About once every year or two I come to the point where I have to part with the shoes I've bonded with over my day in day out walks to work, the market, around the block yada yada. Trust me I wear my shoes to the max (i've even used wet suit repair materials to patch holes from the rather large bunyon on my feet to get an extra few months). I'm not talking about shoes I'm parting with as a fashionista - these are shoes that can't be re-used.
In the basic sneaker, there are several layers and materials:
- leather or mesh upper body
- cotton laces
- soles: usually some combination of rubber, polyurethane, thermoplastic rubber.
The composite nature of shoes doesn't make their sustainable disposal easy. Moreover, leather and cotton can't be thrown in a recycle, and I'm not sure which of the above rubber materials are recyclable.
Two possible ways to break down this question.
- It seems unlikely, but do any vendors take shoes and reuse the material in new shoes or otherwise?
- what are the best ways to dispose the main shoe materials mentioned above?
Additionally, if anyone recommends a manufacturer that make shoes designed to be sustainably disposed, I'd be interested. However, nothing that will aggravate knee or foot pain. I'm mostly interested in how to dispose your everyday Nike, Pumas, etc