Extending the Life of Your Shoes and What To Do When They’re Worn Out

Whether you wear the same pair of shoes every day or rotate through several throughout the week, shoes deteriorate over time. If you wear the same ones every day, the deterioration will happen much faster. As someone who wants to make environmentally friendly choices, you may wonder what in the world to do with your worn out shoes. Millions of shoes go to landfills every year, but is there a way to reduce that number?

The answer is yes.

Keep reading to find out how to extend the life of your shoes, whether it be keeping them wearable or donating them to a great cause.

Clean Your Shoes Regularly

One of the best ways to prevent your shoes from wearing out is to take better care of them. If they get wet, towel them off and stuff the inside with newspaper to absorb extra moisture. This is especially important for leather shoes. Exposing leather to heat will likely dehydrate it and break down the glue holding it together.

If your shoes get muddy, scrape off as much dirt as possible before washing it. You can use toothpaste and a brush, or put them in the washer on the gentle cycle with cold water. Remove the laces before to prevent warping, and add towels to prevent damage to your shoes and/or washer.

Donate to Someone in Need

If there is plenty of life left in your shoes but you do not wear them anymore, you can donate them to those who cannot afford shoes. Check your local area for donations, or you can use international organizations. The pair you donate will need to be clean and without holes.

Repurpose Worn Out Shoes

If your shoes are starting to fall apart and are in no shape to be donated, you can always repurpose them. Shoes do not have the sole purpose (no pun intended!) of living their life out on your feet. There are plenty of ways to continue to use them.

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Image Source: Pixabay

Turn Them Into a Planter

All you would need is soil, fertilizer, and a plant. Put them into your worn out pair and you will have a unique planter. Some use flowers, some use ferns, and some even add succulents. You can use any kind of shoe too, whether it be hiking boots or high heels.

Fill Them With Sand

This one only works with closed-toe shoes. Fill them with sand or something heavy to create a neat doorstop or bookend. Just make sure you clean them first!

Donate to Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program

Nike created this program back in the 1990’s so that they (and other companies) can reuse the materials from worn out shoes. Once your shoes are so trashed they cannot be used for anything else, send them to Nike. They use the rubber from the sole, foam from the midsole, and fabric from the upper. Nike grinds up the materials so other companies can use them to surface tennis and basketball courts, running tracks, and playgrounds. Some materials are even used in new Nike products. Read the information here to know which shoes they accept and do not accept.


Now you know that you do not need to worry about what to do with your worn out shoes. There are so many ways to use them when you no longer wear them that keep them out of landfills. There are also different ways you can reuse other clothes and accessories. This can make your life just a little bit greener.

Image Source: Pixabay

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Lacey Jolley

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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