I find it impossible to dispose of my old running shoes. Each pair carries so many good memories for me: my first marathon, my favorite 10k, the pair I trained with when I met my husband. I know that there are some companies who weave quilts and banners out of old race T-shirts, is there a way that I can memorialize my old running shoes in the same way? - Seeking Sneaker Shrine
If you're like me, you spend about one hundreds and twenty dollars every three hundred miles to replace what may appear to be a pair of perfectly good running shoes. Worn treads, shredded laces, and scuffed sides are all signs of an overused pair of footwear. Most shoes become unusable after about five hundreds miles of use.
Most runners tend to delegate their old running shoes to the sub-culture of "walking shoes". I wear mine around the office to accent my "business casual" look, much to the chagrin of my fellow corporate "suit, tie and loafer" co-workers.
In later stages of the running shoe lifecycle, it's common to find them demoted for wear during lawn work, painting, washing the car, and resurfacing ones driveway.
I've heard of alternate uses when shoes are degraded past the point of casual wear. Some use them as decorative pots for plants. Others seem inclined to tie the laces together and wrap them around power lines between telephone polls.
Although I'd highly recommend against weaving your used and dilapidated shoes into some sort of "memorial quilt", there may be some decorative alternatives for enshrining your shoes, recapturing all the joyous memories that came with each painstaking mile shared with them - but I can't think of any.
While I understand your emotional attachment with these inanimate and by now slightly malodorous footwear, perhaps you might consider the reintegration of these things back into the environment making them both a lasting memorial to your running life and adding additional years to their longevity as useful byproducts for alternate uses. Check our Shoes recycling programs directory.
Lastly, if none of these solutions suit your fancy, you might consider saving your shoes for the next wedding celebration you are invited to.
The custom of throwing old shoes after the bride and groom en route to their honeymoon, or in tying them to the bumper of their car, is based on the ancient practice of "carrying off a bride".
The "old shoes" are meant to show that she didn't go off without a fight, and kicked them off her feet during the "struggle". In such a ceremony, the old shoes are also meant to represent the transfer of authority over her from her father to her husband. In either case, these customs are symbols of "good luck" to the happy couple, and your old pair of running shoes might best be used symbolically, especially if either or both of the married pair are runners!