What to Do with Old Shoes: 10 Creative Ideas You Haven’t Thought Of

A pair of old, worn-out shoes being transformed into a beautiful piece of art through cleaning, repairing, and embellishing with eco-friendly materials.

Introduction to What to Do with Old Shoes

The fast pace of the fashion industry leads to a large number of old shoes being thrown away, which in turn contributes to the growing problem of landfill waste. It is important for us to find alternative solutions for dealing with these old shoes in a more sustainable manner. This article will explore various creative and eco-friendly options for repurposing or getting rid of old shoes, with the ultimate goal of minimizing their negative impact on the environment.

1. Donate to Charity Organizations

What to Do with Old Shoes: 10 Creative Ideas You Haven't Thought Of
What to Do with Old Shoes: 10 Creative Ideas You Haven't Thought Of 8

Donating old shoes can benefit both the recipients in need and the environment. It allows someone else to use the shoes rather than purchasing new ones, reducing the demand for new production and lessening environmental impact. Additionally, it provides individuals in need with necessary footwear, supporting their well-being.

Here are some reputable charity organizations that accept shoe donations:

When preparing donated shoes for drop-off or shipment, make sure they are clean and in good condition. Properly package them to prevent damage during transportation, and consider reaching out to the chosen organization for specific guidelines on donation preparation.

2. Sell Them Online

What to Do with Old Shoes: 10 Creative Ideas You Haven't Thought Of
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Selling old shoes online can be a great way to clean out your closet and make some money on the side. Platforms like eBay and Poshmark make it easy to reach interested buyers and find new owners for your pre-loved footwear. Here’s how you can make the most of this opportunity:

  1. Highlight the financial incentive: Let readers know that they can turn their unused shoes into cash by selling them online. This can be a motivating factor for those who are hesitant about parting with their belongings.
  2. Recommend popular platforms: Suggest well-known online marketplaces where readers can create listings for their old shoes, such as eBay or Poshmark. These platforms have a large user base, increasing the chances of finding potential buyers.
  3. Share tips for success: Offer advice on how to write compelling product descriptions and take attractive photos of the shoes they’re selling. These elements play a crucial role in grabbing buyers’ attention and convincing them to make a purchase.

By following these tips, as highlighted by industry statistics in 2021, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the world of online shoe sales and increase your chances of making successful transactions in this competitive market.

3. Repair and Extend Lifespan

What to Do with Old Shoes: 10 Creative Ideas You Haven't Thought Of
What to Do with Old Shoes: 10 Creative Ideas You Haven't Thought Of 10

Repairing and maintaining old shoes is a great way to extend their usability and reduce waste. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Emphasize the value of repairing: Repairing old shoes not only saves you money but also reduces your environmental footprint. By fixing minor issues like loose soles or broken laces, you can breathe new life into your favorite pair of shoes.
  • Common shoe repair techniques: There are several shoe repair techniques that you can easily do at home. Some common repairs include sole replacement, stitching, and patching up small tears or holes. With a little practice and the right tools, you can become quite skilled at DIY shoe repair.
  • Explore DIY options: If you’re interested in learning how to repair your shoes from the comfort of your own home, there are valuable resources available online that can guide you through the process. Platforms like YouTube and Instructables offer comprehensive tutorials and step-by-step guides on various shoe repair techniques.
  • Recommend professional assistance: However, if you’re not comfortable with DIY repairs or have more complex issues with your shoes, it’s always wise to seek help from local cobblers who possess valuable expertise in this area.

By taking the time to repair and maintain your old shoes, you can significantly extend their lifespan and reduce the need for new purchases. Don’t let minor issues discourage you from keeping your favorite footwear in good shape!

4. Upcycle into New Products

What to Do with Old Shoes: 10 Creative Ideas You Haven't Thought Of
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When you have old shoes that you no longer wear, instead of throwing them away, why not try upcycling them? Upcycling is a creative and eco-friendly solution that allows you to give your worn-out sneakers a new purpose.

