The little bumps on the insoles make wearing the shoes feel almost therapeutic, minus the usual geriatric aesthetic associated with features like that.
The shoes don't have a tongue, which is definitely a bonus for me. I find the sock-like fit to be snug but not too tight, and the toe gives me ample room to wiggle around and readjust without slipping or sliding. The arch support is decent, but not extreme, so you may need to put new insoles in if you require a lot of arch support.
In terms of design, I'm really into the taupe/gum sole combo — they almost feel Yeezy-esque but without being overly trendy, so I can wear them for errands and on the weekend with sweatsuits and casual athleisure. — Sally Kaplan, executive editor
Sizing and fit
I am usually a size 8 so that's what I ordered, and they fit true-to-size for me. My toes have enough room to move around at the top of the shoe, but they don't slip or slide. My high arches can cause sock-like shoes to feel a bit tight around the top of my foot, so that's the one drawback for me. — Sally Kaplan, executive editor
I'm a true men's size 8, but I usually size up to an 8.5 for sock-like sneakers. Even so, I experienced the same bit of tightness at the top of my foot that Sally mentioned. Although my toes have enough space in the 8.5, I think a size 9 would have fit better. I have no doubt that your shoes will still fit well if you go up a full size. — Amir Ismael, senior reporter
Cons to consider
Minor sizing issues aside, we both had really good experiences with Lane Eight sneakers. At $130, they're more affordable than most performance sneakers. Although you can buy better shoes designed specifically for running or deadlifting, the versatility of the Trainer AD 1 makes it well worth the price as a comfortable cross trainer that can handle several types of workouts.
The bottom line
Lane Eight is carving its own lane in the footwear industry. While the use of sustainable materials isn't unique to the brand (it shouldn't be that way anyway), Lane Eight's overall design and friendly approach to defining what it means to be an athlete are unique. The versatility of the Trainer AD1 makes it the perfect entry-level, all-around workout and training sneaker for people who care about the planet.