REI Co-op Swiftland MT: Trail-Running Shoes with an Eco-Conscious Twist

Eco-friendly, versatile trail-running shoes

If there's one thing I know, it's the journey, not just the destination. And that's exactly what comes to mind when we talk about trail running. It's an adventure, it's a test of resilience, and it's the raw connection between you and the ever-changing terrain beneath your feet.

And here's the news: the REI Co-op is back in the running game after almost half a century, breaking their hiatus with the Swiftland MT. This isn't just a nod to their past, it's a statement about their future.

These shoes are not just about the run, they're about running right, and running responsibly. Swiftland MT is an effort to connect your run with the broader ecosystem. These shoes are a testament to the fact that sustainability and performance can go hand in hand. They're designed with a variety of recycled materials, from PET to Bloom algae, setting a new standard in eco-conscious trail running footwear. As someone who has always admired the balance of respect and audacity, this is something that certainly catches my eye.

At first glance, the Swiftland MT offers a promising mix of control and comfort. The FirmaKnit uppers made from 90% recycled PET seem to create a seam-free, socklike fit that's as snug as a well-cooked risotto. Pair that with the TerraLoft cushioning and you've got a shoe that feels ready to eat up the miles.

However, in the same way you might balance the flavors of a meal, you might need to balance your expectations here. Swiftland MT seems best suited for the casual trail runner, for the jogger who wants to venture a little further, a little wilder. These might not be your go-to choice for a marathon through the wilderness or for trails that threaten to trip you up at every step.

The outsole, despite being environmentally friendly, might not offer the best grip on more treacherous trails. The knit fabric upper might also demand a bit of finesse with the laces to secure your foot just right. It’s a shoe that, like a perfect meal, will require a bit of trial and error to get just right.

Nevertheless, as a first step into trail running footwear, the Swiftland MT is a commendable effort. It might not be the shoe for every run, but it's a shoe that paves the way for a greener future in running. And remember, this is just the first course. I'm eager to see how REI builds on this experience and elevates its game in the running shoe space.

In the grand scheme of things, it's all about the ride, the journey, and making it count. The Swiftland MT reminds us that every step, every stride, is not just about us; it's about our planet, too. So go ahead, take that run, feel the earth beneath your feet, and know that you're doing a little something for Mother Nature, too.

Pros of the REI Co-op Swiftland MT Trail-Running Shoes:

1. Sustainability: The Swiftland MT shoes are a testament to eco-conscious design. They're crafted with 90% recycled PET, 10% BLOOM™ algae, and other recycled materials, making them a responsible choice for environmentally aware runners.

2. Versatile Use: The shoe's design leans toward a variety of trail conditions and is well-suited for casual trail runners, joggers, and hikers.

3. Cushioning and Support: With the TerraLoft™ Run cushioning, these shoes absorb trail impact effectively while providing a responsive bounce back, offering comfort over longer periods of wear.

4. Unique Design: The sock-like FirmaKnit™ Run uppers, combined with the lace-up closure, offer a secure fit, and the lightweight design promotes ease of movement.

Cons of the REI Co-op Swiftland MT Trail-Running Shoes:

1. Traction: Despite the aggressive lugging and 20% recycled rubber TerraGrip™ Run treads, the firm rubber may compromise on grip, making these shoes potentially less suitable for slippery or rough surfaces.

2. Upper Structure: The knit fabric of the upper lacks overlays or other structure-adding features. This could mean having to tighten the laces excessively to secure the foot, which could put undue pressure on the top of the foot and potentially destabilize the arch or outer midfoot.

3. Not Ideal for Hardcore Trail Running: While these shoes are well-suited for the casual runner, they may not be ideal for hardcore trail running, technical terrains, or long distances due to the aforementioned issues with traction and structure.

4. Price: Priced at $130, the Swiftland MT shoes are a significant investment, which might be a potential deterrent for some, particularly given some of the design limitations.


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