Through the course of time, you’ll be getting lots and lots of running shoes, and eventually your shoe cabinet will be filled with old ones. You probably don’t need seven pair of runners, but emotionally it’s more of a wrench to part ways with running shoes than it is a pair of heels that cost twice as much. This can be explained in a word: memories.
Running shoe memories are far sweeter than work shoe memories, even if they involve both blisters and exhaustion. The difference is that running shoes that also hold memories of endorphins and special moments such as crossing a marathon finishing line.
Luckily, there’s an event that can help you get over the aforementioned emotional hurdles with the help of Shoes For Planet Earth.
Viv Kartsounis is an architect and ultra marathoner who, in partnership with engineer and fellow ultra-runner Nick Drayton, set up Shoes For Planet Earth charity in 2009 to dispense running shoes to those without. Viv and Nick were in South Africa running Comrades early that year and saw first-hand the need for shoes among locals.
The charity’s focus is on putting Australian needs first. “A lot of people have said they want locals to get the shoes because everything they donate seems to get sent oversaeas,” Viv says.
Homeless people are the biggest market. They are on their feet all athey so they like running shoes and go through them quickly, and some of them participate in street soccer and other activities.
Shoes for Planet Earth has multiple collection points in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Canberra, and Tasmania. Collectors range from shoes stores to podiatrists, schools, and running clubs.
They estimate the charity has sent 20,000 pairs of shoes of needy feet since 2009 and it could send many more. They just need funds, and ideally another corporate tie-up to help with distribution.
And if you’re wondering when you should turn your shoes over, it depends on how often you wear them. Mick Outhred of Northside Runners in Sydney sais if you wear the same shoes for running six days a week, you’re more likely to get 700km to 800km out of them, otherwise they could last up to 1200km.
“You are reducing the foaming system down more and more,” Outhred says. “The more it compresses it doesn’t have a chance to spring back. It will sink quicker and you’ll wear through the shoe faster. Some shoes, like lightweight racing flats, might only last 200km. The lighter the shoe is, the faster it will wear.”
So next time you’re contemplating throwing a pair of runners that are still in good condition aside, consider cleaning them, tying them together and dropping them at a Shoes for Planet Earth collection point.