How to Recycle or Donate Your Old Tennis Shoes


So you have worn out your running or tennis shoes and now what do you do? Do you dispose of them in a trash can or toss them out in a dumpster? Well there is good news! Now there are multiple ways to recycle or donate them to various charities.

A tennis or running shoe is constructed of synthetic material and can have a leather or nylon lay with leather attachments. The shoe is made of synthetic and natural rubber and synthetic foam, which is primarily comprised of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and polyurethane. Fortunately, these materials can be recycled and reused.

Thanks to programs like Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe, these shoes can be put to good use. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program takes worn out shoes and recycles the materials to create Nike Grind. The Nike Grind is used to surface playgrounds, athletic fields, running tracks and even professional athletic field like the NFL.

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It is imperative you clean your shoes prior to donating or recycling them. All organizations ask you wash your shoes using a cold-water cycle and allow them to air dry.

Here is a list of organizations and their websites where you can recycle or donate your shoes:

One World Running
This Boulder, Colorado-based non-profit organization collects shoes and athletic clothing for people in need in the United States, Haiti, Central America, Africa and the Caribbean.

Give Your Sole
This organization collects used athletic shoes at races (including Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Seattle) and distributes them to less fortunate men, women and children in nine U.S. cities.

In addition to collecting used shoes for distribution in Africa, this New York non-profit raised money to build the first public children’s hospital in Kenya, which opened August 12, 2015.

Since 2006 Sole4Souls has delivered more than 26 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries around the word and all 50 states in the U.S. They collect new and gently worn shoes for relief efforts and supporting micro-enterprise business efforts in Central and South America, Haiti and Africa.

Share Your Soles
With over 2 million pairs of shoes delivered in 16 years, this Chicago-based organization collects gently worn shoes in Illinois, Indiana and California for worldwide redistribution.

Coulter Bright is the President and founder of Bend Environmental, Inc. Bend Environmental, Inc. is an independent third party testing and consulting company specializing in environmental hazards.


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