Us low- and zero-waste consumers are total proponents of using things until they're just about to fall apart. But for runners, it's different – every 300 miles or so, avid runners are encouraged to switch out their old sneakers and buy new ones, to avoid injury when their shoes start naturally breaking down from daily use.
But what happens when your old shoes start piling up? Throwing them in the trash would be truly be a landfill travesty, as they can take up to 30 years to break down, according to Earth911. Luckily, though, these stores offer recycling and donation programs for old running sneakers.
Athlete's Foot (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
The Athlete's Foot in Tuscaloosa, Ala. is partnered with One World Running, a nonprofit that collects gently used athletic sneakers, and donates them to those in need throughout Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Boulder Running Company (Colorado)
Boulder Running Company is also partnered with One World Running, enabling Colorado-based runners to simply discard their old kicks in an in-store drop-off bin. Piece of cake.
Brooklyn Running Company (New York)
Brooklyn-based running store, Brooklyn Running Company, collects New Yorkers' old athletic sneakers in an in-store bin, and sends them to an organization called Wearable Collections. The sneakers are then broken down, and the materials are given a well-deserved second life.
Charm City Run (Maryland)
Maryland-based running store, Charm City Run, is partnered with the MORE Foundation Group, a Delaware-based organization that also recycles the materials from old athletic shoes, regardless of the brand. Drop them off in the in-store bin, if you live nearby.
Fleet Feet (several locations)
Several Fleet Feet store locations nationwide are also partnered with the MORE Foundation, but call ahead to ensure your nearest location is participating in the program.
Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe Program (nationwide)
Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program accepts used athletic sneakers of any brand, and upcycles the materials for the company's Nike Grind line, which solely consists of products made with recycled materials. You can participate in the program by simply dropping your old kicks at any participating Nike retail store in North America or Europe – just call in advance to ensure your nearest location is open and accepting donations for recycling, due to COVID-19.
Philadelphia Runner (Philadelphia)
Philadelphia running store, Philadelphia Runner, accepts used sneakers at all three of its locations, according to The Green Cities. If you're running through the City of Brotherly Love, simply ask a sales associate where the in-store drop-off bin is located.
Runner's Roost (Colorado)
Runner's Roost is a Colorado-based store that has several locations statewide, and each one has a shoe recycling program that accepts old running sneakers. The materials are broken down and reused for school tracks, public playgrounds, and for new clothes that are distributed to the homeless, veterans, and more.
Sports Basement (California)
Bay Area-based running store Sports Basement is a major proponent of recycling. The store is partnered with Recycle For Change, a Richmond-based organization that upcycles textiles, and sends surplus clothing to those who need it throughout Africa.
Whether you're training for a marathon or if you only just started running to stay sane during the ongoing pandemic, make sure to properly recycle your sneaks at the end of their life — environmental causes aside, recycling is definitely good for the sole.