New Ways to Recycle Old Shoes

While we intend to wear flip flops until the snow hits, we’ll probably start alternating them with boots and shoes fairly soon. Fall sales are a good time to shop if you need new footgear, but there’s no excuse for tossing even the scruffiest old shoes in the nearest garbage bin–and then to overtaxed landfills. A sad and unnecessary end!

Happily, there are a number of easy ways to give footwear a new life. If your sports soles have lost their bounce, Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program will take back and recycle any brand of athletic shoe. Just run your shoes over to the nearest Nike store or mail them to Nike’s recycling center in Oregon. Or check out this site for more places to send sneakers out to pasture.

Kids outgrow shoes faster than hermit crabs cast off shells, and often these are lightly worn. And sometimes even older people discover that, ahem, they need a larger size. Donate lightly worn shoes of all sizes to families in need via

If your Crocs have curdled, drop them in the nearest SolesUnited location where they’ll be recycled into new Crocs that are donated to people in need.

If you have a closet full of the fancy stuff like heels, you’ve got options. Lightly used dress shoes can be donated to the Cinderella Project, a non-profit that provides gowns and accessories for prom night to girls in need.

Or, see if any of your friends and relations who wear your size is interested in doing a shoe swap. It’s a great way to get rid of one pair of shoes while cheaply obtaining another.

If those options don’t work, check out Earth 911 for the nearest drop off donation center near you.

Plenty is an environmental media company dedicated to exploring and giving voice to the green revolution that will define the 21st Century. Click here to subscribe to Plenty.

By Jessica A. Knoblauch, Plenty magazine


ii q.
g d c5 years ago


Victor P.
Victor P.6 years ago

Cool! I liked your idea! I didn't knew about recycling of shoes, I only donate my shoes. This sound's great. Shoes for kids

Hege Torset
Hege Torset6 years ago


iii q.
g d c6 years ago

Good tips!

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers6 years ago

Good ideas!

Elizabeth P.
.6 years ago

recycling some points for the animals ...

John S.
Past Member 6 years ago

I've resoled my mephisto 3 times, my last pair I had 8 years. And they don't look like trainers.

Matilda L.
Matilda Lici7 years ago

Is there a way to recycle used/ruined shoes that are not the athletic kinds?

TECH DOT COM8 years ago


TECH DOT COM8 years ago

interesting info