It's funny, running shoes are like books to me. After I've used them, I have a hard time parting with them. I have such a sense of pride and accomplishment after I've finished reading a book (fiction or nonfiction). I feel like I've learned so much and I'm the better for it. Same thing with running. After a season in a pair of running shoes, I have that same sense of pride and accomplishment. It's hard to part with something like that.
If you're like most runners, you go through at least a couple pair of running shoes each year. But what happens to those used shoes when you don't need them any more? Are you like I used to be and have a "Mount Run-No-More" of shoes piled up in the corner of your bedroom? Eventually, after my wife complained enough I'd usually decrease the pile some by taking a few to Good Will. But most of the shoes were so worn out that I felt guilty dumping them on Good Will and I felt bad about tossing such a good and loyal friend in the trash bin. So, what's a running to do?
Luckily there are some wonderful organizations that will help you recycle those faithful friends of yours. We all have those shoes that just never did fit right and as a result you never wore them too much. As mentioned before, Goodwill Industries is a great organization for recycling your more gently used shoes. Soles4Souls is another wonderful organization that will take your less-worn shoes and distribute them to people who need shoes all over the country and the world. Soles4Souls has a simple mission: To impact as many lives as possible with the gift of shoes. For the nearest Soles4Souls donation center [click here].
- In Canada? Then check out Sole Responsibility, a non-profit organization formed by a group of runners in Ottawa who want to donate gently used running and walking shoes overseas. Each spring, this organization collects shoes at Ottawa running events. We also have drop-off sites throughout the Ottawa.
For more shoe recycling organizations all over the world, [click here] to check out a wonderful list comprised by RunthePlanet.com.
- But what about shoes that are so worn out that can no longer be worn? Nike's Reuse-a-Shoe program will take such shoes and break them down. Each part of the shoe is then recycled into other products such as the bouncy flooring used on indoor basketball courts. For more information on how to donate to Reuse-a-Shoe [click here].
So, put that growing mound of old shoes to some good use and check out one of the wonderful organizations above!