Max Romey on “No Lost Shoes,” Nnormal, and Striving for Sustainability in the Footwear Industry (Ep.164)

Recycling old running shoes is hard, really hard. The concoction of glues, plastics, fabrics, and foams that go into making each pair can each require their own form of disposal, a drawn-out sorting process that’s often as inefficient as it is unrealistic. As a result, every year millions of pairs of retired shoes end up in the dump, where many eventually spill out into the sea only to wash ashore on coastlines thousands of miles away.

As a proud Alaskan, artist, filmmaker, and trail runner, Max Romey knows the repercussions of this problem first hand. Currents make the state’s wild beaches a popular landing spot for ocean debris, leading to pollution Max cleverly captures through watercolor in his new film for Nnormal, “No Lost Shoes.” We recently sat down with him to talk through some of the major sustainability issues facing the footwear industry; how Nnormal is attempting to upend that process; musings on imperfection in art; parenthood; and a whole lot more.


  • Watercolor (2:25)
  • Leaning into imperfection in art & life (7:27)
  • Run-sketch-run (9:22)
  • Landscape painting in Alaska (16:58)
  • How Max got into adventure filmmaking (20:52)
  • The cinematics of filming an ultra (27:04)
  • Nnormal and “No Lost Shoes” (30:31)
  • Channeling anger into action (40:24)
  • Nnormal’s sustainability goals (43:41)
  • Thoughts on parenthood & the future (48:45)
  • Upcoming projects (52:00)



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