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What to do With Old Shoes: 7 Recycling Ideas!

What to do With Old Shoes: 7 Recycling Ideas! What to do With Old Shoes: 7 Recycling Ideas! www.walkjogrun.net

Most people throw out their old shoes when they’re at the end of their life. Some donate old shoes if they’ve got enough life in them. But when the eco bug strikes, the idea of trashing worn-out shoes feels wrong.

Rifling through your old shoes and deciding what to do with them can seem impossible. But sometimes, you need to make room in your closet.

So, when it’s time to get rid of those super comfortable boots that just let too much rain in, or those gorgeous stilettoes that always pinch your toes, you might have to get creative.

Just because you can’t wear that pair of shoes doesn’t mean you need to trash them. Instead, learning how to dispose of shoes is both surprising and fun.


Whether your wardrobe is cluttered with unworn shoes, or you’ve several pairs that aren’t wearable anymore, you definitely should not throw away your shoes. Instead, find some surprising ways to recycle old shoes with a bit of research and some creativity.

Not only will repurposing old shoes give you a sense of achievement or selflessness, but it’s also vital for the sustainability of the planet. Did you know that when people don’t recycle unwearable shoes and trash them instead, they end up in the landfill?

About 13 million tons of our unwanted clothing fill up our landfill space, constituting about 5% of all trash. The U.S. Department of the Interior also reports that Americans throw away 300 million-plus pairs of shoes each year. Ending up in landfills like the other clothes, these shoes can take at least 30 to 40 years to decompose, with thousands washing up on the beaches.

Why would you throw away your shoes when there are so many creative and valuable options for repurposing your unwanted shoes?  


Figuring out what to do with old shoes can confuse, with many people asking are shoes recyclable and what to do with old shoes.

It’s not only possible to recycle sneakers but also to recycle all kinds of footwear. Even if that means you need to recycle tennis shoes, dress shoes, flip flops, boots, or baby booties.

Just like we are in the habit of recycling our glass, metal, paper and plastic, your unwanted shoes are equally as easy to recycle. Repurposing your old shoes creates a world of ways to reuse and recycle.

Your unwanted soles can soon turn into useful household items, attractive ornaments, garden furniture, or much more. But if you don’t have the time or the creativity to repurpose your old shoes, recycling them couldn’t be easier.

Simply take your aged and unwanted shoes and boots to most recycling centers, put them in a clothes bank, or donate them to goodwill. Your shoes will either be resold or donated to people who need them. Search Google for ‘shoe recycling near me’ for your nearest option.

But don’t forget to tie them together, or they may quickly get separated.

10 Creative Ideas to Recycle Your Shoes

Well, pretty much. Ok, so maybe you can’t do anything and everything with old shoes, but the list is pretty darn exhaustive.

So, join in on the fun and get in the habit of reusing, recycling, and repurposing your old shoes with our 7 top tips below:

1. From Boots to Pots.

Those uncomfortable high heels that have just been sitting in the closet for years are the perfect choice for succulent or cacti plant pots.

recycling shoes

Those sexy pumps are the best choice for unconventional planters because cacti and succulents require little water, are low-maintenance and long-lasting. Simply add some potting soil, a growing plant, pop it in a good place, and watch your novelty planter grow.

2. High-Heeled Accessory Holder.

Often, those who wear high heels often wear make-up and jewelry. Finding a perfect make-up or accessory holder can make your daily make-up regime easier.

For example, a fancy pair of high heels can easily create a stiletto ring rack by inserting padded fixtures in the sole. Even your highest platform boots or stiletto shoes can be turned into a glamorous make-up brush holder.

3. Baby shoe pincushion.

baby shoe pincushion

What’s cuter than a pincushion made from a baby shoe? Simply take an old baby shoe, add a color ball of sponge inside, and fill it with pins. You can even give these as nostalgic presents to the grandparents.

4. Stylish bookends.

This repurposing trick works exceptionally well for designer shoes that are just too uncomfortable to wear. Nearly brand new, these bookends look like a chic and purposeful option.

Heavy heels or flat shoes do an excellent job of holding up the books, and if they don’t quite suit your color scheme, you can color or paint these recycled shoes to fit your color scheme.

5. Old boot birds’ nest.

shoe as bird nest

Repurposing boots that are just not good enough to be sold at goodwill make the perfect bird’s nest. What’s better than giving a little birdie a rest in a DIY nesting home.

The process is simple, make a wooden frame, attach the shoe, and add some twigs and leaves to make the little birdie comfy.

6. Flip flop signs.

Unusable but colorful flip-flops make the perfect sign. It’s easier than you think to create a pleasantly summery welcome sign out of patterned or different colored flip flops. Add bright colored flowers to match the bright colored flip-flops.

flip flop sign

You can also make a birthday sign, a congratulations sign, or anything that takes your fancy. Make sure all the letters fit on the number of flip-flops you’ve got to hand. If you’re running out, ask if anyone is clearing out their wardrobe soon.

7. Colorful Shoe Steppingstones.

The soles of super old, colorful, and unusable shoes, boots and wellies make the best DIY garden steppingstones. Most of us have several old pairs of shoes that we’ve just not got round to getting rid of yet.

So, turn these shoes upside down for colourful, creative, and cute steppingstones. These DIY garden steppingstones couldn’t be easier; pick out a few pairs and ‘plant’ them in your garden.

Our modern world lets us buy shoes whenever we want. Unfortunately, new fashions and active lifestyles mean our shoes often get replaced and thrown away.

If you’re confused about what to do with old shoes, make sure to go through the above methods to find a creative way to repurpose old sneakers and shoes.