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What to Do With Old Shoes

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 19 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
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If you have shoes lying around that you just know you won’t use anymore, don’t throw them in the bin. There are plenty of other ways to use them up and keep them out of landfill.

Revamp Your Shoes

If the only reason you’re getting rid of the shoes is because they’re worn out, consider whether they could be rescued. Re-heeling and re-soling is a cost-effective way to bringing weathered shoes back to life. A spin in the washing machine can often make trainers look as good as new.

If you just don’t find the shoes very inspirational, you could have a go at jazzing them up yourself. For example, using stamps or stamp-sized decorative paper, decoupage glue and gloss, you could give your shoes a radical update.Similarly, the addition of accessories such as buttons, bows and shoe clips (available second-hand) can give shoes a new lease of life and gives an individual look.

Giving Shoes Away

Even if the shoes no longer fit your taste or personal style, you can bet there’s someone else who will want to wear them.It’s easy to give shoes away through your local Freecycle group (a giveaway network) or by donating to charity shops.It’s also worth calling homeless shelters in your area to see if any donations of wearable shoes would be useful to them.If you think some of your friends might like the shoes, you may be able to give them away as part of a clothes swapping party.If you’re giving shoes away, tie them together by the laces or put them in a bag as otherwise they can become separated. Single shoes can’t be sold on.

Making Money from Old Shoes

If the shoes are in good condition, but you just don’t wear them, you might be able to make some extra cash by selling your shoes on a site such as eBay or at a car boot sale.

If the shoes are vintage or have a retro look, you may find that second-hand shops are interested in buying them from you.

Recycling Unwanted Shoes

Some tips and recycling centres will have a specific bin for shoes. If you put your shoes in there, the shoes will be sorted by recycling professionals. Those which can be will be sent to third world countries. Those which can’t be worn will be stripped down and the individual parts recycled.

Some charitable organisations and sports shops will collect old sports shoes – even single ones – and have them recycled into projects such as rubber playground areas.

Getting Creative With Old Shoes

Some people have found very creative ways to use their old shoes around the home. These include:

  • Nailing shoes to a garage wall to hold tools
  • Using shoes or boots as a quirky garden planter
  • The toe-ends of trainers can be cut off and used to protect golf clubs
  • Some people donate their shoes to their dog – dogs notoriously like to play with shoes
  • Going to a wedding? The shoes might be useful to tie to the wedding car for a traditional send-off

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