Why Donating Your Shoes Is The Best Option
I know how shoes can pile up in the back of your closet. Whether youve outgrown them, theyre overworn, or you need to downsize because of lack of closet space, donating your shoes is the best option out there. Heres why.
If you think your shoes are worn out, it doesn’t necessarily mean theyre worn out for everyone else.
Unless they have holes, extreme dirt that cant be washed, or tears, your old kicks can still be of use to someone else.
The fact is, good shoes are expensive, and not everyone can afford them regularly. For a person worrying about the coming winter with only a pair of boots several seasons old, your discarded boots might make all the difference.
Ask yourself, how many of your shoes are truly worn out? Im sure theres at least one pair of old shoes in your closet which you dont wear anymore because you’ve got a new one that works better with your outfits.
So, why not donate?
Most charities only sell 25% of what we donate and export the rest to developing countries. This means by donating, youll be helping third-world countries develop their markets for worn footwear. These countries have whole systems in place for repairing “pre-loved” footwear.
For example, Guatemala has a sneaker-cleaning plant, while Pakistan resoles mens dress shoes in recycling facilities.
An average American buys a new pair of shoes every seven weeks, which amounts to more than seven pairs a year!
How To Recycle Your Old Running Shoes
Running shoes tend to have a shorter life span than other shoes you wear day to day. They get beat up, get soaked in sweat and their cushioning often wears out before the upper is toast.
That means running shoes dont last as long as wed all like them to. There are ways to extend the life of your running shoes, but they will eventually wear out no matter how well you take care of them.
So what do you do with your trusty kicks once theyre worn out? Heres how you can recycle your running shoes.
How To Recycle Your Old Shoes
Lets start with some immediate options.
So, what to do with your old shoes? There are two main options available:
If you plan to donate them to a local charity, be sure to check the condition. Most charity stores only want gently loved items so others can reuse them.
If your old shoes or sneakers have holes in the sole, no tread left, or have seen better days, definitely consider one of the other recycling options. Otherwise, they might end up in a landfill.
When donating your shoes, be sure and check they are clean. Tie both shoes together, so they dont get separated. After all theres no point in donating, only to have them get separated on the way to their new home.
Recommended Reading: How Much Is It To Ship Shoes Usps
How To Recycle Your Shoes With Dsw
Spoiler alert: This isnt a Wikihow page.
It doesnt need to be. The process was actually unbelievably simple.
The online description isnt terribly clear in terms of what kinds of shoes they accept, so I stuck with something that I know is typically recycled: gym shoes. The added benefit of being the shoe snob that I was is that I really have my pick of shoe types to donate. For good measure, I grabbed a pair of my husbands shoes as well.
I put them in a bag and left them in my car until we were headed out somewhere near a DSW.
Thats another big decluttering lesson Im learning: guard your time and guard your money. Decluttering doesnt have to be time consuming or expensive. We were out visiting friends last weekend, and we knew we were going to run a few errands. Happily, a DSW was right across the street from where we were headed.
I cant tell you the last time I was in a DSW. I didnt really know what to expect, but I did know that their online blurb about the shoe recycling program does say that a friendly associate would help. So I tugged open the door and set out to find said associate.
Instead, I noticed the donation bin. It was right next to the door.
I could have very easily tossed in the two pairs of shoes, done an about-face, and went on my merry way.
But in the spirit of adventure for fear of having nothing else to write about on my blog, I decided to go the full mile.
The Future Of Footwear
Luckily, the shoe industry is working on new ways to help curb this cycle of waste and make it simpler to part with shoes without all the guilt. From upstarts like Veja and Everlane to industry stalwarts like Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Converse and Saucony, more footwear companies are moving towards non-toxic, biodegradable and recycled components. It’s also easier than ever to give a pair of shoes a second life by listing them on resale platforms like TheRealReal, Depop and ThredUp or on sneaker trading platforms like Sole Supremacy, StockX and Fight Club.
