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Old Shoes Get New Life June 17, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Eco/Green, Running.

Now’s the time that I try to do my spring cleaning. I go through the house and pile up things to toss…in the trash or to a charitable organization. Closets seem to amass the most junk for us as I’m sure they do for most families. In going through our closet, I noticed how many pairs of old running sneakers we have accumulated over the past few years. I feel guilty about throwing them in the trash which is typically why they are still sitting in our closet. Guilt be gone! Nike has developed the Reuse-A-Shoe Program which takes old running shoes (ANY BRAND) and repurposes them into a material that can be used to form the surface of basketball courts, tennis courts, running tracks, or playgrounds.

How does it work? You drop off your shoes at one of the participating locations or mail them to the Nike Recycling Center. Once the shoes are out of your hands, they are then sent to one of two processing facilities, Oregon or Belgium, where they are then ground up into a material called Nike Grind. The Nike Grind is then sorted and incorporated with other materials to create various sports surfaces. Nike states that is takes about 2,500 pairs of shoes to create a typical playground. You can read some of their other statistics here.

There are a few stipulations.
1. They accept athletic shoes only…NO dress shoes and NO cleats.
2. The shoes cannot contain any metal.
3. The shoes must be dry.

Those are pretty minor things considering that your old sneakers can now be put to good use. For those in the DC area, the closest drop off location is in Rehoboth Beach which is not so convenient or close. However, for less than the cost of a gallon of gas, you can mail them to the Nike Recycling Center in Oregon. That’s a small price to pay to keep those shoes out of your landfill!


1. Adrienne - June 17, 2008

This shoe tip will definitely come in handy! Thanks for sharing. Have you heard about the guy who’s trying to simplify and live with or own only 100 things?


AND! Happy Belated Birthday!!! My brother also celebrates his on the 15th! Geminis are fabulous!

2. smooregasbord - June 18, 2008

Great article, Adrienne! I don’t know if I’m brave enough to whittle my personal items down to just 100. I will admit that parting with a lot of “junk” is difficult for me because I do feel that personal and emotional attachment. My husband calls me a loser!

For example, we used his childhood bedroom set (bed, dresser, mirror) in our guest room for almost six years. When we got a new guest bedroom set, we obviously had to get rid of the old one. We ended up giving it away to a family in need. He was like “hasta la vista”, and I was the one that felt a little sad to see it go. Heck, it wasn’t even mine and I felt that way. Geez, come to think of it, maybe I am a loser!!!

3. Adrienne - June 23, 2008

Nah, you’re definitely not alone and there’s nothing wrong with a little “junque” here and there if there’s an emotional attachment to it. I still have boxes of love letters from old flames and even these “News Atcha” (newscast spoof) VHS tapes I started writing, directing, and starring in with my best friend in middle school (yeah, who’s the loser now). That stuff is blackmail material, but I shan’t ever part with it! That stuff is priceless!

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