Recycle Your Shoes

April 5th, 2008 BY Jeremy Taylor | 11 Comments

What exactly to do with that old pair of shoes? If you’re like most people, you probably have a couple of pairs maybe more of old sneakers kicking around the house. And if you’re like most people, you probably can’t figure out quite what to do with them.

When all is said and done, most of these shoe leftovers will probably end up in the trash. But there are alternatives. Put your old shoes on your spring cleaning to-do list, and save them from the inevitable landfill.

Donate your shoes. A wide variety of programs exist to get a pair of sneakers from one person who has outgrown them, grown tired of them, or worn holes in them to another person, who is happy just to have the shoes. Organizations like Up & Running (UK) [], Recycled Runners (Australia) [], or Eco-Cycle (USA) [] will gladly accept your old shoes and pass them on to someone who can use them.

Or, turn them in for parts. The rubber on the soles of your shoes can be broken down and reprocessed into a variety of products, most commonly athletic flooring. Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program, based in Wilsonville, Oregon, grinds down old shoes to use the rubber in synthetic sports fields and playing surfaces, and even in indoor basketball courts. Check out the Reuse-a-Shoe website [] for more information or for pick-up locations.

  1. 1

    [...] not go away it may be time to get rid of your shoes, but don’t throw them away. See if there is a recycling center near by that will take your [...]

  2. Tonia Ettinger

    Do you know where I can recycle “crocs” that are not actually the Crocs brand? SolesUnited only recycles the Crocs brand.

    • Responses to Tonia Ettinger
      Kwan Rong says:
      December 30

      If the soles are just worn out you can actually send them to a cobbler to attach a new rubber sole. I did that to my crocs and they work fine.

      • 4
        Kim Rong says:
        January 4

        dead wrong Kwan Rong.
        cobblers don’t exist any more. I studied history at my school and there’s proof out there, you just have to believe. Lets say, for example, a movie you want to see has an Adult rating. Are you going to sneak in without proof of proper ID? Lets hope not. Would you do that to the environment ?
        A.K. Lancaster, PhD

  3. Kenneth A. Lyon

    I have lots of boots from a store named Hot Topic. I am a musician who play metal and I dont fit in them anymore. Anywhere I could recycle them?

  4. stavy

    Great idea to re use oldshoes.. Another thing you could do, if there are no specific programs in your area, is to donate old footwear in reasonable condition to local charities who can always find someone in need.

    • Responses to stavy
      jelly says:
      June 15

      @ Lyon- Give them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Just drop them off in the back.
      There will be a young poor metalhead somewhere (like myself!) who gets a cheap pair of awesome shoes they probably thought they could never afford.

  5. Kelly

    What do you do with non-athletic shoes that are completely worn out? I don’t want to decorate my house with them

    • Responses to Kelly
      katie says:
      February 5

      That’s what I want to know. I found sites that will take running shoes, but what about my husbands old dress shoes that the sole is coming off? I would even fix them if I knew how. I can’t bare to throw a perfectly good pair of shoes in to the trash, even if the soles are coming off.

  6. Little Gremlin

    RECYCLING ROX MY SOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Jimson

    We have monthly 75 Ton of shoes garbage (brocken shoes), which can be recycled. If you need please contact us immediately.

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