At the end of the day, there’s no magic bullet solution to getting rid of old shoes. Like everything else to do with sustainability, it’s complicated and requires tradeoffs. And even recycling innovations can’t replace the time-tested advice to buy the best quality shoes you can afford and to care for each pair as long as possible. Once you’re past that point? It’s worth remembering that old shoes also make great flower pots.
Please note: Occasionally, we use affiliate links on our site. This in no way affects our editorial decision-making.
Read Also: How To Clean Hey Dudes Shoes
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.
Why Are We Doing This
We believe that fashion is art lived daily, uniquely expressing one’s style but more and more, valuable pieces are kept hidden and forgotten in closets. We want consumers to see fashion’s long-lasting value, shift towards a circular supply chain, divert shoes and clothing from landfills, and reuse or recycle.
The lifespan of a shoe continues after the wearer has decided its useful life is over. It’s important to factor this in as the likely destination of used shoes is a landfill site. Only a tiny portion of shoes follow the alternative routes of reuse and recycling. Even then, the ultimate endpoint is still landfill – it is just postponed .
There’s a long list of materials within any pair of shoes: Footwear is tough to recycle. One shoe can contain up to 40 different types of material, many of which are stitched or glued together, making it difficult to separate all the materials for recycling.
We still have a lot to learn, and we believe that pan-industry initiatives and partnerships are a great way to move forward.
Also Check: Most Comfortable Heels For Flat Feet
When In Doubt Donate
The simplest advice is to donate used shoes.
“Worn out to you doesn’t necessarily mean worn out to someone else,” says Tiffany Fuller, a deputy director of Reuse, Special Waste and Apartment Programs at the New York City Department of Sanitation.
In fact, according to the American Apparel and Footwear Association, we buy more than seven pairs of shoe per year, the equivalent of one new pair every seven weeks. Purchasing at this clip means that most of our shoes never truly get the chance to wear out. And reusing is better for the environment than recycling.
“Some of them get washed and cleaned and, if need be, the heel is replaced,” explains Steven Bethell, founder of Bank & Vogue, a global used clothing broker. In Guatemala, there’s a sneaker cleaning plant, says Bethell, while in Pakistan men’s dress shoes get resoled in large recycling facilities. If you’re wondering if your shoes are fit to be reworn, Bethell’s advice echoes Fuller’s: “When in doubt, donate.”
There’s one major caveat with donating: Not all footwear will find a new home and developing countries are filled to the brim with our old stuff.
“There is greater supply than there is demand,” says Liz Ricketts, co-founder of the OR Foundation, a non-profit that researches the secondhand industry in Ghana. In Ghana, she says, as much as 40% of clothing imported from the West is directly landfilled or burned. She suspects the percentage is even higher with footwear.
How Our Shoe Drive Works
The process for donating shoes is simple. Just navigate to Outsides campaign page hosted on the Soles4Souls website and follow three steps:
To print out the Zappos label, youll need to sign in with your Zappos account, or with an Amazon or Gmail account if you prefer.
Shoes can be of any kind, other than highly technical footwear like cycling shoes or ski boots. Donors can ship up to 50 pounds of shoes per box, with no limit on the number of boxes sent. Get a bunch of your tri buddies together and pack up a box of your old shoes.
Recommended Reading: How Many Miles Change Running Shoes
Can You Put Shoes In The Recycling Bin
Dropping your shoes in the recycle bin is only a good idea if you have double-checked two things. One, that the shoes were manufactured from a single material, and two, that your local recycling facility accepts them.
If your shoes are made from only a single recyclable plastic or a natural material like cotton, hemp or wool, you’re good to go. This takes the messy mix of multiple materials out of the equation and makes it more likely that your local recycling facility will accept them. However, I’ll say it again: verify if they will accept them! Give them a call or stop by their headquarters, check all boxes before you put them in your recycling bin.
How To Dispose Of Old Shoes 5 Easy Ways
Youve got a ratty pair of sneakers that have been sitting at the back of your closet for years.
