Saturday, May 23, 2009

What to do with old running shoes?

Q. In addition to race T-shirts, I often find I have a pile of running shoes filling my closet. Even though I've run a few hundred miles on them, they are still in pretty good non-running shape.

I recently gave a few pairs to a homeless shelter, but I'm curious what other options are out there. I'm sure there are a ton of runners out there who have stacks of pairs in their closet. Most probably toss them in the garbage because they don't know what else to do. Ideas?

A. I wish I'd gotten this e-mail (which came from a co-worker) two weeks ago, because it was about that long ago that I threw a pair of old shoes in the trash myself without really thinking about it. Anyway, I asked around and got a couple of tips from local retailers that I'll use next time -- and that I hope you'll consider when you're in the same situation.

Tim Rhodes, owner of Run For Your Life, says that his stores offer "a $5 credit toward your purchase of a new pair of running shoes if you turn in a pair of 'gently used' running shoes at the time of purchase. These shoes are then donated to Samaritan’s Feet and they take the shoes to Africa and put them on the feet of folks over there who do not have shoes."

Tim points out that "the offer is good for $5 per visit (10 pairs of shoes won't get you a $50 credit) and 'gently used' implies that they have basically been worn to run in and, while they may have lost their usefulness for running, they are in otherwise good condition (no used yard shoes, please). Any kind of gently used shoes are accepted whether or not they are running shoes."

Meanwhile, Joe Soehnlen, customer relations executive for TrySports - Charlotte, said his stores "accept shoe donations ... and we give them to Deserving Soles. It is a pretty excellent organization and they are really trying to make a difference."

If you want to investigate even more options, check out this article on Runner's World's Web site. It was published almost three years ago now, but pretty much all of the organizations listed still accept used running shoes and put them toward really worthy causes.

Do you know of other ways to get old running shoes in the hands of needy folks? Please share them in the comments section!


Anonymous said...

You can also give them to your local middle or high school. They always have students who run track and cross country who cannot afford shoes.

Hub Justice said...

Are they treated for stank and fungus before being released back into the wild?

Anonymous said...

Recycling your athletic shoes with Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe is a simple way to start.

Nike Recycling Center
c/o Reuse-A-Shoe
26755 SW 95th Ave.
Wilsonville, OR 97070

Anonymous said...

Charlotte Running Company gives you 10% off for donating your old pair when you come in and buy your new pair.

jeepers said...

nice article....not. i know what you can do with those shoes and this article. shall i elaborate?

Anonymous said...

Yo Jeepers, I know what we can do with a wise A$$ like you and where we can put repub retard.
know what I mean Jeepers-Creepers?

Great article despite the creepers

Anonymous said...

Whoa whoa whoa, why does the guy have to be a republican all the sudden? I've donated shoes many times and help run a similar program for my old track coach. I'm also a proud republican. Let's keep the politics out of our running, huh?

Anonymous said...

anonymous - your a work of art. thanks for insulting many of our proud underprivileged people. nice. insulting language, one sided politics = what, ?? a caring democrat??

Misty said...

I recently got a new running shoes... And like to donate my old pair!!

Pauline Patrick said...

I usually donate my used shoes to those persons who won't able to buy their own shoes. I barely admire those individual who sent their quality used shoes to others. Thank you for sharing this one.