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Recycle Your Shoes

Give your old shoes new life. Recyle or donate your shoes to charity instead of throwing them out.

| September 2009

  • Do your closet and the environment a favor: Recycle or donate your old shoes.
    Photo Courtesy

It’s time for new shoes. Those old kicks you’ve been wearing for the past year or more are starting to wear around the edges and finally fall apart. Buying new shoes is always a serious task. Once you’ve made it through the challenge of finding the right size, width, color and price all in one shoe, you’re still left with the question of what to do with that dingy old pair. Throwing them in the trash sounds like the easiest—and least eco-friendly—option, but where do you recycle shoes? 


Recycling your shoes might not be as difficult as you think. A few years ago Nike partnered with the National Recycling Corporation to create the Reuse-a-Shoe program. Under this program, Nike takes old athletic shoes of any brand and grinds them into a material used to resurface athletic fields, courts, tracks and playgrounds. For a list of recycling facilities, visit the official website of the program. If there isn’t a recycling facility in your area, you can ship your shoes (athletic only, please) to:

Nike Recycling Center
c/o Reuse-a-Shoe
199 Pearson Parkway
Lebanon, IN 46052


If there’s still some wear and tear left in your shoes, donating them is another good possibility. Many facilities and programs around the country will take old shoes, and many of them re-use the shoes for charitable purposes. 

Soles4Souls is a charity that collects shoes to donate to places in need around the world, from homeless shelters and inner city hospitals in the U.S. to landfills and orphanages in Central and South America, Europe and Africa. Although the organization works with all kinds of groups, including shoe retailers, they also accept used shoes from individuals. Once you send your shoes in or drop them off at a donation site, Soles4Souls will clean and ship your footwear to various places around the globe. 

Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program and Soles4Souls are only two options out of many you have for recycling your shoes. To discover more charities, recycling programs and donation sites, check out Run the Planet’s list of shoe recycling programs and’s shoe recycling directory.  

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