What To Do With Old Running Shoes

When it comes to running, finding the perfect pair of shoes is crucial. However, as time goes on and miles are logged, those once-pristine running shoes start to show signs of wear and tear. Whether it’s the worn-out soles, torn mesh, or broken laces, it’s inevitable that our beloved running shoes will eventually need to be replaced. But what should you do with your old running shoes? Let’s dive into some options.

Donate to a Good Cause

One of the best things you can do with your old running shoes is to donate them to a good cause. Many organizations collect used running shoes and distribute them to those in need. These shoes often end up in the hands of individuals who may not have the means to purchase new running shoes but still have a passion for the sport. By donating your old running shoes, you’re not only reducing waste but also helping someone continue their running journey.

Recycle and Reuse

If your running shoes are beyond repair, recycling is a great option. Several shoe recycling programs exist that disassemble your old shoes and repurpose the materials. The rubber soles can be used for playground surfaces, while the fabric and laces can be recycled into new products. Check with your local waste management authorities or running shoe brands to find out if they have recycling programs in place.

Repurpose for Other Activities

Just because your running shoes are no longer suitable for running doesn’t mean they can’t serve another purpose. Consider repurposing them for other activities such as gardening, hiking, or any other outdoor activities that may require sturdy footwear. The worn-out soles may provide excellent traction on slippery surfaces, and the worn-in comfort can make them perfect for casual walks or hikes.

Souvenir or Keepsake

If you’ve had a pair of running shoes that hold sentimental value, you may want to consider transforming them into a souvenir or keepsake. Clean them up, place them in a shadow box, and add some personal mementos like race bibs, medals, or photos. Displaying them in a prominent place can be a great reminder of the running milestones you’ve achieved and the memories associated with them.


As runners, we develop a bond with our shoes. They carry us through countless miles and become a part of our journey. When the time comes to retire your old running shoes, remember that there are several options available. Whether you choose to donate them, recycle and reuse, repurpose them, or turn them into a keepsake, make sure to give them a proper farewell. And don’t forget, finding a new pair of running shoes is always an exciting opportunity to continue your running adventure.