Old Running Shoes Come To Life – With Help From Colorado Springs Stores | North Springs Edition
Runners looking to win over non-runners will often notice the simplicity of the sport as a selling point.
The compelling argument goes like this: “All you need is a pair of shoes!” “
Unlike all the equipment needed for skiing or softball, running only requires one piece of equipment to start.
But runners who have covered enough miles will also tell you that this pair of shoes won’t last very long. Industry experts say the shoes should be taken off after 300 or 500 miles. At this distance, the materials of the shoe begin to degrade, which can lead to nuisance in the form of aches or nightmares in the form of more serious injuries.
So runners tend to follow this advice which means they go through a lot of shoes. If someone drives 4 miles a day, they could reach that mark in three to five months.
This is why runners run into a common situation, as we often hear in stores like Colorado Running Co.
“So many people come with their old shoes,” says Lisa Coe, store manager for Colorado Springs. “They just don’t know what to do with them.”
She’s heard stories of piles of used shoes stowed away in closets, representing decades of running and practice runs. Maybe they keep some to remember a meaningful race. Maybe they keep shoes on for mowing the lawn. Maybe they pass them on to a family member to wear to school. Maybe they end up throwing them in the trash.
Other, more environmentally friendly options have emerged over the years, seeking to breathe new life into old shoes.
Most running stores allow customers to drop off shoes for recycling through a variety of charities or programs. In Colorado Springs, you can drop off your shoes at Colorado Running Co. and Boulder Running Co.
Most of the time, both places will have boxes overflowing with shoes ready to be sorted and picked up by their recycling partners.
Coe said customers bring shoes to add every day.
The selection ranges from lightly used to worn.
“See them? Coe said to pick up a pair of navy Altra shoes from a bag in the back of the store. “Someone could get a lot of use out of it.”
Others have holes or are covered in dirt.
Some will go to Sneakers4Funds, a Florida-based company described on its website as a “social enterprise founded by runners just looking to use our sneakers for good.” Thanks to the Sneakers For Good program, shoes are reused and recycled to be given to those in need. Plus, for every pair of shoes, $ 1 is donated to Achilles Pikes Peak, which pairs runners with disabilities with volunteer guides who train and run together.
More shoes are picked up, twice a month, by a volunteer from One World Running, a Boulder-based organization that collects used shoes, cleans them and distributes them to people in need in Central America, Africa and the Caribbean. Since its launch in 1985, a group of volunteers from Boulder have collected, washed and shipped over 50,000 pairs of shoes, as well as T-shirts and shorts.
“As runners, shoes are probably our biggest waste,” Coe said. “It’s nice to be able to do something good with them.
Big companies like Nike, Brooks, and Patagonia have taken to shoe recycling. You can find trash cans at Nike stores across the country, including its outlet in Castle Rock.
Thanks to Nike’s program, these shoes will be crushed and used as a material for sports fields, playgrounds and furniture. Since 1990, Nike has reused more than 30 million pairs.
Boulder Running Co. donates shoes to a cause in Denver that turns ‘100% spent’ shoes into materials for state school playgrounds, says Eric Salsman, who manages the store’s location in Colorado Springs.
“Landfills are filling up and they are filling up with materials that could easily be reused,” he said.
He estimates that the store receives 50 to 60 pairs of shoes per month. The fittest go to Springs Rescue Mission or Treasure House of Hope.
“A lot of people could throw away shoes that still have miles for someone else,” Salsman said. “If we throw them away, that’s a lot of wasted potential.”
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