It turns out that if they weren’t donated, parts of our old sneakers could only be “recycled,” or reused as less valuable items like rubber flooring. And here’s the tricky thing about shoes—running shoes in particular: Because they’re made of two different materials, they’re hard to take apart. As such, most of them never get a chance at a second life and are destined (very, very slowly) to decompose in a landfill after we’re done with them.
Moreover, keen runners sport shoes at the speed of Usain Bolt. Most experts recommend switching running shoes after 300 to 500 miles; Much later, they will lose their pillow and this can lead to infection. Depending on how much you run, this could mean you shed a pair every four to six months.
In response to this trashy problem, some sneaker companies have begun selling easy-to-disassemble racers for recycling. Another method is to create shoes that are designed to stay in use for a longer period of time, such as a boot Elliot Runnerthe first sneaker from classic running brand Tracksmith.