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Where Can I Recycle Sneakers

Fundraiser Programraise Funds For A Cause

Recycling old plastic shoes

Is your school or non-profit looking for a new fundraiser idea that is easy and supports a good cause? Maybe your gym or run club has a group of people that would donate old sneakers? Why not host a sneaker drive fundraiser? Sign up to receive a FREE fundraiser kit and get started with your campaign!

How Long Do Shoes Last

How long a pair of trainers will last is dependent on a variety of factors. Even the temperature that shoes are commonly worn in impacts how long they can last. Shoes that are worn on hard, rough ground will wear through quicker than those worn on more forgiving terrain.

Athletic shoes of higher quality will generally last longer than their cheaper counterparts. Shoes worn more often will likely wear out quicker than trainers worn infrequently. However, it can be expected that a new pair of kicks will last anywhere between 300 to 500 miles.

For the casual runner completing 20 miles a week, it is recommended that shoes be replaced every four to six months. If you are a serious runner with race day shoes, your favourite race shoes may need to be replaced more frequently.

But what to do with your old pair?

How To Reuse Old Shoes

If the only problem is that the cushioning is worn out, consider repurposing your old running shoes.

You can use old shoes to cut the grass or work in the garden. Painting the walls? Throw on an grubby pair so you dont have to worry about them. You could also cut off the backs and use them as slip ons to take the dog out.

When your running shoes are ready to be retired, consider recycling, donating or repurposing them in some way to cut down on waste or improve some else’s life.

By Maureen Wise. Maureen caught the running bug in high school when she was the only female to run the two-mile race on her high school track team. Not that she was a fast runner thenor nowbut she’s been at it for 20 years and has run more 5Ks than she cares to count.

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The Correct Way To Donate Your Shoes

Believe it or not, there is a right and a wrong way to go about donating your old footwear. With such an abundance of well-loved boots, sneakers, and flats being dropped off at local shops, it can be challenging to stay on top of such a high inventory. Even local donation stores only sell around 25% of shoes to customers in your area. The rest are exported to emerging countries.

While there is some demand in these areas, a majority of the shoes exported end up flooding local markets abroad. These flooded markets put pressure on local salespeople, disrupting economies in the community and creating more supply than demand.

The shoes you donate can just end up in the landfill anyway if youre not careful. Thats why we recommend:

  • Donating less popular shoes to companies that work with local communities to put money back in the pockets of local citizens.
  • One example of this is Soles-4-Souls. They accept shoe donations and then help disadvantaged individuals start and sustain their own small business of selling shoes.

So, before filling bags and boxes with shoes for donation, consider what organizations might be best equipped to handle higher quantities.

Terracycles Shoes And Footwear Zero Waste Box

Hamilton Area Trail Runs: Nike Reuse

The recycling geniuses at TerraCycle offer a Shoes and Footwear Zero Waste Box, which you can use to recycle pretty much any type of shoe in any condition, with the exception of ski boots and skates. TerraCycle will reuse, upcycle, and recycle the shoes, making sure they stay far away from landfills. Boxes start at $129 so even though it is a bit pricey, its a solid option for people who have the money to support a business like TerraCycle or dont have access to any free shoe recycling programs.

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Have Completely Worn Out Shoes Go For Shoe Recycling

Many people arent aware that footwear recycling is a much more complex process than clothes recycling.

This is because shoes are more complex. Moreover, many soles are made of ethylene-vinyl acetate, which can release toxic compounds into the air.

However, there are some programs that do shoe recycling in a responsible manner.

Places Where You Can Recycle Your Worn

Your favorite pair of Sneakers will eventually be completely worn out, or you might want to update your Sneaker collection. That means throwing away your old pair of sneakers.

But just throwing them out to the landfills is a waste of the shoes, not to mention that it is not sustainable for the environment.

There are several ways you can give your old pair of sneakers a new life. Great for people like us who care for the environment, there are plenty of places that offer to recycle and upcycle your sneakers to make them brand new.

Continue reading to find ways to recycle your pair of Sneakers and bring them back to life.

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How To Recycle Your Old Running Shoes

Take a look at your closet or garagewe’d be willing to bet that you, like many runners, have a pile of used running shoes on the floor.

