What Do You Do With Old Running Shoes?

I recently bought new running shoes and that somehow brought to my attention the collection of old running shoes I have amassed. Stacks of Saucony boxes in my closet. It’s gotten to the point of too many to keep and too little space.

Ways to recycle and reuse old running shoes…


1. Wear them for non-traditional type races like Color Me Rad. Typically short distance and very easy pace.

2. You can get a little more distance out of a pair of running shoes on the trails.

3. Old running shoes are perfect for events that you would never consider wearing you newest pair. A mud run is the perfect example. Short distance, trail, easy pace, and an endless supply of mud that may or may not all come off.

Recylce (This is so cool!)

Nike started a program called Reuse-A-Shoe in 1993. They take old running shoes or athletic shoes and grind them up. They use the ground up materials to make many things. The rubber is used for baseball and soccer fields, weight-room floors, and running tracks. The foam is used for synthetic basketball courts, tennis courts, and playground surfacing. The cloth upper fabric is used for padding underneath basketball courts.

A drop-off location near you can be found by searching on:



  1. Soles 4 Souls
 shoe companies, retailers, and individuals can donate footwear both new and used to those in need around the world.
  2. Hope Runs is a nonprofit group working in Kenya and Tanzania, using athletics, education, and social entrepreneurship to empower AIDS orphans. They accept donations, including running shoes.
  3. Shoe 4 Africa
 is a charitable organization whose mission is “empowerment through sports and education, creating unique health initiatives, and promoting Aids awareness.”
  4. One World Running is a group of runners in Boulder, Colorado, that collects, washes and sends new and “near-new” athletic shoes along with other athletic equipment to Third World countries.
  5. The Shoe Bank
 provides shoes for 25,000 people every year—primarily children—both here and abroad.
  6. Warren Striders Track Club, Inc.
 Provides running shoes to local and area low/moderate income families who often are unable to purchase adequate running shoes to their children.
  7. Sole Responsibility is  
a nonprofit organization formed by a group of runners in Ottawa, Canada who donate gently used running and walking shoes overseas.
  8. Shoes for Planet Earth
 is an organization based out of Sydney, Australia, Shoes for Planet Earth provides shoes to those who need them in Australia, Africa, and Asia.

I’m not surprised but I had no idea there were so many charities and organizations whose purpose was to provide shoes to those in need.

Any of these ideas are much more useful and gratifying than slowly creating a small mountain of old running shoes and shoe boxes in your closet.

I challenge everyone to pick at least one organization between now and the end of the year and donate a pair of old running or workout shoes. Come back and let me know what organization you chose.

What do you do with your old running (or exercise) shoes? Do you know of other agencies that accept shoe donations?


About Jill Conyers

My name is Jill, welcome to my blog! Jill Conyers | Fitness, Health and Happiness follows my life and my passion for family, fitness, nutrition and healthy living. I love being outdoors, conversations with my kids, run dates with my husband and creating in the kitchen.

Posted under Ambassador, Challenge, Fitness, Motivation, Running

40 comments on “What Do You Do With Old Running Shoes?

  1. Jill,

    I always save my old sneakers/running shoes for trips. In January we will be going back to Africa and I will leave behind my running shoes at our last game camp and ask the owners to donate to a local school. It saves on my luggage home and helps the locals. They had a running shoe donation booth at the Expo for our race last weekend which I thought was clever too. (Wicked 10k Virginia Beach)

  2. Great reminder- there are so many ways for those shoes to continue to get good use. Especially because at 300-400 miles, some of my shoes still look relatively new. I always recycle them through my local running store, but will have to check out some of these donations as well!

  3. Great ideas, Jill. I have donated mine in the past and now tend to wear them as walking shoes till they wear out. Will look into some of your Canadian ideas. Thanks.

  4. The local running store (Charm City Run!) where I buy new shoes gives you 10% new shoes for trading in an old pair and donates them to charity so I usually do that!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this info! As soon as I saw this post title I knew I had to read it because I have sooo many old running shoes I have no idea what to do with! I never knew about all this charities out there, it’s a shape they don’t advertise themselves more :( I really like though what Nike has done! I love bringing in the new with the old! I will definitely be spreading the word on this recycling process. You’re a gem!

  6. I thought that it was great that when I did my mud run, that they accepted shoe donations! I took off my muddy shoes, they cleaned them up and donated to charity! Thanks for sharing all these links! Im sure I’ll need to donate again soon!

  7. All are wonderful options… i have donated my past shoes to Nike before. There is a huge homeless population in San Francisco, so most of the time I’ll give my shoes to someone. They are still really good shoes, and I know they still have some use in them. I try to keep them as clean as possible when I hand them off.

  8. Great post and thanks for the links. I have a huge box of old shoes that I need to get rid of. Many of our local races collect them but I always forget to bring them with.

  9. Funny that you ask….A local cross country high school team in our area is in dire need of gently used running shoes. Since runners replace their shoes every 6 months, our shoes are gently used to a needy high school student. The running store in our neighborhood is a drop-odd site.

    Running shoe stores are often drop off sites for Souls for Soles or local homeless shelters so you can save on shipping and still do good in the ‘hood.

  10. OMG! I wish I had realized a long time ago that you can donate shoes or that Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe existed! Thankfully, all of my old running shoes are in a nice stack in my closet as well so looks like I have some donating to do! Thanks for sharing this!

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  12. I generally takes my shoes to our local fleet feet, they donate them to some organization, but can’t remember what. I did the muddy buddy this summer and left my shoes with them as well. I’m all about donating while decluttering :)

  13. My local running store (Runner’s Den) collects use shoes and donates to less fortunate runners as well. I always bring my old ones in when purchasing new shoes!

  14. The local Vietnam Vets in my home town always do collections for military families in need. They get my running shoes whenever they come :)

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