Thursday, November 19, 2009

Green and Frugal -- Where to Donate Old Running Shoes

Courtesy ratterrell Flickr CC

I was browsing through Runner’s World today looking up training tips (half-marathon here I come!) when I stumbled onto an article about what to do with your old running shoes. EUREKA!

First, the Life of a Running Shoe…

Running shoes, unlike regular shoes, have a fairly limited shelf life if you run regularly. They’re good for about 300-400 miles. After that, support breaks down and the risk of injury goes up. So even if they look good on the outside, it might be time to send them packing.

This is always a tough thing, at least for me. I love running, and my shoes are like little friends. My current pair is getting close (if not over) the 400 mile mark. So it’s almost time to say goodbye. Sigh.

How do you know when your shoes need replacing?

  • First, listen to your body. Do your joints hurt? Are you getting shin splints? Do your muscles ache? These are all signs that the support in your running shoes is growing thin.
  • Do the twist test. Grab one of your shoes in both hands and twist. If the shoe feels firm, it’s probably still ok. If it twists easily, they need to be replaced.
  • Check out your soles. The sole lasts much longer than cushioning and shock absorbency, so if the soles are worn then it’s definitely time for a new pair.

Donate Your Running Shoes!

Most organizations like Salvation Army will take “gently used” shoes. But if you’re a runner, then you know that often your shoes are much more than “gently used”.

The good news is that you can donate your old running shoes to organizations that either recycle them, or send them to people all over the world.

Here’s part of the list I found on Runner’s World:

Shoe companies, retailers, and individuals can donate footwear both new and used to those in need around the world. Soles4Souls has coordinated relief efforts for the Asian Tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike, netting over 1 Million pairs donated for these disasters.

Send your old running shoes to:
Alabama (Primary Warehouse Facility)
Soles4Souls, Inc.
315 Airport Road
Roanoke, AL 36274

Soles4Souls, Inc.
619 Old Hickory Blvd.
Old Hickory, TN 37138

Soles4Souls, Inc.
Foreign Trade Zone #89
6620 Escondido Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119

For more information, go to, call (615) 391-5723, or e-mail

Nike Reuse-A-Shoe

Grinds your old running shoes into material that makes athletics and playground surfaces.

Send your old running shoes to:
Nike Recycling Center
c/o Reuse-A-Shoe
26755 SW 95th Ave.
Wilsonville, OR 97070

For more information about Nike Reuse-A-Shoe, go to: or call 800-344-6453.

More Places To Donate Your Old Running Shoes…

The complete list, posted here at Runner’s World, is really comprehensive. Please visit their site to see all the options-they did a really great job covering all the bases. Thanks Runner’s World!

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  1. Hi, Thank you for sharing this informative content. I'm interested on how this works? because I have a lot of used shoes to donate. I'm looking forward for your answers. Again, Thank you!

    If you have much time, feel free to visit my website here:

  2. Hi Pauline! Thanks for your comments. Your website looks very similar to the ones I've included in my post. I think regardless of where you donate, you'll be helping a great cause.