A few weeks ago I posted about my new running shoes. I was surprised to find that there was a lot of interest in what I do with my old shoes. I had never really thought much about it, but I guess it’s common for us runners to have our old shoes pile up in the closet which leaves some wondering what they should do with them.
Generally, I do not run in my shoes until they wear down to nothing. Back in high school when I played lacrosse I could wear them all season and carry them into getting back in shape for the next season before replacing them. Let’s be real here – I’m not in high school anymore! Pronation on my left foot and hip imbalances (very common in women) do not allow my now less-than-rubbery body to bounce back so quickly from the constant pounding that running requires. For that reason, I wear my shoes until they start to feel dead – generally 6 months depending on how much I’m running. I don’t think there is any rule of thumb that works across the board for everyone – you need to decide when it’s time for your own new shoes. Maybe it’s a strict 300 miles, maybe it’s 6 months, maybe it’s when you’ve run them through until the bottoms are falling off. It’s up to you, be your own guide for that.
Often, I retire my shoes to the garage for outdoor yard work or dog walking. Since I cycle for cross training, they may also be used for that. Basically, once I’ve retired my shoes I don’t run in them anymore, but those $100+ babies are still in good enough shape for a mile stroll with the pup or some time pulling weeds from the garden. Again, you have to do what’s right for you – if you wear them down until they’re falling apart you may just want to toss them.
Depending on the time of year and what shoes I have in the garage and XT pile, I sometimes just leave my shoes at the local running store. What do they do with them? Well, that depends on where you go. If you’re in Columbus you’ll be happy to know that the local Columbus Running Company donates used shoes to various places including Ghana and Haiti. The local running store FrontRunner also donates used shoes to both the Chrappah Foundation and The United Methodist Free Store. They both accept donations anytime, so if you have some old shoes in your closet you can turn them over to them and they will take care of the donation.
If you’re interested in donating your old shoes, the easiest thing to do would be to contact your local running store to see if they accept donations. You can also check out this article from RunnersWorld on different organizations to which you can donate your used running shoes.