Having trained for two marathons this year, I’ve put a fair amount of mileage in my shoes. And even though conventional wisdom says you should chuck your shoes after 300-500 miles, I can’t bring myself to do it. Sure, I can stop using a shoe when I feel the support going; and I relish the opportunity to buy a shiny new pair. But throw them out? Can’t do it.
So where does this leave me? It leaves me with around 6 pairs of unused, well-loved but slightly stinky running shoes lying around my house. And it’s getting silly. I’ve just done a quick head count, and I currently have four pairs of shoes in active rotation (two of which are brand spanking new, and one that’s on its way out). That leaves me with ten pairs of trainers in the house. TEN. That’s excessive. They take up way too much room and give the place a subtle stale odour that only the nicest of candles can disguise.
So why can’t I throw out my running shoes? It’s simple, really. Each pair of shoes tells a story. Some shoes were good, some were bad. My black Asics saw me through a marathon, as evidenced by the Gu stains on them. My blue Sauconys were my first, ill-advised step into the world of barefoot running that sadly me saw do too much to soon and get shin splints. My blue Mizunos have seen me through the bulk of this current season. And my first pair of Nike Frees were the only running shoe I took with me when I lived in Mexico last. All of them are worn. But all of them are old friends. Me and my shoes have been through a lot together: the highs, the lows; the exasperatingly tough training runs and the personal best races; the overuse injuries and the moments of sheer joy. They’re scuffed, worn and broken in a way that’s unique to the runner who wears them; they’re friends.
It may seem silly to get attached to a pair of shoes, but really it makes sense. Recently I discovered that you can actually put your old shoes to good use by recycling them at running stores, including Runner’s Need. I’m glad that there are initiatives that mean my old shoes can be put to good use somewhere else. Repurposing old shoes means their journey continues, which I really like the idea of. Still, it might take me a while to part with all my old friends!
Do you recycle your shoes? Am I the only one who hoards old pairs?
Lots of love,