In this guide:
- Why should I recycle my shoes?
- How can I recycle my shoes?
- Recycling shoes for charity
- How can I upcycle my old shoes?
- How can I upcycle my old heels?
Did you know that there are enough unused shoes in UK households to stretch around the world? A study by Oxfam found that each of us has on average seven unused pairs of shoes each. Here at Shoe Zone, we think that’s a more than just a bit of a waste. Learn how to recycle your shoes so they’re put to good use
Why should I recycle my shoes?
There are so many benefits to recycling your old shoes. By recycling your old trainers, heels or shoes when you’re done wearing them, you can:
- Reduce landfill waste
- Decrease your carbon footprint
- Provide less fortunate people with footwear
- Give new life to a product you no longer need
- Support the world’s developing nations
Decomposing shoes can cause big problems for the environment. When breaking down, organic shoe materials such as leather, release methane which contributes to climate change.
Providing your old shoes can prevent soil-transmitted infections, which affect around one-quarter of the global population. In many cases, footwear can prevent these infections occurring.
How can I recycle my shoes?
There two popular ways to recycle your shoes:
Donate old shoes to charity.
- Instead of throwing your tatty shoes away, you can still donate them using a shoe bank or shoe recycle bin, and the textile parts of the shoe will be made into something more useful.
- Search for sportswear companies collecting old shoes. Several sportswear brands recycle shoes, including Nike, which runs a Reuse-a-Shoe As part of this scheme, old shoes are transformed into everything from new footwear to large scale sports surfaces.
Recycling shoes for charity
Wearable shoes in good condition can easily be resold at charity shops or dropped off at a charity shoe recycle bin near you. If you want to donate your old shoes, Shoe Aid and Sal’s Shoes are a good place to start. These charities send your old shoes to developing nations to provide less fortunate people with footwear. Charity shops will accept all types of shoes as long as they are wearable. Shoes usually take quite a few years to decompose – running shoes can take up to 1,000 years to break down.
BBC Children in Need
We actively encourage shoe recycling at Shoe Zone. We work with charities, including BBC Children in Need, to collect unwanted shoes from our customers and send them where they are needed. We also fundraise by selling Pudsey slippers, which are available online and in-store during BBC Children in Need around November when the event takes place. Find out more about our charity work.
How can I upcycle my old shoes?
If you’re not quite ready to part ways with your shoes, then there are plenty of ways you can give them a new lease of life before recycling by:
- Treating trainers to a new pair of laces
- Sewing patches onto canvas shoes
- Dyeing canvas a new shade for a whole new look
- Decorating using sharpies or fabric paint
How can I upcycle my old heels?
If you have that one pair of heels that you absolutely adore but are looking a little tired now, we’ve got you. To spruce them up, you can use sequins, glitter, jewels or add rhinestones following these three easy steps.
1) Glide a layer of PVA glue onto your shoe then add your choice of bling.
2) Add jewels section by section as the PVA glue can dry relatively quickly.
3) Leave this to dry for about 12 hours before showing off your skills.
Next time you’re finished with a pair of shoes, make a smart choice and recycle. By following these tips from Shoe Zone you could really make a difference to both the planet and someone’s life. Take a look at our top 2019 shoe trends to find your next replacement pair of shoes today.