How to Recycle Your Old Running Shoes


So here I am, going on about 4 years of consistent running, and I read a short blurb about how you can recycle your old running shoes!  To be honest, I had never heard of this before, and if I had, I never put any real thought into it.

When my shoes get old, I just buy a new pair…and the old pair usually sites in my closet for a few years until I finally decide to just throw them out.  So, I decided to do a little bit of research to see how someone could go about recycling old running shoes and to see if it made sense for the average runner like me and perhaps you.

Here’s a quick list of different places that you can either donate or recycle your running shoes:

  • Goodwill or other second hand store.  No, they won’t recycle them, but if your shoe has ANY life left in it, someone else might be happy to pick it up cheap.  Before throwing the shoes in the trash bin, this is at least a little bit better – try donating them.
  • Soles4Souls is a Shoe Charity and Recycling Organization.  According to their about page, here is their mission: “Soles4Souls collects new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collects used shoes to support micro-business efforts to eradicate poverty.”  When you stop and think about it, there are millions of people who would be thrilled to have a pair of even used shoes rather than none.  This is a great way to donate your old shoes.  The only downside is that there are limited drop off locations (partner shoe stores).  For example, when I did a search near my own location, the nearest shoe drop off location was several hundred miles away.  If you in a big city, this is likely a good option though.
  • One World Running is another shoe charity.  Just like Soles4Souls, they have various drop off locations.  But they do prefer near new shoe donations.
  • Nike Reuse a Shoe also accepts used shoes.  Again, you need to find a drop off location rather than mailing in your shoes.  You can donate ANY brand and it doesn’t matter how old. According to Nike, the recycled material is only incorporated into athletic surfacing products and playgrounds by our premier surfacing partners.  So its essentially ground down and used in other products.

Overall, there are actually a few different organizations that are willing to accept your shoes!  If you are anything like me and completely run your shoes into the ground, the Nike Reuse a Shoe program is probably the best option because these shoes won’t be used, but truly recycled.

The other organizations are mostly looking for lightly used shoes that can be worn and used again by other people.

Overall, there really are some great causes and organizations accepting shoes, should you decide that you want to recycle an old pair.

Have any further comments or questions?  We’d love to hear your thoughts below!

1 thought on “How to Recycle Your Old Running Shoes”

  1. I’m looking for drop off sites near Oak Park, IL where I can leave used athletic shoes. These shoes are not for reuse just recycling.

Comments are closed.