Whether it’s because we get attached to a pair after putting in serious miles or we’re saving them for mowing the lawn or the occasional “painting the house” projects, these shoes accumulate faster than we’d expect.

But let’s say you’re ready to move on and get rid of your old running shoes. First of all, unless they’ve been all-but-destroyed, don’t just drop them the trash can. Making a pair of running shoes is energy intensive and requires the use of a lot of synthetic materialsit’s best to recycle them when possible.

Before we begin, it’s important to remember that reducing consumption is always the best way to lessen your impact. Try to wear a shoe until it’s totally worn out before buying a new pair. Running shoes are generally structurally sound for around 300 to 500 miles, and we’d guess many shoes don’t fully live out their entire life cycle before users move onto the latest and greatest.

Without further ado, below we listed a few ways to recycle your old running shoes and make a positive, lasting impact.

Giving Your Sneakers A New Life Changes A Life

Sneakers Made With Plastic Bags Cost $100 | World Wide Waste | Business Insider

Your gently used sneakers are collected through drop-off locations and shipping bags.

They are offered at a fraction of their value to create small businesses in developing countries.

Local merchants revive and resell your sneakers in their communities, providing affordable footwear in places where its not otherwise available.

With proper footwear, children are able to attend school and adults are able to work.


If you would like to partner as a drop off location or wish to speak to a team member, please send an email to

Thank you for your interest in the Sneaker Impact mission!

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What Are The Best Places To Recycle Shoes

When it’s time to say goodbye to your shoes, there are a few things you can do with them.

Sell: If your shoes have been well-loved and you just don’t love them any more, you can always try to trade them in for cash. Sites like Ebay and Poshmark make it easy to sell shoes online to a loving new home. As someone who has tried to do this and failed many, many times, though, keep in mind that they need to be in very good condition for you to be able to make any money off of them. Nobody wants those filthy Stan Smiths with a missing laces, Karen.

Donate: If your shoes dead to you, but not embarrassing looking , you can take them to a second-hand store for someone else to love. A few easy places to do it? The Salvation Army, Goodwill, and One World Running, which have locations across the country, and the aforementioned Soles for Souls, which makes it so easy to ship your shoes to their warehouse that there’s pretty much no excuse not to.

The Benefits Of Upcycling

Feeling stuck between recycling your old sneakers or upcycling them? If youre looking for a method to reduce more of a carbon footprint, upcycling might be your best option. When you recycle, energy is used to convert your shoes back into their smallest components.

The energy needed for this conversion requires time, labor, and emissions. And once these elements have been pared down to their simplest form, they need to be reprocessed into new materials and products. Upcycling keeps these products at their original form, allowing them to be reused at their highest valueand preserving the time and energy that recycling requires.7

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Soles4souls + Zappos For Good

Soles4Souls, a Nashville, Tennessee-based international nonprofit, is dedicated to diverting gently-worn shoes from landfills, and redistributing them to entrepreneurs in developing countries.

To date, Soles4Souls has kept 71 million pounds of textiles out of U.S. landfills, helping to preserve our planet for future generations. This program has also offered economic opportunities for individuals around the world living in extreme poverty.

You can find a drop-off location near you, or ship your shoes for free â up to 50 pounds in the continental U.S. â by participating in their Zappos for Good partnership program.

Is It Worth Donating Old Shoes

Where Can I Recycle This Thing?

Donating shoes is 100% worth it! Your shoes will go to someone who will need them the most and, trust me, you’ll feel great about it. You probably already thought about doing this since not every shoe you have in your closet has been terribly worn out, there are some that just need a good wash and that’s about it. That’s when they become someone else’s treasure!

“But where can I donate my shoes?” you may ask. Good news for shoe lovers: there are many places across Canada that accept shoe donations!

One of them is Shoe Bank Canada, a non-profit social enterprise that has a clear mission: to ensure that every Canadian has access to a decent pair of shoes.

The best thing about them is that they promote two types of donations: the standard ones, in which you simply collect the shoes you have at home and take them to one of their drop-off locations, and other ones they call “shoe drive“. If you want to host a shoe drive, it basically consists of asking your community to collect gently worn, used, and new of all types and sizes, gathering them, and delivering or shipping them to one of the Shoe Bank Canada drop-off locations. Just like they state on their website, it’s a fun and simple way to engage your team or organization to give back and make a difference.

