5 Ways to Recycle Your Running Shoes

If you are a runner, then you probably have a closet full of old shoes that have quite a few miles on them.  I’ve noticed that after about 300 miles, I tend to clomp around while I’m running…   That is the first sign that its time to look for a new pair!  So, what do you do with your old shoes?!  Don’t just throw them away!  Here are 5 ways to recycle your running shoes!


My local running club hosts a series of winter races.  This Saturday, they are putting on a 5k that I plan on running.  The theme for this week’s race is “Lose Your Shoes and Shirt 5k.”  They will be collecting running shoes, and apparel to donate.  Which leads me to…

1.  Check out some races you are running.  For example, some of the Rock N Roll races will have collections at their expos, such as Dallas and Arizona.   Follow the hashtag #RunRockRecycle for more!

2.  You can donate your “gently used” running shoes to local area thrift stores, such as the Salvation Army.   However, many of my running shoes are way more than “gently” used!  😉

3.  There are a number of organizations that collect running shoes to benefit athletes in the U.S. and around the world.  One World Running is an international program promoting an awareness of health, fitness and nutrition by providing running shoes to those in need in the United States and around the world. (From their Mission Statement).

Soles4Souls is another not-for-profit that collects running shoes and apparel to help fight poverty.  You can also find information on their website about holding your own shoe drive.

4.  Sometimes our running shoes are in such bad shape that they cannot really be donated.  So, how about grinding them down and making something new?  Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe does just that!  They grind down your old running shoes and use that to make new playground/track surfaces!  They even make carpet padding with recycled shoes.  (I know this, because we recently used this type of padding when renovating our attic).  🙂

5.  Don’t have the heart to throw out the pair of shoes that got your through your first big race?  How about re-purposing them?  Last year for Mother’s Day, my daughter’s preschool class painted an old pair of their shoes, added potting soil, and planted a flower.  You could try this with your old running shoes!  Wouldn’t your favorite sneakers look great in your garden, or backyard?  😉

What do you do with your old running shoes?  

Today I am once again linking up with Mar on the RunEat Pray Run DC, and You Signed Up for What?! for the Friday Five!  Check out some of the other great posts in the link up!


  1. I love #5! Our local running stores and the college campus where I work both have recycle bins for your old shoes. And the website Kind Runner offers a discount on new shoes when you send them your old ones (free shipping). Still, it is hard to give up those old shoes!

    • It is hard to give them up! I think I have an emotional attachment to each pair… 😉 That website, Kind Runner, sounds neat, I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love these ideas!! Right now I only have one old pair, and they are now my everyday shoes.

    • Yep, after they’ve hit their mileage, they are downgraded to everyday shoes. (After that, its a downgrade to lawn mowing shoes. Those aren’t so pretty). 😉

  3. This is great! I have so many shoes and some I’m not quite ready to part with yet, but three pairs could definitely find their way to good homes. Now I actually have some options!

    • Of all the shoes in the picture, I’ll probably only actually get rid of like 2. 😉 I think I may have a bit of an attachment to my running shoes… They all took me somewhere memorable.

  4. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  5. That’s such a cute DIY for the Mother’s Day gift! I usually give mine to Goodwill.

    • Thanks, it was super cute! Unfortunately, I have zero skills with keeping plants alive… So it was just a pair of shoes filled with dirt before too long. 😉

  6. Love the ideas 4 and 5! Most of my shoes are way more than gently-used, so I think those would be what I’d have to do with them 🙂 Much better than them sitting in my closet collecting dust and taking up space!

  7. Great ideas! I have a few old pairs of running shoes around the house that I need to get rid of before I move. I am hoping that I got donate them at the Rock N Roll USA expo in a few weeks!

  8. i repurpose or donate my old running shoes. this is a great list!!

  9. Kindrunner.com collects old running shoes and donates them to people who don’t have them as well! I always send mine in after I buy a new pair!

    • You’re the second person to mention Kind Runner, I had never heard of it before… Looks awesome, I’ll have to edit my list and add it! 😉

  10. I hadn’t heard of some of those options thanks for sharing! Always great to give back!

  11. A lot of running stores have boxes. I need to remember to bring my old ones in. It’s kind of sad though! So many good memories 🙂

    • Running stores are always a great resource! And you’re right, it is sad. Each pair took me somewhere awesome… 😉

  12. Great ways to recycle shoes! We usually donate them to Goodwill.

  13. Great ideas! I Love the one about making a flower pot out of them. I have a couple friends who are walkers and don’t think my used shoes are used at all. So I gladly give them to these ladies. They can still get lots of life out of them since they are casual walkers. I feel good knowing they are going to a good home and they love the “new” shoes too!

  14. I love these! I have held on to my old shoes because I wanted a photo of my progression from first pair to marathon, but I think I’m ready to let them all go.

  15. These are all wonderful ideas. But, I confess, I have a hard time giving away my running shoes. They are like memories. I need therapy. Ha.

  16. I love this idea for the Friday 5! I always bring my old pair with me to Pacers when I buy my new pair– they donate to Sole 4 Souls (at least I think that’s the org), so it’s an easy way to make sure no new running shoes are coming in unless the old set is going out!

  17. Great ideas.
    Right now I just horde them like a crazy woman and they become my yard work shoes, etc.
    I do need to get rid of some soon though.

  18. An additional idea for old running shoes is to save them for a mud run event. Saves you from ruining a newer pairs of shoes and less guilt when you throw away the mud-caked pair post-mud run.

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