Recycle Your Running Shoes

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Ever retire a pair of running shoes after logging a few hundred miles, and wonder what you should do with them now?   Personally I have a few pairs sitting around with the promise of wearing them again for something other than running, but haven’t yet.  Instead of just tossing those old shoes or letting them collect dust in your closet, you could recycle then by donating them to an amazing non-profit organization that I stumbled upon while getting a pedicure. is an organization that takes used running shoes and then cleans them up and ships them to under-privileged children and adults so they have the opportunity to discover a passion for running as well as, for some, to own their first pair of shoes.

This organization was founded by a high school freshman who, due to injury, was unable to run for a few months.  He put the time he would have spent running, to good use, and decided to start a used shoe drive.  Little did he know, that small shoe drive would turn into something big.  Now a college graduate, Greg Woodburn has managed to take this small project and turn it into a charity benefiting many across the globe.  They are growing daily and now have Chapters in multiple states and countries on top of launching youth programs from running camps to races.

When reading over their ambitious vision for their organization I knew that this was something that I wanted to be a part of.  I will be starting a local drive to collect shoes in my area, and encourage all of you to help spread the word.  If you are in the central Florida area I would be happy to take your used shoes, and please don’t worry about them being too worn, they have a use for those as well.  Give running will use the rubber from the shoes not fit to pass on to another runner to build the first all-weather-surface track.

When I think back to when my passion for running first started, that itch that I felt to lace up my shoes and hit the road, it is my goal to inspire that in others.  I want to spark that passion in new runners and give them the joy that running has given me.  I believe donating my used running shoes will help achieve this goal in more people that I could reach in person.  Give Running says it beautifully “Each pair of Give Running shoes connects a pair of lives — and while the giver and receiver of each pair of shoes may not meet face-to-face, in a larger sense they meet foot-to-foot.”  If you are interested in getting involved you can contact Give Running by visiting their website .  If you have shoes to donate in the central Florida area please email me at

This article was written by Jen Walz