Nike Wants You to Return Your Old Sneakers so They Can Turn Them Into Something Amazing


An impulse sneaker purchase leaves you grappling with one of three options: You either rock your overtly bright shoes without a care, leave them to gather dust in your closet, or go on to donate them to a charity shop.

But what if you had another option? One that took your barely-worn sneakers and refreshed them to the point of sale again, by which you could essentially sell back your kicks and line your pocket with a little cash to, I don’t know, buy another pair of sneakers?

Well great news, because Nike has launched a new program doing just that. ‘Nike Refurbished’ is a new initiative from the sportswear leader, which invites customers to return a pair of shoes to the store before Nike tidies them up and returns them for sale at a reduced price.

It works like so. Shoppers bring in a pair of shoes within a 60-day window that fits into one of three grades: Like New (perfect of near-perfect condition with no signs of wear), Gently Worn (visible light wear in great condition), and Cosmetically Flawed (no signs of wear but imperfect due to a stain, tear, or fading).

Each pair is then inspected, sanitised and refurbished by hand, and then given a condition grade. The Nike team will do whatever they can to resurrect the shoes to a near-new condition. The shoes then return to store and are priced based on type and condition grade, but will be listed for less than the original RRP.

Not only does the initiative give new life to a pair of sneakers, but it presents an opportunity for customers to shop like-new sneakers at a discounted rate.

For the sneakers that don’t quite make the cut — as in, they’re damaged beyond the Nike Refurbished qualifications — can be given a second life too. Worn shoes can be donated to Nike’s community partner, while shoes at the end of their life (falling apart) can be recycled into Nike Grind.

It’s a fine manufacturing scrap product including rubber, fiber, leather and textiles that Nike is able to compress into turf and sports fields or transform to become the Crater Foam sole of Nike’s more sustainable sneakers.

The Nike Refurbished program is rolling out now at selected stores across the US, with big plans to expand. We can only hope it’s deemed a huge success so the initiative is expanded globally to hit Australia.


Nike’s Move to Zero journey, which sets the label up for a zero-carbon and zero-waste future with the hopes it will help protect the future of sport against climate change, includes a number of commendable initiatives.

In addition to producing new product ranges that celebrate recycled materials, Nike will also power its facilities with 100% renewable energy by 2025, reduce its carbon emissions globally by 30% by 2030, and recycle one billion plastic bottles annually to create jerseys and uppers for Flyknit shoes.

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