Here are some ideas for upcycling your old shoes:

  1. Planters: Transform your shoes into unique planters by filling them with soil and adding your favorite plants. These one-of-a-kind planters will add a touch of greenery to your home decor.
  2. Crafts: Repurpose shoe materials like shoelaces or fabric to create crafts such as keychains or jewelry. Get creative with different colors and textures to make unique pieces.
  3. Household items: If you’re feeling handy, try upcycling projects that involve turning old shoes into useful household items like storage containers or decorative pieces. For example, you can use an old shoebox as a stylish storage solution or create a wall hanging using shoelaces.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to breathing new life into old footwear through upcycling. Not only will you reduce waste and save money, but you’ll also have fun getting crafty!

5. Explore Recycling and Other Disposal Options

What to Do with Old Shoes: 10 Creative Ideas You Haven't Thought Of
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When it comes to old shoes, recycling and responsible disposal are essential to minimize landfill waste. Here are some key points to consider:


Explain the concept of downcycling and how it applies to recycling worn-out shoes. Unlike traditional recycling, downcycling involves breaking down materials into lower-grade products that cannot be recycled further. This process allows for the reuse of certain components while reducing waste.

Specialized Shoe Recycling Programs

Mention specialized shoe recycling programs that collect and process used footwear. These programs often partner with charitable organizations or manufacturers to ensure proper disposal or repurposing of old shoes. Some examples include Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program, Soles4Souls, and One World Running.


Educate readers about composting as a suitable disposal method for natural material shoes like canvas or leather ones. Composting breaks down organic materials into nutrient-rich soil amendments. By composting old shoes made from natural materials, individuals can contribute to sustainable gardening practices and reduce waste.

Disposal Criteria and Techniques

Discuss the criteria for determining when disposal is the only viable option. Factors such as severe damage, irreparable wear, or hygiene concerns may warrant proper disposal of old shoes. Suggest techniques for minimizing environmental impact, such as removing non-compostable parts before disposal or opting for eco-friendly landfill options if available.

By exploring recycling and other responsible disposal options, we can make a significant difference in reducing the environmental impact of old shoes while promoting sustainability in the fashion industry.


Taking action to address the issue of old shoe accumulation is crucial for promoting sustainability and minimizing landfill waste. By embracing the suggested creative ideas for repurposing or responsibly disposing of worn-out footwear items, readers can make a positive impact on the environment and the fashion industry.

Here are some key points to remember:

  1. Reiterate the Need for Action: Old shoes contribute to landfill waste, and it’s important to find alternative ways to deal with them. By taking action, individuals can help reduce environmental harm.
  2. Embrace Creative Ideas: The article has provided various options for repurposing old shoes, such as donating them to charity organizations, selling them online, repairing them, upcycling them into new products, or exploring recycling and composting options. These ideas offer practical solutions that can extend the life cycle of shoes and minimize waste.
  3. Highlight Individual Impact: Each person’s choices matter in creating a more sustainable future. By making conscious decisions about what to do with old shoes, individuals can contribute to reducing the fashion industry’s environmental footprint and promote responsible consumption.

Remember: It’s not just about getting rid of old shoes; it’s about finding innovative ways to give them a new purpose or dispose of them responsibly. Let’s all take part in making a difference by taking care of our old shoes in a sustainable manner.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the problem with old shoes contributing to landfill waste?

Old shoes contribute to landfill waste, adding to the environmental burden of non-biodegradable materials and taking up valuable space in landfills.

Why is it important to find alternative ways to deal with old shoes?

Finding alternative ways to deal with old shoes is crucial for reducing the environmental impact of excessive footwear disposal and promoting sustainable practices in the fashion industry.

What is the goal of the article regarding old shoes?

The goal of the article is to provide creative and sustainable ideas for repurposing or responsibly disposing of old shoes, aiming to inspire readers to take action in addressing the issue of old shoe accumulation.

How can donating old shoes benefit both recipients and the environment?

Donating old shoes can benefit recipients in need by providing them with footwear, while also benefiting the environment by reducing waste and promoting reuse.

Where can readers find reputable charity organizations that accept shoe donations?

Readers can find a list of reputable charity organizations that accept shoe donations along with their contact information in this article, enabling them to make meaningful contributions through responsible shoe disposal.

What are some popular platforms for selling pre-loved shoes online?

Popular platforms for selling pre-loved shoes online include eBay and Poshmark, offering readers an opportunity to earn money from their old shoes while extending their usability through secondhand markets.

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