New kicks? Don’t let the old ones go to waste.

This time of year a lot of us have new running shoes on the brain (which unless you have a go-to brand and style might mean logging several miles pacing back and forth in shoe aisles trying to decide on your next pair).  Either way, shoe shopping begs another question: what to do with the old pair?  Here are some thoughts.

Trail shoes.  If you aren’t a serious off-road runner, chances are you don’t have (or need) a solid pair of dedicated trail shoes.  But muddy paths and other messy hazards can be enough to discourage the occasional trail run, since you may not be crazy about dirtying up your street shoes.  Let your last pair of running shoes be your next pair of trail shoes that you can mess up, hose off, and let dry without having to worry about it.

Day-to-day shoes.  Plenty of amateur runners get by just fine with running shoes that also serve as around-the-house, to-the-mall, general-yard-work shoes.  That really isn’t ideal and can put a lot of wear and tear on your running gear.  Since you are getting ready to invest in decent road shoes, consider repurposing the old ones for the everyday stuff, reserving your new ones for actual training.

Good deed shoes.  Just because your running shoes are no longer in race shape, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there who could really get a lot of use out of them.  There are plenty of organizations out there who recycle and repurpose used running shoes, either across the country or across the globe.  Christine Luff from about.com put together this handy round-up of organizations that can help find your old shoes a good home.  Local groups near you might collect shoes, too.

What do you think?  Any other ideas on giving an old pair of running shoes a second life?

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