First of all, if you have shoes that can be repaired, you just have to give them some new look and/or donate them. If not, search for a local
Below you can read zero waste minimalist Shia’s (WastelandRebel) experience with donating/recycling old shoes:
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These are 5 pairs of old (athletic) shoes even our cobbler has deemed unrepairable 😅. Both hubby and I wear our shoes until they literally fall apart and cannot be repaired and worn anymore. So I was looking into ways to recycle shoes. Turned out, there isn’t much #recycling going on when it comes to shoes. You can donate them, but if the shoes cannot be repaired anymore, they will just get disposed of. If they can still be worn, they are mostly shipped off to African, Asian, or Eastern European countries, where they destroy the local markets 💔! If you are lucky, they will get sold in charitable shops in your own country, but that is a gamble. So the best way to ensure your still wearable shoes (and clothes) will not destroy some other country's economy, the best way is to give them away in local Facebook groups or on Craigslist. But what about these unrepairable shoes? I found out that @nike has this “reuse a shoe program” in North America and Europe. As they state on their German website, you can drop off up to 10 pairs of athletic shoes at “most Nike and Converse retail stores” . You know what? I tried several stores, but not a single store had heard of the program! So I called Nike customer service. And turned out, the program does exist, but they do not have ANY drop off locations in Germany AT ALL (despite what they say on their website!), because there isn’t a person in charge of this program here in Germany and so they do not tell their retailers about the program. The only way is to send your shoes as a parcel to Nike’s recycling facility in Belgium 😣 – at your own cost! Not to mention the environmental impact of individual parcels sent to Belgium. So this is it: To support the recycling of shoes and so they will continue their program and start to actually enforce it (and only because I do live pretty close to the Belgium border anyway) I am sending these 5 pairs as a parcel to Belgium. BUT since there is a national border in between I get to pay 14.79 EUR (USD 15.71, GBP 12.61, CAD 20.52, AUD 20.26) for shipping.
If you are considering throwing them away, then take a look to these ideas to reuse old shoes without wearing them:
How To Make Decoupage Magazine Shoes
Even more ideas find them on Pinterest