As an avid runner (and one with a mild addiction to sportswear), I’ve accumulated a pile of running shoes that’s larger than appropriate for my pint-sized Brooklyn apartment. I’ve dispersed my collection by stockpiling extra pairs at my office and other peoples’ houses (thanks, Mom!), but even after I’ve exhausted their mileage, I cling to them and tell myself they’ll come in handy the next time I volunteer on a muddy farm or paint a house. They’ve come in handy exactly once in the past two years, but otherwise, they mostly act as dust bunny-magnets and doorstops.
As I put summer clothes into storage, fluff up my sweaters for Fall, and prep my annual load of cast-offs for a trip to Buffalo Exchange, all those used running shoes are starting to taunt me: I can’t really sell them, and they don’t make for great hand-me-downs. But with a little research, I found a few places that would be glad to take my used running shoes and make much, much better use of them than the back corner of my closet.
Here are 5 of our favorite ways to put your pile of running shoes to good use:
1. NIKE REUSE-A-SHOE
Nike Reuse-A-Shoe recycles used athletic shoes to create a material called “Nike Grind” that’s used in everything from new Nike apparel to sports surfaces like tennis courts and running tracks.
Donate shoes at one of over 300 drop-off locations, or ship to:
Nike Grind Processing
3552 Avenue of Commerce
Memphis, TN 38125
2. SOLES 4 SOULS
Soles 4 Souls collects shoes from warehouses and individual donors to provide shoes to people in over 125 different countries. They’ve also donated over 1 million pairs of shoes as part of disaster relief efforts for the Asian Tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Donate “gently worn” shoes at local drop-off centers or by shipping to their warehouses.
3. SHOE 4 AFRICA
PO Box 6943
4. ONE WORLD RUNNING
One World Running promotes health and fitness in the U.S. and around the world by providing running shoes to those in need and conducting local 5k run/walk races.
Donate shoes at drop-off centers in the U.S. and Ontario, or mail to:
Daily Camera Newspaper
attn: sports department
1048 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO. 80302
5. RECYCLED RUNNERS
This shoe recycling directory makes local shoe recycling easier – their large listing of local organizations and drop-off centers makes it convenient to give your shoes a second chance without shipping costs or tons of research.
Visit recycledrunners.com to find local drop-off centers and organizations.