Us runners have relationships with our running shoes. A runner may not remember what happened on last week’s episode of 30 Rock, but she could tell you what shoes she wore when she set her 10k PR. A runner could tell you the merits of last year’s version of shoe x versus the updated version of shoe x. I think I have more pictures of running shoes than of my sister on my iPhone. (Granted, she lives 600 miles away. I see my running shoes every day).
I have a hard time parting with my running shoes, and I know I’m not alone. The pile of shoes that build up in our closets and our car trunks represent sacrifices and silent victories. But at some point, when the piles get too high, too smelly, or become a sore spot between you and your spouse, something’s got to give.
So what can you do with your old shoes? Throwing them into the garbage seems wasteful. You probably know to donate them, but did you realize there are a lot more options out there than the local thrift store? Here are a few ideas...
1. Your local specialty running store
What could be easier than taking your old shoes with you when you buy new ones? I know my favorite local store takes my running shoes. Depending on the condition, they donate them to local shelters or they send the shoes to runners overseas.
2. Race Expos
If you’re heading to a race expo, check out the expo’s website before you go to see if any organizations will be accepting old shoes. Sometimes local shelters set up shop at expos, and other times organizations like Give Your Sole travel from expo to expo collecting shoes.
3. Hit the mall
The next time you hit up a Nike store, either in a mall or at an outlet, take the shoes you want to donate. The stores usually have a bin near the entrance where you can drop off your shoes. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program grinds old shoes into materials to make everything from track surfaces to tennis courts to playground surfaces. Check out the website www.nikersueashoe.com to see how the recycling process truly gets more miles out of your shoes.
4. Give them a grand send off
There are tons of organizations online that are thrilled to take your shoes. You might have to pay for shipping, but sometimes you’ll get lucky and the organization with have a drop off location in your region.
If you know any organizations or stores that accept shoes, this is a great place to get out the word! Drop me a line in the comments box.