Redue, Reuse, Recycle Your Old Running Shoes

What do you do with your running shoes after you’ve got your 300-500 miles in them? You actually have quite a few options for recycling them. Runners wear out their shoes pretty frequently and they may have some mileage left on them or at least enough wear in the shoe that someone who has no shoes would benefit greatly from them. Here are a few options for how to donate your old running shoes.

Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program “takes old running shoes and breaks them down into their component parts to be recycled into new applications. The rubber from the soles of the shoes gets melted down for use in rubberized surfaces for running tracks, footpaths and playgrounds. The foam of the midsole is turned into underlay material for basketball courts and other surfaces while the fabric from the shoe’s upper is recycled into padding for facilities such as basketball courts or football goal posts. To donate your old shoes to the Reuse-A-Shoe program, simply drop your shoes off at any Nike or Converse store in the United States, or participating Nike stores around the world.”

One World Running, based in Boulder, CO, originally distributed gently used shoes in Africa, but has since expanded their reach to Central America and even some of the poorest areas of the United States. One World Running accepts donations local running stores around the country. They ask that “any shoes you wish to donate should be washed and air-dried, since the heat from a standard clothes dryer can melt the glue that holds shoes together.”

Soles4Souls is based in Nashville, TN, and donates shoes to people in over 125 different countries around the world. Not only does Soles4Souls help with everyday needs, the organization has coordinated shoe donation efforts after catastrophes like the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. You can drop off shoes at various running stores around the country.

Not satisfied with these options? Just google “donate running shoes” and you can find even more options for your specific location. Remember to do something good with your shoes; you probably have enough yard work shoe as it is!

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