As a child in Guatemala, Edgar Hernandez was used to using items over and over. Throwing materials away was not an option for his family to survive. After he was granted asylum in the U.S., he developed the idea of helping his relatives and friends by providing them with shoes that had been discarded by runners in the U.S.
RUNNERS CONTRIBUTE TO RECYCLING RUNNING SHOES
Runners know that their shoes must be in top condition to avoid foot problems that may occur during a race. They often buy new running shoes after only a few races and keep the older pair in the closet for future use. This use hardly ever comes and they are now faced with discarding them. Runners may bring them to participating retailers to be recycled.
WHAT MISSION ATLETICA DOES
Mission Atletica was formed to allow runners to donate their shoes to a great cause, provide shoes to youth in Guatemala, and possibly allowing contributors to receive an IRS charitable deduction. Mission Atletica is committed to improving the lives of youth and to keeping running shoes out of the landfill stream.
RETAILERS COOPERATE IN RECYCLING
Several running shoe retailers have agreed to be drop off points for Mission Atletica. Since the retailers recognize the value of recycling running shoes to the community, they provide a place to collect running shoes for Mission Atletica.
WHAT HAPPENS TO USABLE RUNNING SHOES
Mission Atletica periodically picks up all shoes left at the retailer, including shoes that rarely used and the most decrepit. Size and brand are not factors. At the Mission Atletica warehouse, employees sort the running shoes by size and condition. The population of Guatemalans is much smaller and shorter than the general population in the U.S. Smaller sizes of usable running shoes are shipped to micro enterprises in several cities in Guatemala. Larger sizes, not appropriate for Guatemalans, are brought to Goodwill Industries, where Goodwill resells these larger running shoes to their customers.
NO SHOES COLLECTED BY MISSION ATLETICA ARE SENT TO LANDFILLS
Mission Atletica recognizes its obligation to the environment. In doing so, Mission Atletica has made arrangements with Nike, Inc. to deliver to them all the unusable shoes that Mission Atletica collects. Nike says on its web site
“Nike Reuse-a-Shoe takes worn out athletic shoes and grinds them down to create a new material called Nike Grind, which is used to make high-quality sports surfaces including courts, turf fields, tracks and more.”
For more information about the Nike recycle program please go to
CAN RUNNERS HELP MISSION ATLETICA?
When one shops for new running shoes, please ask what the retailer does with the shoes that are left behind. If they participate with the Mission Atletica program, please thank them for the retailer’s community service. If they do not yet participate, please ask them to contact Mission Atletica.
 IRS regulations vary with the individual return. Mission Atletica is not providing tax advice.