I recently bought new running shoes and that somehow brought to my attention the collection of old running shoes I have amassed. Stacks of Saucony boxes in my closet. It’s gotten to the point of too many to keep and too little space.
Ways to recycle and reuse old running shoes…
1. Wear them for non-traditional type races like Color Me Rad. Typically short distance and very easy pace.
2. You can get a little more distance out of a pair of running shoes on the trails.
3. Old running shoes are perfect for events that you would never consider wearing you newest pair. A mud run is the perfect example. Short distance, trail, easy pace, and an endless supply of mud that may or may not all come off.
Recylce (This is so cool!)
Nike started a program called Reuse-A-Shoe in 1993. They take old running shoes or athletic shoes and grind them up. They use the ground up materials to make many things. The rubber is used for baseball and soccer fields, weight-room floors, and running tracks. The foam is used for synthetic basketball courts, tennis courts, and playground surfacing. The cloth upper fabric is used for padding underneath basketball courts.
A drop-off location near you can be found by searching on:
- Soles 4 Souls shoe companies, retailers, and individuals can donate footwear both new and used to those in need around the world.
- Hope Runs is a nonprofit group working in Kenya and Tanzania, using athletics, education, and social entrepreneurship to empower AIDS orphans. They accept donations, including running shoes.
- Shoe 4 Africa is a charitable organization whose mission is “empowerment through sports and education, creating unique health initiatives, and promoting Aids awareness.”
- One World Running is a group of runners in Boulder, Colorado, that collects, washes and sends new and “near-new” athletic shoes along with other athletic equipment to Third World countries.
- The Shoe Bank provides shoes for 25,000 people every year—primarily children—both here and abroad.
- Warren Striders Track Club, Inc. Provides running shoes to local and area low/moderate income families who often are unable to purchase adequate running shoes to their children.
- Sole Responsibility is a nonprofit organization formed by a group of runners in Ottawa, Canada who donate gently used running and walking shoes overseas.
- Shoes for Planet Earth is an organization based out of Sydney, Australia, Shoes for Planet Earth provides shoes to those who need them in Australia, Africa, and Asia.
I’m not surprised but I had no idea there were so many charities and organizations whose purpose was to provide shoes to those in need.
Any of these ideas are much more useful and gratifying than slowly creating a small mountain of old running shoes and shoe boxes in your closet.
I challenge everyone to pick at least one organization between now and the end of the year and donate a pair of old running or workout shoes. Come back and let me know what organization you chose.
What do you do with your old running (or exercise) shoes? Do you know of other agencies that accept shoe donations?