Sneakerheads, rejoice — your sneaker habit is about to get a lot more affordable.
SneakerCycle is a new ecommerce site being billed as the first and only online thrift store completely dedicated to sneakers. It offers more than 33,000 pairs of gently-used and refurbished sneakers from brands like Nike, Asics, HOKA, Reebok, Vans, Adidas, Converse, New Balance, and more.
Most of the sneakers are less than $100 with an average price of $45. And each sneaker is individually photographed with at least eight photos to help customers inspect and evaluate the sneakers. The company also offers free shipping and free returns.
If you’re grossed out by wearing “pre-loved” sneakers, never fear. SneakerCycle’s restoration team cleans and disinfects the sneakers using a high-grade disinfectant formula that is “EPA-registered to kill as many as 64 micro-organisms that eliminates odors and kills bacteria, viruses, fungi, mold and 99.9% of germs.”
(The Cool Down may receive a commission on sign-ups made through links on this page at no cost to you.)
SneakerCycle is the brainchild of Steven Salstein, a die-hard sneakerhead and the co-founder and president of GotSneakers, a sneaker recycling program that will actually pay you to send in your old sneakers.
As he told The Cool Down, “I wear sneakers unless I’m going to a black-tie wedding.”
Salstein is a fourth-generation family business owner. His great-great-grandfather was an OG circular economy pioneer, working as a tailor who sold extra clothing remnants to create new products. So it was in Salstein’s DNA to extend the life cycle of apparel — and now he’s built a business around giving sneakers a new life through recycling, restoration, and reuse.
Along with his elementary school friend Eric Mesa, Salstein launched GotSneakers to get unwanted footwear from consumers into the hands of the hundreds of millions of people around the world who need them, all while keeping sneakers out of landfills. (Read more about our experience trying the service here.) Each check the company sends to donors also comes with a sustainability report reinforcing the environmental impact of the program.
“To see a pair of sneakers go in the trash is blasphemous,” Salstein told The Cool Down.
Building on the success of GotSneakers and wanting to make brand-name sneakers more accessible, Salstein and Mesa saw an opportunity for a direct-to-consumer pre-loved sneaker brand with companies like ThredUp as inspiration. In addition to offering a service that would meet the needs of people pinched by inflation and rising prices, they were passionately committed to reducing waste.
“We made a decision that sustainability was going to be at the forefront and would be the most important part of this business,” said Salstein. “We want to be a leader in the salvage sustainability business.”
The SneakerCycle inventory is a mixture of sneakers from the “CleanOut” and recycling service offered through GotSneakers, as well as those from any individual or organization who wants to keep footwear out of landfills. SneakerCycle also receives surplus and returns from retailers and brands looking for innovative recycling and resale solutions — and many of these shoes are in excellent condition.
Salstein and Mesa are hoping SneakerCycle is a win-win for its customers and our planet.
As the company’s website says, “When you purchase a pair of used sneakers, you’re extending the life of a sneaker that might have otherwise ended up in a landfill, and helping reduce the need for brands to manufacture new sneakers which helps decrease emissions and preserves water.”
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