Meet Moe Hachem, founder of Sneaker Impact, a sneaker-specific social enterprise designed to educate the public on the environmental and economic benefits of upcycling used sneakers—and to support microbusinesses worldwide. And before getting into further specifics, Sneaker Impact is not a charity or nonprofit organization. But that doesn’t mean there is plenty of used sneakers to go around.
“The fact remains that 300 to 400 million pairs of footwear end up in landfills each year,” Hachem says, noting that it can take up to 40 years for a single pair of sneakers to decompose. “Therefore, we consider our only competitor to be landfills. We never want to compete with charities and, in fact, always encourage individuals, retailers and wholesalers to donate to their local nonprofit organizations.” (Sneaker Impact donates $1 from each pair of upcycled sneakers to charity.)
Proof of the abundance of used sneakers to go around: Sneaker Impact, founded in 2020, now collects on average about 100,000 pairs each month. “Our headquarters in Miami receives shipments of thousands of sneakers every day, which are sorted and then sold at a fraction of their cost to microbusiness owners in developing countries,” Hachem explains. “The merchants then refurbish the sneakers and resell them within their communities. This stimulates the economy and creates job opportunities in countries including Haiti, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Bolivia, Chile, Ghana, Thailand, Peru and Nicaragua.”
Interested retailers and wholesalers can visit sneakerimpact.com to begin the donating process. “We make it as easy as possible,” Hachem says. “We ship Sneaker Impact drop bins at no charge to begin collecting sneakers in their stores or offices. Each bin also comes with a prepaid return label so they can simply schedule a pick up or drop it off at their nearest FedEx.”
While Sneaker Impact’s main focus is on upcycling, its core mission is to promote sustainability via reducing, reusing and recycling. “We recognize the increasing threat of climate change, and see it manifesting in many ways across the globe,” Hachem says. “It’s our moral obligation and social responsibility to be part of the solution, not the problem.”
On that note, Hachem says Sneaker Impact will continue spreading its message to get more sneakers upcycled. “Ultimately, we want to have Sneaker Impact drop bins located throughout the country in gyms, groceries stores and more,” he says, noting that upwards of 87 percent of Americans don’t recycle their sneakers. “This is largely due to a lack of education and preconceived notions that it’s not easy to recycle sneakers. We want people to know how easy and impactful it can be to drop used sneakers in our bins, rather than adding to the ever-growing landfills across our country.”