Sadly, running shoes don’t last forever. The average life of a running shoe is about 500 kilometers. After that, the cushioning wears out, and the shoes lose their ability to absorb the impact you create as you run. When that happens, your knees and joints take over and absorb that shock. This can lead to a significantly increased risk of injury—ouch! But just because your shoes are no longer suitable for running, that doesn’t mean you have to toss them in the trash. Check out the ideas below and find some ways to either repair, donate or recycle running shoes!
Find A Cobbler
Local cobblers are able to restore all kinds of footwear. Believe it or not, many of them even specialize in repairing old running shoes. Do some research in your community or check with your favorite cobbler to see if they can restore your old sneakers. The process usually includes a full resole, so the tops of the shoes should be in okay condition if you go for this option. Cobblers can also restore hiking boots, climbing shoes, and all kinds of active footwear, so it’s definitely worth finding a resource!
Used doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Maybe somebody else needs a pair of shoes for work, gardening, painting, etc., and an older pair of sneakers would be suitable. Find a clothing donation site in your community and double-check that they accept sneakers. Before you donate, give the sneakers a thorough cleaning and allow them to air-dry thoroughly. You can even tie a small note onto the shoe to let the future owner know that they’ve hit their limit for heavy running use but would be safe for lower-impact activities.
Find A Local Shoe Recycle Program
Unfortunately, you can’t just recycle shoes along with your plastic bottles and cans. Recycling sneakers is a more complex process, and most recycling centers simply aren’t set up for it. However, there are several recycling locations that do have the equipment and know-how to break down the material of your shoes and give it new life in another form. You can ship your shoes to companies like Terracycle who work with hard-to-recycle materials. Do some research on specialty recyclers in your area to find a suitable solution.
Reduce other types of plastic consumption
Plastic is in everything. If you’d like to do more to reduce your overall plastic consumption, here are a few tips that can help.
Change Their Purpose
It seems obvious, but just a quick reminder—just because you can’t use your shoes for running doesn’t mean they’ve completely lost their value! Old running shoes can come in handy when you need something for a particularly messy project. Whether you’re tie-dyeing with the kids or doing some gardening or other home-improvement project, sometimes having an old pair of shoes lying around keeps you from damaging your new ones. Instead of recycling your shoes, why not hang on to your old running shoes just in case?
The Future of Footwear
Plastic waste is a problem, and now more than ever, companies are becoming aware of how they produce apparel and products like running shoes. adidas has Primeblue products which use Parley Ocean Plastic—made using plastic waste intercepted from coastal areas. And adidas isn’t the only company paying attention to this issue. Do some research before you buy your next pair of running shoes to make sure they’re produced responsibly.
Are you passionate about the fight against plastic waste? Join us during Run For The Oceans and dedicate your cardio to a great cause! Check out the challenge in the adidas Running app.