What To Do With Old Running Shoes

what to do with old running shoes

No idea what to do with old running shoes?

You’ve most likely worn out a pair or two at least once in your life.

And, as such, you probably threw them out in the trash, especially since they only take up precious closet space.

The problem is, shoes take years and years to decompose, so you’ll want to know how to dispose of them properly.

We listed down a few simple tricks on how you can properly deal with the old shoes in your house.

What To Do With Old Running Shoes

Most runners would buy a new pair of running shoes after using them for around 400 to 500 miles.

That might sound too excessive for some, but it really isn’t.

Especially if you’ll be participating in marathons, your running shoes should always be in tip-top condition.

So, what do you do when the time comes that you already have to dispose of them?

As long as the shoes are still good, there are so many things that you can do with them.

Here are some ideas to get your creativity going:


Although donating running shoes is the best way to dispose of them, it won’t be a good idea if your shoe is already beat.

Even so, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should throw them away.

If you think that no one would wear them anymore, you can recycle running shoes and help the environment.

Indeed, recycling shoes is not as common as recycling clothes and other materials, but some programs do it.

For instance, Nike’s Reuse a Shoe program is the most popular. The company has already processed over 33 million pairs as of today.

Shoes are very complicated to recycle since they are made from different materials.

During the recycling process, the shoes will be separated into foam, plastic, rubber, and leather.

The pieces will then be ground and reused as track tops, carpet padding, surfacing for playgrounds, and more.

They might even be turned into Nike gear.


Do you know what you can do to reuse an old shoe? Start by giving it a fresh coat of paint.

If you have an old pair that you don’t want to give up, you can just paint it and change its appearance.

Grab eco-friendly paint and color your sneakers to your liking.

You can then display them around your house or wear them if they are not completely worn out yet.


Are your shoes too worn out to be donated?

Perhaps there are no Nike stores nearby where you can dispose of your old shoe for recycling.

In such cases, your best bet is to repurpose them.

If you allow yourself to be creative enough, you can still find another use for your old, worn-out running shoes.

Instead of throwing them into your trash bin, you can use your old running shoes for other things like:


Plants can pretty much grow anywhere as long as there is soil, water, and sunlight.

Hence, you can try turning your old running shoes into planters.

To do this, you simply need to make a few holes at the sole and then add soil.

It is better to add rocks at the bottom to prevent the shoe from being blown over when the wind is strong.


If you have trees in your backyard, you can nail your old shoe and wait for the birds to visit.

You don’t have to do anything else.

Just nail the shoe to a tree through the heel, and the birds will start visiting it.

Shoe Sale

If you need money and have several pairs of old running shoes, you can organize a shoe sale outside your house.

Although donating running shoes is a great deed, it’s also not a bad idea to earn some money from your old shoes.

Some people might still want your old running shoes, and they would definitely buy them for a reasonable price.

You cannot sell old shoes for a high price unless they are a collector’s item.

Instead of throwing them away, you can earn a few bucks while helping save the environment at the same time.

what to do with old running shoes tips

Should I Donate Old Running Shoes?

The less fortunate can do away with old shoes, as long as they aren’t too beat yet.

It’s a great idea to donate your old running shoes, especially if they take too much space in your closet.

If they are still in good working condition and you are confident that other people can find a use for them, look for organizations that would send your old shoes to people in need.

Here are a few organizations you can consider donating to:

Project Sole

Project Sole is an organization that provides footwear to people who cannot buy one for themselves.

It also helps those who were affected by natural disasters.

One World Running

This organization collects and distributes old running shoes to aspiring runners in Africa and the poor areas in the United States.

As long as the shoe can still be worn and still in good condition, they would be donated to less fortunate runners.

Soles 2 Souls

Soles 2 Souls is another trusted organization that redistributes donated shoes.

Like Project Sole, it sends help to people in need and those ravaged by natural disasters.

You can donate old running shoes and be a part of a bigger project to help the poor.

Old running shoes will only take space in your shoe rack, so if you don’t plan to use them, find a way to dispose of them properly.

There are so many things that you can do with your old shoes without throwing them in the trash bin.

