Eco-Friendly Sneaker Tips for Runners

Even the best running shoes don’t last forever, and if you’re truly dedicated to running, you may go through several pairs every year.

Staying fit is great for you but not so great for the environment. Most athletic shoes end up in landfills each year where they take 30 to 40 years to decompose!

Here’s how you can minimize the environmental impact of high running shoe turnover:

Be Smart About Brands

Many athletic shoe manufacturers are starting to recognize the potential damage discarded shoes can do if left to languish in landfills. Luckily they are responding with new policies and procedures to reduce waste and minimize resource requirements.

Before you buy your next pair of running shoes, do some research to find companies focusing on:

  • Sustainable manufacturing processes
  • Use of recycled materials in packaging and products
  • Reduction of chemicals used in production
  • Incorporation of biodegradable materials
  • Use of locally sourced materials

The more environmental risks a company can reduce during manufacturing, the smaller the potential negative impact of the final products.

Cut Down on Materials

The barefoot shoe trend may have been a fad, but running shoes with minimalist soles require fewer materials to produce and are lighter and more compact than traditional running shoes. This reduces the resources necessary to make, package and transport the shoes, so choosing to switch to a minimalist style can make a positive impact in several areas.

Barefoot running isn’t for everyone. If you find these types of athletic shoes to be uncomfortable, try looking for traditional running shoes made with less bulk and omitting unnecessary design features.

Stay Out of Landfills

Tossing your athletic shoes isn’t your only option when you can no longer use them or you find a better pair for your style of running.

Did you know worn-out shoes can be recycled by sending them to a recycling program? For example, lightly used athletic shoes can be collected and donated to organizations, such as GotSneakers, to raise money and help people in need around the world. No matter how often you decide to part with your old running shoes, recycling keeps them out of the trash.

By making smart, ethical and environmentally friendly choices, you can run to your heart’s content with a clear conscience!


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