Run. Repurpose. Repeat. Be a Kindrunner


recycling sneakers

Three things in human life are important:
the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
―Henry James


Running doesn’t seem like it would have a hugely negative impact on the earth. After all, runners aren’t using any electricity, creating any emissions, causing any waste, plus they’re communing with the great outdoors. Environmentally speaking, though, running does have its dirty little secret. Particularly if running in a pair of men’s Asics gel Kayanos, size 9.

A recent MIT study found that a new pair of synthetic running shoes typically generates 30lbs of carbon dioxide emissions, about what leaving a 100-watt bulb on for a week produces. This is atypically high in that a)the end product doesn’t use electricity, and b) 68% of those emissions occur during the manufacturing process, which is more in line with the carbon footprint of tech products.

The particular shoe studied by the MIT team was made from 26 different materials, and required 360 different steps to manufacture and assemble. Many of those units, where the shoes were produced on small machines, were powered by coal.

“It’s the many small parts– the making it, the manufacturing– cutting out the pieces, injection-molding the rubber, sewing it together. Everything happens in Asia, and that means the shoe has a relatively high burden compared to the extraction of raw materials,” said Elsa Olivetti, another co-author.


Multiply that by the 25 billion+ pairs of shoes manufactured every year, and you’ve got a mess— especially when you consider the sheer number of those shoes destined for the landfill, where they’ll take 90-100 years to biodegrade.




But please don’t stop running! Encourage your favorite shoemakers to streamline the process and use green energy.

And be a Kindrunner by keeping those shoes out of landfills as long as possible.

Launching today, Kindrunner is an awesome way to keep your feet in your favorite running shoes while treading more lightly on the earth. This online running store stocks all your favorite shoe and gear brands— Saucony, Mizuno, Brooks, Newton, Asics, Garmin and more— with free shipping to you and free shipping for returns (using UPS’s Carbon Neutral Shipping).

Another free shipping label is provided for the purpose of returning all of the original packing materials to be recycled, and a pair of used running shoes. For each pair of old shoes returned, you get a $10 credit (Kindness Cash Rewards) towards your next purchase. Returned used shoes are then donated to organizations like Soles 4 Souls who provide them to people in need.

It’s a wonderful concept. I know I have 3-4 pairs of sneaks in rotation at any one time, and when they’re reached the point that I’ve deemed time for retirement they still have life in them. There are only so many shoes I really need for casual wearing, anyway. And I’ll be first to raise my hand and say I’d just as soon get that $10 for donating!


shoe shelves
This is two-thirds… of my sneaker collection.
Much of which is ready to be retired.
I’m not even going to show you my other shoe shelving.


Another great perk: if you’re familiar with exactly what brand/model you’re purchasing and know you won’t need to take advantage of the free return shipping? You have the option of foregoing the free return shipping and instead taking advantage of a lower price. That, friends, is thinking of the needs of the customer, and I like it.


Note: their YouTube channel also has shoe reviews.


Love this idea as much as I do?

Let Kindrunner know by giving them a holler on Twitter or Facebook and let them know I sent ya.

Then vote for green practices with your dollar next time you need a pair of pumped up kicks!



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