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How To Recycle Old Tennis Shoes

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Why Should I Recycle My Shoes

Dayna’s Green Dallas: Athletic Shoe Recycling

Whether its a hole in the toe or a sole thats starting to flap, every shoe will age over time. While its tempting to just throw them in the bin and replace them, there are better options.

Recycling shoes offers a number of benefits over throwing them in the bin. With very little effort, recycling your shoes can:

  • Reducing landfill waste
  • Provide footwear for those who have none
  • Breathe new life into something that is no longer needed
  • Support the worlds developing nations

Not only that, when you recycle an old pair of shoes, they can often be used again. In many cases, a pair of shoes you no longer need can be repaired. You can also help out by donating old shoes to those in need. This means providing a pair of shoes to someone in a third-world country who would otherwise be going without. What better way to put something you no longer need to good use.

What Types Of Shoes Can Be Recycled

Generally, you can recycle any type of shoe. However, what you can and cannot recycle will be dependent on each service for recycling.

For example, Nike and similar programs only recycle athletic sneakers. Some brands may just recycle their own specific brand of shoes. Other programs, such as with TerraCycle, give more leeway in the type of shoes that can be recycled.

After knowing the types of shoes that can be recycled, you need to factor in the conditions of the product. Programs aiming to truly recycle the shoes will take them in any condition. Donation stations, on the other hand, will only accept gently used shoes that can be reused by someone else.

When Should You Throw Away A Pair Of Shoes

Ok so, your shoes are completely destroyed and you’ve had them for so long that they look like mummies of their former selves… What can you do? If neither donating, recycling nor upcycle is an option, then I’m afraid it may be time to throw away those old shoes.

However, the only instance in which you should throw them away is if they are rotten inside with a foul smell if they have irreparable damage because your dog thought it was a chew toy, or something similar. In most cases, you can always save an old shoe from ending up in a landfill, but if it meets those conditions, it’s a dead giveaway to throw in the towel.

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Give Any Clothing To The North Face X Soles4souls Program

The North Face has partnered with Soles4Souls to accept clothing donations from any brand. Soles4Souls will then take the clothing that you no longer use and repurposes and redistributes the items. As incentive, The North Face offers $10 off your next purchase of $100 or more with every in-store donation.

What Are Shoes Made From

How to Recycle or Donate Your Old Tennis Shoes

Shoes are made from a lot of different types of materials, including many types of plastics. They mainly use:

  • leather
  • natural fibers like cotton and wool
  • synthetic textiles like polyester and nylon
  • rubber
  • foam plastics

There are two main parts of a shoe, the upper and the sole. The upper is the top of the shoe that holds your foot. Its usually made from fabric or leather but can also be a mix of materials. E.g., athletic runners typically have many different parts and types of materials for the uppers of their shoes.

The sole is the bottom of the shoe. Its often made from rubber or plastics like polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride . The sole of a shoe can also be complex, with different plastics and rubber used in shoes like sneakers.

There is a lot more to a shoe than this simple overview, so if you want to find out more, head over to The Anatomy of an Athletic Shoe.

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What Else Can You Do

One of the best things you can do is look after what you already own. Look after the shoes and sneakers you already have and make them last as long as possible. This also helps reduce the overall output in the world.

There are many ways you can make sure your old running shoes or boots get as much life as possible, including:

  • Clean them regularly. Its good to keep the dirt off them to keep them looking good. Dirt and grime can also degrade the materials if left.
  • If you have leather, use a soft brush to remove dirt and grime, and regularly use a leather moisturizer.
  • If the stitching is coming loose, resew it or take it to a repair shop. They can even fix the sole if it needs gluing.
  • One lesson I learned with my last pair of sneakers is to take the time to undo the laces when you are putting them on or taking them off. I was a bit lazy and would just pull my shoes off. Now, unfortunately, the back is damaged.
  • If your shoes are not as comfortable, why not use an insole? You can even buy recycled insoles from OrthoLite®. You should be able to get them through many sports stores or chemists.

There are many other ways you can spruce up an old pair of shoes. You can paint them with fabric paint, dye them, sew patches on them, or even get a new sole put on them. Whichever way you do it, try and give your favorite shoes the longest life you can by looking after them.

Where To Get Rid Of Sneakers And Athletic Shoes Besides The Trash

As you see, many creative ways exist to recycle running shoes and get rid of your old sneakers without throwing them out.

