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Nike's reuse-a-shoe programe

Back in 1993 Nike set out to identify an alternative end of life for the trainers that they sell, the answer was the Reuse-A-Shoe program.

"Aspiring toward our long-term goals of waste elimination and increasing physical activity in youth around the world led us to focus on one of the achievable ways to close the loop on a product's lifecycle. That is, rather than throwing away old products, we want to use them to make new products — in this case, sports and play surfaces to help kids get active.

How It All Began
Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program was born in 1993, when we began collecting both post-consumer, non-metal-containing athletic shoes of any brand, and Nike shoes that are returned due to a material or workmanship flaw (defectives). That footwear is separated into three main materials – upper fabric, midsole foam and outsole rubber – and then ground up. We have successfully found constructive uses for all of the materials from post-consumer and defective athletic shoes that we have processed. In addition, we use recycled materials from the manufacturing of Nike brand footwear processed by recycling centers in contract factories located in China, Indonesia and Vietnam.

How We Gather Up Those Shoes

As we expand Reuse-A-Shoe around the world, with programs in the U.K., Australia and Japan, collection efforts will continue to grow, gathering many, many more shoes that will ultimately become places for kids to play and get fit.

What We Do With Them
The result of our grinding process is what’s called Nike Grind material – three distinct types of material, each of which is used in a different way to make new sports surfaces, like soccer and football fields, basketball and tennis courts, tracks and playground surfacing.

  • Nike Grind Rubber, from outsoles and recycled manufacturing material, goes into baseball and soccer fields, as well as golf products, weight room flooring and running tracks. 
  • Nike Grind Foam, from midsoles, is used in synthetic basketball courts, tennis courts and playground surfacing. 
  • Nike Grind Upper Fabric, from textile and leather uppers is used for padding under hardwood basketball floors.  

Turning Old Shoes Into New Places to Get Kids GO-ing!

Reuse-A-Shoe is an integral part of NikeGO, Nike’s long-term commitment to promote healthier lifestyles for kids through physical activity. Since the Reuse-A-Shoe program began in 1993, Nike has helped donate more than 170 sport surfaces, called NikeGO Places, to communities around the world. The surfaces use Nike Grind material as a component of the total surface composition, representing an approximate number of recycled shoes in each surface. Kids win because many of these sports surfaces are donated in communities where they wouldn't otherwise have access to high-performance sports surfaces. It’s also a win for the environment, as thousands of pairs of athletic shoe material are diverted from landfills."

Source:;bsessionid=SKGM0EG0ZLXPECQFTC2CF5AKAWMLSIZB?page=27&cat=reuseashoe&subcat=global, April 2005

[awaiting confirmation of permission to use images, July 2007]