You can sell them, give them to the less fortunate, donate to organizations for recycling, or simply use them for another purpose.

How to Take Care of Your Running Shoes

Running shoes will eventually wear out, but there are tricks to lengthen their lifespan and usability.

1. Keep the shoes away from moisture.

When you buy a pair of running shoes, you will notice a small silica pouch inside the packaging.

The main job of this desiccant is to prevent moisture from entering the box.

Remember that moisture can damage your shoes, trigger the growth of bacteria that breaks down the material.

If you don’t have silica gels, get newspapers and stuff them inside your shoes to absorb moisture.

Then, don’t forget to change the newspapers every after one to two weeks.

2. Protect your shoes from dust.

One of the most important tips to make sure your shoes stay looking brand new is to dust them off from time to time.

Dust buildup can affect the natural color of the shoe and make it look old.

So, if you are going to keep your shoes inside their box, always check and remove the dust.

You should clean and polish them at least two times a week.

3. Don’t leave them outside.

Some people leave their shoes outside.

Aside from being soaked in the rain, the heat of the sun can damage the material.

Direct sunlight may cause the material to stiffen and eventually crumble.

Instead of leaving your shoes outside, invest in shoe racks and keep them in a controlled environment.

4. Air dry after cleaning.

Never use a dryer to dry off your shoes after washing. The best way to dry your shoes is to just let them stay in the open.

Don’t put your shoes under the sun as it may damage the material.

You can just keep it inside your house and let it dry.

If you’re in a rush, you can place newspapers inside the shoe to help speed up the drying process.

5. Don’t wear your shoes every day.

It is better to have at least two to three pairs of shoes that you can use alternately.

Wearing the same shoe over and over again will definitely wear it out faster.

Although this is a significant investment, it is one that is totally worth it.

Wearing your shoes every single day will age them sooner rather than later.

What’s more, they would have a higher chance of being damaged.

6. Wear them only when needed.

If you’re just staying at your house for the day, you don’t need to wear your shoes.

We have socks and slippers for that.

If you plan on doing something that will most likely soil your shoes, wear an old pair instead.

You have to remember that getting rid of stains is not an easy feat, so avoid them at all costs.

How Do I Get Rid of Old Running Shoes?

Knowing what to do with old running shoes can help you dispose of them properly.

If it is up to us, throwing them away in the trash bin is never an option, as doing so would do the environment more harm than good.

As mentioned, you can donate old running shoes or recycle them so that you can at least help your community.

Alternatively, if you are not one to donate or recycle running shoes, you can try selling them for a low price and earn a few bucks.

6 thoughts on “What To Do With Old Running Shoes”

    • Hi, Mark Turner, and thank you.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Great to hear about your benefit of the article too.

      Don’t hesitate to contact me to help you with anything else or if you have any questions.

  1. This article has blown my mind, and now I wish I had every shoe I ever threw away! It never occurred to me to do anything else with them. I love the thought of turning them into planters or other “art.” And, of course, recycling them (I LOVE companies that do this!) and donating them is also a darned good idea. I’m going to share this.

    • Hi Cynthia, and thank you.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Great to hear about your benefit of the article too.

      Don’t hesitate to contact me to help you with anything else or if you have any questions.

  2. Hi there,

    Thanks for sharing this awesome article!

    Where I live, there is a big box that collects people’s shoes. So every time I need to change shoes, I put my shoes in this box, and then a truck comes to pick them up. I don’t know what they do with all these shoes, but I suppose it’s for donation.

    We all have different walking patterns and the shoes we wear to take our foot shape. For example, I have overpronation, and it’s easy to see it on my shoes. So isn’t it a little risky to give deformed shoes to a person with normal pronation? I mean, they could get knees or back pain. What do you think?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Daniella, and thank you.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      It is vital to use the right shoes for your body, and special because of the legs. But there are many things to think about. And if it is a donation you have in mind, they are normally very clever to let the people who can use it and are in need of it get shoes that fit them as well as possible.

      So I would not stop give it even, so I agree that it is always important to wear the right type of shoes, so I say it again!

      Great to hear about your benefit of the article too.

      Don’t hesitate to contact me to help you with anything else or if you have any questions.


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