  • Find a resale shop that will buy your old sneakers. Most stores will pay you in cash, trade you for other shoes, or give you store credit.
  • Trade them in for other running shoes at a store by using their trade-in receipt to get a new pair of shoes.
  • Sell your worn-out running shoes on Craigslist, eBay, or at a consignment shop.
  • Give your old sneakers to a free sneaker recycling program for a good cause with a trusted national leader.
  • Turn them into art! For example, use paint or spray paint to create something unique and creative with your old sneakers.
  • Give them to Goodwill or another thrift store where might recycle them.
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    Look Up Other Textile Recycling Programs Near You

    There are so many more textile recycling programs out there than you’d think. To find them, you just need to do a little bit of research. Terracycle offers a Fabrics and Clothing Zero Waste Box that you can fill with clothing and fabric, then ship to Terracycle so they can repurpose it. Have old bras you don’t know what to do with? The Bra Recyclers takes old bras at drop-off stations or you can even mail them in to be repurposed or recycled. Soles 4 Souls is a national shoe recycling program for your old shoes. Nike also has a Reuse-A-Shoe program where they take old athletic shoes, grind them up, and use them to create courts, fields, tracks, and playgrounds.

    How To Recycle Tennis Shoes

    Old Shoes Find New Use

    We have all become extremely aware of the environment and recycling. Sustainability is the word on everyones lips, but do you really know how to be sustainable?

    Tennis Shoes & Landfills

    Yes, you may know to buy your fruit and vegetable without plastic, to take your own carry bags to the supermarket, and to turn your leftovers into compost, but do you know what to do with your old clotting and shoes? More specifically, with tennis shoes?

    You do not want tennis shoes to land in a rubbish dump or landfill. They take decades to decompose or they never decompose properly.

    Most tennis shoes are made out of a variety of fabrics, including leather and cotton, often PVC and EVA, and they can literally take forever to decompose.

    There are already more shoes than anybody knows what to do with. We have learned that over 24 billion pair of shoes are manufactured, every single year. The worlds population is 7.8 billion.

    That is 3 pairs of shoes, per person, but consider that many of these billions of people dont have access to any shoes, or only, old and threadbare shoes, it means that the average person has a lot of shoes, too many for their needs, and MANY get dumped rather than given away.

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    Where To Donate Running Shoes

    Running shoes are not often a great item to donate to a second hand store. They are not an item that people will generally want to reuse.

    However, if your shoes arent totally worn out, you have some more options for donation beyond a local thrift store. Maybe your shoes didnt quite fit right or the kids outgrew them quickly. Shoes like that are perfect to give to someone who really needs them, and there are a few organizations that do just that.

    • Soles4Souls works to give impoverished people shoes so they can go to school, work and stay healthy. They even organize work trips for individuals and groups to give out the shoes.
    • One World Running provides shoes specifically to runners in need. The Boulder-based nonprofit was started after sports journalist Mike Sandrock visited West Africa and was inspired to do good and make change.

    Other Ways To Recycle Shoes

    While the concept of recycling comes down to making something new from an older product, the term “recycled” is tossed around liberally these days. For example, not every place that says it recycles shoes is necessarily making a new product. Instead, they might be reclaiming the shoe itself and putting it back into the economy to be reused.

    If your shoes aren’t completely worn out, here are some additional options for you.

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    What Becomes Of Recycled Shoes

    You want to do your part for the environment by donating your sneakers. You cant help but be curious then about what happens to your shoes after you drop them off in a recycling bin.

    The answer is: many things! Listen, my friend, youve already done the right thing by recycling. Now you can see the fruits of your labor, so to speak.

    When Nike receives worn-down sneakers, they toss the footwear into a grinding machine. There, the shoes break down into fibers that can be reused to furnish athletic fields.

    ASICS will take old clothes and shoes and repurpose them into other clothing, toy stuffing, carpet padding, and insulation fibers.

    This New Atlas article outlines the fate of other recycled shoes. First, they get their eyelets and other metal parts taken out. Then, like with Nike, the shoes go through a shredder and a granulator.

    Next, the resulting fragments go one of three places: vibrating tables, zigzag separation, or cyclonic separation. The vibrating table separates fragments by size using vibrations. Zigzag separation involves using several sloping platforms and air gusts to divide heavier fragments from lighter ones. Finally, cyclonic separation uses a cylindrical chamber with a vortex to separate fragments by weight.

    Fragments will next be organized into rubber, foam, or leather categories. If its rubber, your old shoes can become new shoe soles or even playground surfacing material. Foam is reused as carpet underlays while leather goes into bonded leather.

    Using A Shoe Recycling Program

    How To Recycle Your Old Tennis Shoes
  • 1Find a shoe recycling program near you. Some shoe manufacturers have set up programs to take your old, unwanted sneakers and repurpose the materials.XResearch source
  • Find the brand name of your shoes. Look it up on Google or call the manufacturer to find out if that company runs a shoe recycling program.
  • If your brand doesnt run its own recycling program, look for programs that accept shoes made by any company. For example, you can return any athletic shoes to Nikes Reuse-a-Shoe program, whether or not the shoes were made by Nike.
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    Take The Shoes To Pieces And Re

    If the soles are good, you can take them out and use them for another pair of shoes. If the laces are great but the shoes are not, keep the laces. Whichever parts of the shoes you are not going to use, find a recycling bin and not the trash. If you put your shoes in the trash, they are going to stay in a landfill for years and years.

