How To Recycle Running Shoes

How To Recycle Running Shoes The Right Way

Even though running shoes are made from tough, durable, and strong materials, running shoes won’t last forever.

Depending on the amount you run, your weight, technique, and running surfaces, running shoes can last between 400 to 500 miles of use.

If you are a runner that logs a huge amount of miles every week, you may find that you have multiple pairs of old running shoes around the house.

So what do you do with old running shoes? Can you recycle running shoes?

In this article today, we show you four ways to recycle your old running shoes.


Impact Of athletic footwear On The Environment

The athletic footwear industry was estimated at 98 billion (USD) in 2019 and is growing so fast that it will reach 120 billion (USD) by the year 2025
While this is great news for athletes and the industry, this does have a massive impact on the environment. This is because it can take more than a typical human’s lifetime to decompose in a landfill.

Instead of tossing your old running shoes out, think about how you can give your running shoes a second life.

Below are 4 ways you can reuse your old running shoes, and prevent them from going to the landfill.

Get Them Repaired

For many runners, other parts of the shoe wear out before the sole. This could be the upper material, nose of the shoe, and even the heel. Instead of retiring a pair of shoes because of worn-out fabric or rubber, try to find a shoe repair service that can repair them.

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Most shoe repair services can provide an affordable service that can keep your running shoes going for longer.

While it is a good idea to try to repair your shoes, it is not always the best idea. If you find you are wearing out your sole, rather than another area of the shoe, it may be better to look at other ways to recycle your shoes.


Just because your shoes may have reached their life (400 to 500 miles), it doesn’t mean they should go to the landfill. Instead, look at donating them to less-fortunate people who lack proper footwear. Often when running shoes have reached the end of their life, they are still able to be used for walking and other daily activities.

Some of the places where you can donate old running shoes include:

One World Running

Most of these organizations donate shoes to underprivileged people shoes so they can go to work, school, and daily activities. Some other organizations send second-hand shoes to developing countries.

Either way, donating your shoes to one of these organizations can help prolong the life of your shoes.


Change Your Running Shoe Purpose

Just because you can’t use your running shoes to log more miles, it doesn’t mean they are completely useless.

Instead, use your workout running shoes for things like painting the house, gardening, lawn mowing, walking, and general activities. Most of the time used running shoes still look in good condition apart from worn-out cushioning. As long as you keep them clean, they can be used as a daily shoe, instead of a running shoe.

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Find a Shoe Recycling Program

If your shoes are past saving, there are local programs in your area that can recycle your old shoes. this means old running shoes can be recycled just like plastic bottles and cans. Even though it is more complicated and there are fewer recycling centers around for this type of thing, there are companies around that can do this.

One such company is Nike. They have created the Reuse-A-Shoe program which allows you to drop off old athletic shoes to any of their stores, regardless of their brand. They then send the shoes away to get recycled and then used to make basketball courts, turf fields, running tracks, and more.



Just like plastic, athletic shoes are becoming a big problem. With more people being proactive, there is becoming more waist for use to deal with. By following some of our recycling tips, you can help reduce the number of running shoes going to landfills.

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