Another excellent non-profit for donating shoes is Soles4Souls, one that is so transparent that you can even meet their team and find out how they manage their finances by just clicking on their website!

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Shoe Recycling Guide: Recycle Your Footwear Responsibly

The United States of America has the largest footwear market in the world, so it makes sense that this is a multi-billion dollar industry. The shoe industry revenue was over 91 billion in 2019.

Did you ever wonder what happens to these billions of shoes that are produced every year? Experts say most of these end up in a landfill.

The average time in which a shoe decomposes is 40 years. This is especially troublesome as old shoes can leach toxic chemicals into the ground.

But, it doesnt have to be this way. There are much better ways in which we can dispose of old kicks.

Today Ill talk about all the shoe recycling ways in which we can help other people and our planet, and maybe even earn some money.

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.

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Local Programs That Reuse Running Shoes

Runners Roost stores, throughout the Denver area, receive nearly 5,000 shoes donated annually. Their 10 storefronts have provided a used footwear drop-off for at least 12 years, estimates Kent Wories, the general manager of Runners Roost. The grassroots program has evolved over time, based on the needs of partner organizations such as the Denver Rescue Mission, Wounded Warrior Project, and the Catholic Charities of Denver, which select and funnel the footwear to people in need.

The shape of the donated shoes runs the full gamut from you can hardly tell it was used to pretty beat up. Close to half of the shoes are definitely in good reusable condition, says Wories. Footwear that needs refurbishment before being donated for reuse goes to Soles4Souls, while others go to One World Running.

Other run retailers nationwide collect footwear for similar nonprofit efforts. Charm City Run, which has six retail locations around Maryland and organizes nearly 100 annual endurance events, launched the Live. Give. Run. Foundation, in 2020, a nonprofit that channels footwear donations to folks in need.

Philadelphia Runner, in Pennsylvania, hosts shoe drive fundraisers to provide gently used and new footwear to Sneakers4Funds, a program that serves athletic communities across the nation, which kicks back a check for the fundraiser cause in exchange for the goods.

Donate To A Recycling Program

How to recycle your running shoes | Salomon How To

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.

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How Do You Dispose Of Old Pair Of Shoes

If your shoes are beyond saving, one way to dispose of them is to avoid the common three-bin residential waste collection, and simply aim for the trash. I know, it’s hard for me to even write this.

If you live in Calgary, you may be able to drop them off at one of the city’s Throw ‘N’ Go bins, but I advise you to first assess whether they will accept them or not. No matter how hard we try, there are times when there’s not much that can be done, and that’s okay. The important thing is that we first try as many eco-alternatives as possible!

Bonus tip: To prevent your shoes from reaching the maximum state of decomposition, consider taking care of them as much as possible. Store them in a well-ventilated place, dry them thoroughly if they got wet, wash them as soon as possible if you soaked them in a puddle of dirty water, clean them with the right products for each material, dont leave them sitting in the sun for days, and if they start to smell a bit bad, put an unused black tea bag in each shoe and leave them there for a few days. Believe me, giving a little love to your shoes is more than enough.

Choose Shoes That Dont Wear You Down With Vionic

After years of wearing your favorite pair of sneakers, you might be unaware that your shoes can do the same to your feet. Years of wearing unsupportive sneakers can leave their mark. Rather than succumb to sore feet, why not try a stylish pair of shoes that dont sacrifice fashion for comfort?

Vionic can help you find your desired comfort with our Vio-Motion footbed technology. We provide a wide range of innovative footwearfrom sandals to sneakers, boots, and insolesgranting you a new spring in your step. Even for all the yearsand footstepsto come, your shoes will continue to deliver you comfort and ease.

  • How to Recycle Shoes or Dispose Them. Shoerazzi. 10 July, 2021.
  • Benefits of Recycling Your Sneakers. Got Sneakers?
  • Cline, Elizabeth. Ask a sustainability expert: how do i recycle my worn-out shoes? Fashionista. 13 February, 2020.
  • Cassano, Maria. How To Make Old Shoes Look New Again, According To A Shoe-Repair Pro. Bustle. Updated 1 August, 2021.
  • What to do with your old shoes. Shoezone. 11 March, 2021.
  • Amy. Upcycle Shoes with One of these Genius Ideas. DIY Candy. Updated 9 June, 2021.
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