You keep telling yourself youll get rid of them, but every time you take them out and hold them above the trash bin, you start to wonder if you really are just supposed to throw them out.
Is there a better solution, a better way to get rid of shoes?
As it turns out, there are many better ways. Heres how to dispose of old shoes the right way.
Don’t Miss: Womens Dress Shoes For Bad Feet
Icipate In Brand Sneaker Recycling
Did you know that Nike has a recycling program for its sneakers? So far, its one of the few athletic shoe recycling efforts by brands, but more should be on the way. As we know, Corporate America and the apparel industry are waking up to the reality that they have to become sustainable!
If you happen to have Nike sneakers, then consider recycling old sneakers through their Reuse-A-Shoe Program. Essentially, you return the old athletic shoes to Nike, which places them in the Nike Grind. Then, the materials from those old sneakers get used to making new ones. All you have to do is drop off your kicks at a participating Nike retail store.
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:
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 TheThriftShopper.com 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:
You May Like: Does Hibbett Take Afterpay
Donate To A Recycling Program
You can donate old pairs of shoes for recycling centers if you cannot find a way to recycle them. There are many recycling centers and programs available in many countries across the world. Centers such as charity aids provide shoe recycling bins where one can donate shoes.
However, since we are talking about unwearable shoes, it would be insensitive to donate them to charity. The best recycling programs to give these shoes away is to recycle them.
Programs such as Nike Reuse-a-Shoe accepts donations of worn-out shoes of any brand. The unwearable shoes are used to make a material known as Nike Grind. The Nike grind is used to make other products such as new shoes and sports apparel. Nike grind is also used to make playing surfaces and surfacing running tracks.
Some artistic people use materials from old shoes to create sculptures that are sold for a profit.
Other recycling centers recover materials from worn-out shoes and use the materials to make new products. You can surf the internet to look for a recycling center near you.
What Do I Do With Old Shoes I Don’t Want
Picture this: you are cleaning out your closet, sitting on the floor taking out pairs and pairs of shoes that you didn’t even know were still there. Suddenly, you realize that in your hands there’s a heel that isn’t true to your current shoe size, a faux leather boot that you don’t like anymore and a really, really old Converse whose sole plainly looks like Swiss cheese. What can you do in that situation?
I’ll say it again: I know that you may have the urge to just throw them in the trash and that’s it, but hang in there! If you want to take care of the environment, that’s not the best way to dispose of them. There are many ways to do it responsibly, but I don’t want to spoil you just yet. First, let’s talk about the main reason why you shouldn’t throw your footwear in the trash the environmental impact of old shoe waste.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Mold Off Of Leather Shoes
What Do You Do With Your Old Shoes
I hope you found this guide on shoe recycling helpful.
My advice is always to donate old shoes. You can help someone in need, as well as the environment at the same time.
However, if your shoes are resembling Swiss cheese, then go the recycling route. Whichever recycling option you choose from the list, it wont be a mistake.
Id love to hear what you do with your old shoes. Let me know in the comments below, and sound off with any other shoe recycling questions you have.
Why Should We Recycle Unwearable Shoes
Old shoes that are thrown away usually end up in landfills. Thus, they contribute to stocking landfills with the trash that takes too long to degrade. Boots carelessly discarded into the surrounding make our environment dirty, and the shoes act as breeding grounds for pests, insects, and microbes that may spread diseases.
Shoes made of organic material such as leather release methane when breaking down. Methane is one of the gases that contribute to global warming, which is a significant cause of climate change.
Recycling shoes is a contribution to the protection of our environment.
Don’t Miss: Priority Mail Shoebox
Is It Time To Recycle My Shoes
Shoes are one of the easiest things to resell online. In fact, at least half of the money that Ive made through Tradesy and Poshmark sales comes from shoes. But there is definitely a time and a place when it makes more sense to recycle shoes than it does to try to resell them.
My husband and I were both ready to part with Pumas. There were creases from wear on his and yellowing on the piping on mine . In short, we werent going to get much, if anything, by listing them online. So we decided to just part with them.