Where to Recycle Your Old Running Shoes

recycle your old running shoes tips

Trying to find where to recycle your old running shoes? If you’re like many runners, you probably have an assortment of shoes lining your closet floor – You know, those shoes you bought last summer that you just,”had to have.” You may even have a few pairs stuffed beneath your bed, crammed in a gym bag, or hiding in the trunk of your car.  Some of these shoes may even be unworn. 

Don’t feel bad, many of us will become shoe hoarders at some point in our running careers and probably not even realize it.  But, the sad truth is that there are people afflicted by natural disasters, poor economy, or war, that don’t have the money or resources to protect themselves from the dangers of the ground. 

The great news is that you can recycle these shoes, donating them to someone, who otherwise, would not have a single pair.There are many ways of recycling your old shoes and I would like to share some of those options with you today.  So before you go tossing your shoes into the nearest trash bin, to slowly decompose in a landfill, check out some of these green alternatives.

Your Local Goodwill

Probably the most popular option for recycling just about anything is Goodwill.  They have a long standing of helping people within their communities.  From providing jobs to selling gently used clothing, Goodwill helps those in need.  They are also a great place to drop off your unwanted running shoes.  That is, if they are gently used or unworn.  Goodwill is also a non-profit, making your donation a tax write-off. Not a bad choice when looking at options to recycle your old running shoes.

goodwill recycle your old running shoes


Running shoes aren’t cheap.  So, why not sell them to make back a little money?  While donating has its rewards, you may not be ready to part with a pair of $150 Nikes that you bought just last season.  Listing your kicks on Craigslist is extremely simple, and you will likely be helping someone within your community.  I recently chose this option for a pair of shoes I’d never even worn, and something really cool happened; I met a local runner in the process.  I still see him from time to time, and he’s still rocking those Salomon Speed Cross 3s.  He got a pair of shoes that he loves and I made back a bit of my hard-earned money.

craigslist recycle your old running shoes

Soles for Souls

Founded in 2004, Soles4Souls is a global not-for-profit institution dedicated to fighting the devastating impact and perpetuation of poverty through the distribution of shoes and clothing. Soles4Souls receives millions of articles of used shoes and clothing that have been collected by individuals, schools, faith-based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners.  After sorting items in its national warehouse system, Soles4Souls typically sells the used shoes and clothing, as well as some new items allocated by manufacturers, to carefully selected micro-enterprise organizations.

These both private and non-profit companies are contracted to provide shipping, financing, inventory, training and other support to ultra-small businesses in countries like Haiti where there are virtually no jobs to generate personal income.  The great thing about Soles for Souls, is that they never waste a single pair of shoes.  And, they accept half-pairs of shoes!


This is a very cool way to recycle your old running shoes and give your shoes a second life.  Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program takes worn out athletic shoes and grinds them down to create a new material called Nike Grind, which is used to make high-quality sports surfaces including courts, turf fields, tracks and more.  Since 1990, they’ve transformed 28 million pairs of shoes and 36,000 tons of scrap material into Nike Grind for use in more than 450,000 locations around the world.  Nike Grind end-products cover approximately 632,000,000 square feet – Nearly enough to cover the entire island of Manhattan (23 square miles).  Click hereto learn how you can participate in the Reuse-A-Shoe program.


If all else fails, you can find ways to recycle your old sneakers on Earth 911.  This site offers innovative and inspiring ideas on ways to save time, money, and resources.  While you’re there, see what else you have around the house that could be recycled or turned into a conversation piece.  Click hereto use their search box now!

I hope this helped you to find an eco-friendly way of recycling your unwanted running shoes.  What are some ways that I left off?  Please share them below!

Image Courtesy: http://tfavretto.deviantart.com

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