    Can You Recycle Shoes 4 Climate

    Sneaker drop offs, upcycling, and more: How to green your next Spring Clean.

    Do some good for the Earth and your community the next time you clean out your closet.

    There are four excellent ways to recycle your old shoes for the better:

  • Resell
  • Here is how to do it â no matter where you are.

    How to resell old shoes:

    That pair of shoes in the back of your closet that you never actually wear deserve a new, better life.

    Whether you bought them on a whim and then realized they are not your style, or if they never quite fit right, someone out there might appreciate them enough to pay for them.

    Thrift stores and consignment shops assess clothes and shoes brought in for resale, offering the seller a price to take the items off their hands. To get started, look up your nearest thrift store on for stores near you. If you like near a Buffalo Exchange, which has stores throughout the United States, it could also be a good option.

    If you do not have a store near you that buys back old shoes, you can also try selling them online.

    Websites like ThredUP, Poshmark, or ,the OG, eBay act like marketplaces for buying and selling used clothes, shoes, jewelry, and home goods. Some sellers will even offer trades â one pair of used kicks for another. Who doesnât love a good digital barter?

    How to donate old shoes:

    If your sneakers are not in good-enough shape to resell, then donate them to your nearest shelter or non-profit store.

    How to recycle old shoes:

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    Here Are 6 Brands That Will Recycle Your Kicks

    Currently, 85 percent of textiles are not recycled, with the average person throwing away 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles annually.

    In general, recycling shoes is a complex process and depending on the materials in the shoe it might not be possible. Footwear is difficult to recycle because most shoes are made using multiple, mixed materials which are often stitched or glued together, says Shaye DiPasquale a publicist for the recycler TerraCycle.

    There is not a lot of physical recycling of footwear that goes on, says Eric Stubin, president of Trans-Americas Textile Recycling. The majority of recycled shoes and clothes are shipped places to be reused. Stubins company processes about 10 million pounds of post-consumer textile waste from clothing, shoes, and accessories every year.

    In general, when clothing is recycled it tends to go to one of these four different end destinations:

  • Reused and repurposed as secondhand clothing
  • Recycled and converted into items like reclaimed wiping rags for industrial and residential use
  • Recycled into post-consumer fiber for home insulation, carpet padding, and raw material for the automotive industry
  • Landfills
  • Because of the concept, On was awarded the 2021 ISPO Product of the Year as well as a Sustainability Achievement award.

    When It Comes To Disposing Of Your Old Shoes Get Creative

    Nike Grind: Re-Use-A-Shoe

    Your shoes are like an old friend. You know, the ones that you can always rely on to be there for you no matter what happens. But shoes don’t last forever, and you don’t want to wear shoes that are falling apart. So, what do you do?

    In the old days, old shoes were often thrown out with the trash. But things have changed nowadays, shoe waste’s negative footprint on the environment can’t be ignored and many people are finding new ways to dispose of shoes in a responsible manner.

    the environment, and although we cannot change the mindset of each and every person in the world, we can change our own. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, being environmentally responsible does not necessarily imply laborious and difficult tasks, but rather fun and creativity. I mean, c’mon, upcycling is awesome! No wonder it’s the favourite alternative of many eco journalists when it comes to giving a new life to old items myself included!

    P.S: Education is also a powerful tool in navigating change, so share this post with that friend who refuses to let go of those shoes that are on their last legs! Who knows, maybe the next time you go to their house you’ll see their old Chelsea boots turned into a cute vase.

    And keep in mind, shoes are not the only thing we can dispose of responsibly. You’ve got to think about ways to get rid of your old socks, that old pair of jeans and even your old pillows!

    What do you do with your old shoes?

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    How Often Should You Replace Everyday Shoes

    The answer to this question lies in your shoes. Different shoes have different lifespans, so it depends on the model and material of your shoes as well as how often you wear them.

    Some people say that shoes have to be replaced every 500 to 600 kilometres, even though they may not seem to be worn out. However, I’m not so sure about that. A typical pair of leather dress shoes will last about five years if properly maintained. Shoes with rubber soles usually last around three years. And if shoes are kept in a dry location and fixed before they become “uncomfortable or painful,” then shoes can last up to ten years.

    The most important element of a good shoe is stability, and if your shoes no longer provide stability nor comfort, you may even injure yourself. So long story short, the general rule of thumb is that if your shoes start causing any pain or discomfort before you’ve had them for one year or if you fixed them and they start causing pain again, it’s probably time to replace them.

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