The next time you’re lifting weights at the gym, playing tennis, running track or shooting hoops, take a closer look at the surface of the floor. You may not realize it, but you could be standing on hundreds of pairs of recycled sneakers. How is this possible? It’s all because of Nike’s socially responsible Reuse-A-Shoe program.
The Reuse-A-Shoe program began in 1990 as part of Nike’s commitment to create innovative and sustainable products. A Nike employee in Oregon named Steve Potter envisioned shredding up old Nike shoes into some type of reusable material. Fellow employee Sherri Bryant came up with the name “Reuse-A-Shoe,” and with the help from Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, the program was set into motion.
Here’s how the process works:
- Shoes are collected at various locations.
- Sorters separate the rubber outsoles, foam midsoles and outer fabric from each shoe.
- The shoes are put into machines and are shredded, creating “Nike Grind.”
There are 3 types of Nike Grind surface material created from the shredded shoes:
- Nike Grind Rubber – Used to make outdoor tracks, gym floor tiles and playground surfaces.
2. Nike Grind Foam – Used to make outdoor basketball and tennis courts.
3. Nike Grind Fiber – Used for indoor basketball and volleyball courts, as well as for floors in community centers.
In addition to surfaces, Nike Grind is also used in various Nike sneakers like the Air Jordan XX3, Nike Pegasus 25 and Steve Nash’s Nike Trash Talk. It’s even used in snaps, buttons and zippers on Nike Apparel.
Since the Reuse-A-Shoe Program began in 1990, over 25 million pairs of sneakers have been captured and recycled into Nike Grind. If you’re interested in donating shoes to the program you can either donate up to 10 pairs of shoes at a nearby drop off location, or you can host a shoe drive.
The Nike Reuse-A-Shoe Program is a great way to reduce waste, create new products and educate people about being being environmentally conscious. Other green initiatives by Nike include creating the 2010 World Cup soccer jerseys from recycled plastic bottles, advocating for climate energy legislation and starting the Converse Reuse-A-Shoe Program.