How to Donate Your Used Running Shoes

Give Your Running Shoes a Second Life

Close up of trainers running through mossy terrain
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Since runners replace their running shoes fairly frequently, we're always looking for ways to recycle them. Here are some organizations that collect used running shoes:

  • Soles4Souls is a shoe charity that gives "gently used" shoes to those in need. You can buy a shipping label to ship the shoes to them or you can find a drop-off site. The Soles4Souls team coordinated relief efforts for the Asian tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, netting over 1 million pairs donated for these disasters. Since they started in 2006 they have distributed 26 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries and all 50 states.
  • Nike's Reuse-a-Shoe program collects worn-out athletic shoes (any brand, not just Nike) and recycles them (rather than going into landfills) into material used in sports surfaces like basketball courts, tennis courts, athletic fields, running tracks and playgrounds for kids around the world. They also use the resulting "Nike Grind" in new products like the zipper pull of a jacket. They have recycled 28 million pairs of shoes. You can find a store location to drop off your shoe donation. The drop-off stores are Nike Factory Stores and Nike employee stores. 
  • One World Running is an international program promoting an awareness of health, fitness and nutrition by providing running shoes to those in need in the United States and around the world. They have drop-off locations and they receive shoes from shoe drives hosted by running clubs and Girl Scout troops. They send the near-new shoes overseas, while the others they give to Nike to be used in making the Nike Grind.
  • GreenSneakers is a non- profit organization providing meaningful and effective fundraising opportunities to local charities, that ultimately impacts people in need around the world. Sneakers collected through the GreenSneakers program are made available as affordable footwear in developing countries. Charities engaged in sneaker collections at various events benefit financially from the shoe donations, making it possible for them to further their cause.
  • Shoe Bank is a Dallas-based organization that provides shoes for 25,000 people every year -- primarily children, both in the United States and abroad. They accept all kinds good of shoes including athletic shoes, dress shoes, and children's shoes. They distribute shoes to homeless shelters, shelters for battered women and children, refugee services and hospitals. They also work with international relief organizations to send them where they are the most needed.
  • Share Your Sole is an Illinois-based organization that collects, cleans, and distributes gently-used shoes to needy and impoverished people all over the world. They accept gently worn or new shoes of any kind. They have many drop-off sites in the Chicago area. They ask that you box, seal and label the shoes and label it with Share Your Sole before taking them to the drop-off location. You can box them all together, but limit the number to five pairs.
  • Shoe4Africa is a nonprofit organization that distributes gently used running shoes to those in need and also initiates HIV/AIDS awareness programs. They only accept running shoes and soccer cleats. They are given to individuals who earn the shoes by running a footrace. You must ship them yourself to them in Kenya. They must pay the import duty on them when they receive them, so they only want good shoes.

    If you know of other organizations collecting used running shoes, please email me about them.

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