Tossing those old sneakers? Donate them instead

April 12, 2013

Runners tend to replace their shoes more frequently than the average individual. With that in mind, Bellin Run organizers are encouraging runners and walkers to consider donating those gently- and not-so-gently-used kicks.

Organizations like Goodwill – a sponsor of the 2013 Bellin Run – benefit greatly from the donation of running shoes.

Goodwill is a 100 percent not-for-profit charitable organization. The donations afford them the ability to offer customers a greater selection for everyday use. And there’s even use for the worn out shoes – Goodwill can recycle them and get monetary compensation.

“Although across the state Goodwill took in nearly 365,000 pairs of donated shoes last year via customer purchases at our 24 stores, shoes are always in great demand and don’t stay on our shelves very long,” said James Vanden Boom, community engagement leader for Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin. “And with the shoes we can’t stock on our shelves due to their poor condition, we recycle and receive compensation. In reality, we never have enough shoes to stock our store locations. Our stores are always in need.”

Race organizers see an opportunity to help fill that need, says Linda Maxwell, assistant race director for the Bellin Run.

“As you start training for the Bellin and breaking in those new running shoes, why not consider donating your old ones to a charity organization like Goodwill?,” she asked. “Donating gently-used running shoes is an awesome feel-good gesture that will go a long way toward aiding less-fortunate individuals.”

Nate Vandervest, a running coach at Bellin Health’s west side fitness center, says runners should consider replacing their shoes every 300 to 400 miles.

“It depends largely on your  particular running style and the surface on which you do most of your running. Your weight also factors into the life of your shoes,” Vandervest said. “Lighter runners should get new shoes around the 400 mile mark, while heavier runners can plan on looking for a new pair of shoes at around 300 logged miles. If you run on roads and sidewalks, you'll probably have to spring for new shoes much sooner than if you run mostly on a treadmill.”

And according to Vanden Boom, donating shoes that have logged 300-400 miles instead of tossing them helps with local green initiatives by lessening the number of discarded shoes that end up landfills each year or are incinerated – a process that releases chemicals into the environment.

Donating is simple. Goodwill’s large, marked donation boxes can be found at the free training runs held Wednesday evenings at Bellin’s fitness centers at 1630 Commanche Ave., Green Bay and at the free training walks held at 3263 Eaton Road, Bellevue. There also will be a shoe donation drive held during the Friday, June 7 Health & Fitness Expo in Astor Park the night before race day.

“So seriously consider donating those old running shoes as well as your worn out street shoes,” Maxwell said. “You’ll aid Goodwill, a local charitable organization, you’ll be doing your part to protect the environment, and you’ll have a legitimate reason to get a new pair of shoes to sport as you cross the finish line on race day.”

The 2013 Bellin Run will take place at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 8. Adult online registration for the 2013 event is $20 through Wednesday, May 1. All registrants receive an official 2013-style Bellin Run T-shirt.

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