Bunch of kids' old shoes placed in one closet

What to Do With Kids’ Old Shoes? Repairing, Recycling, and Donating

Are kids’ shoes ever going to get old? Kids’ feet grow so fast that they usually outgrow them even before they get a chance to wear them out. In that situation, kids’ footwear is often new, so throwing them would be a very unpleasant thing to do. However, reselling kids’ old shoes or even donating them is a great idea!

If you like buying these types of shoes, luckily there are many places you can find them, usually near you. The best thing is that many of these shoes are often very preserved that look like new ones! Also, instead of buying you can also resell and donate your kids; old shoes. So, if you have a chance to do such a thing and surprise a kid with new pair of kicks, do it! 

Today, we will help you with what you can do with your kids’ old footwear and what places you can donate them or resell them!

What to Do with Kids’ Old Shoes?

Believe it or not, you can do many things with your kids or even your old shoes! To name a few, you can use them in your garden, do different crafts, try to repair them, and even donate them.


Luckily, many organizations support footwear reselling programs along with recycling options. And the best thing of all, if you decide to donate them, you can make one or a few unfortunate kids very happy! So, let’s dive into something you can do with your kids’ old shoes!

Recycling Kids’ Old Shoes

One of the best things you can do is recycle. And we mean that in every aspect of your life! Recycle plastic, glass, old clothes, and even your kids’ old footwear! Not only that you can make a massive difference to our planet, but you can also aid in making more sustainable shoes for future generations! 

As we mention, kids quickly outgrow their shoes. Thus, parents often buy many shoes between growth sprouts, which is understandable and necessary. This is mainly because there are different types of shoes for kids, and each pair has its own purpose. 


Until your kid reaches the age of 12, he/she will have around 25 pairs of shoes. Which is a lot, right? Let’s see. If you decide to throw them, each pair will take approximately 40 years for landfills to break them down. Now imagine how much time is needed for so many pairs of shoes throughout childhood. Thus, recycling is essential for preventing pollution on the planet.

Here are the top three programs where you can go and recycle your kids’ old shoes!


Terracycle is a private US business for recycling any type of footwear. All you need to do is choose a box on their website for your pair of shoes, and the package will be delivered right to your doorstep. As soon it’s packed, just ship it back to Terracycle; they’ll reuse, upcycle, and recycle it. They provide boxes for almost all types of shoes, including sneakers, summer shoes, and winter footwear.


Soles4Souls is a nonprofit organization that recycles shoes and clothes. Thus, if kids’ shoes are barely worn, consider Soles4Souls. They have a lot of drop-off locations, so it is a very covenant to recycle with them. Find the nearest one you have, or you can even ship footwear to them for free. The nonprofit organization Soles4Souls assists people in developing countries with launching and sustaining their own businesses selling donated shoes. They save 66 million pounds of textiles from landfills by collecting old shoes and clothing.

Upcycle That

Upcycle That is a place where you can upcycle anything and give the old stuff new ideas. Instead of throwing them into the trash, repurpose and reuse those old vegan shoes. This way, you can give that old footwear a new purpose and a new life instead of ruining our landfills. 


Besides easy recycling, you can do other great things with your kid’s old footwear. Let’s see some examples.

1. Enhance Your Garden

Use your kids’ old shoes to enhance your beautiful garden. Take a pair of footwear and use it as a flowerpot. Planting some flowers in the shoes represents a unique and innovative idea for adding a classy touch to your garden. 

It only takes potting soil, seedlings, and water to get started. Fill the shoe with potting soil, plant the seedlings carefully, and water them. Necessarily make drainage holes on the bottom of the shoe. Believe it or not, it’s that simple. It’s advisable to locate the plant away from direct sunlight for a while until the plants become strong enough. Afterward, move it to a sunny location and care for it according to the plant’s needs.

2. Creative Crafts for Kids

Instead of throwing old shoes away, use them to get creative. Kids will have so much fun! For instance, your kids can paint and draw on them to create something different and unique. Also, you can help your kids to make pincushions to place sewing needles. And, with some Internet help, you can craft wall hangers. This is usually made from suitable shoe material (natural rubber/leather) from your kids’ sleepers, where you can make hangers for things such as keys.

3. Repair Old Kids’ Shoes and Make New Ones

Don’t throw away your kids’ old shoes if they’re badly worn. Instead, invest in repairing them. Doing so can prolong this life span, especially if the shoes are still a good fit and comfortable. But, of course, if your kid has outgrown them, repairing them is no point.

Luckily, many local businesses can help you glue that detached sole or polish them to look brand new!

4. Donating Old Kids’ Shoes

If your kid has shoes in good condition but has outgrown them, it’s always a good idea to donate them. Unfortunately, many kids live in extreme poverty where their parents can’t afford basic necessities. You can help these kids by simply by giving away your kids’ shoes that they do not wear/outgrow or for any other reasons. These include all types of footwear like running shoes, hiking shoes, or those summer sandals for hot days. Here are a few organizations where you can make your donations and sell shoes.

One World Running

One World Running is a non-profit organization located in Colorado, US. This organization aims to collect footwear and clothing for people who are willing to donate it. They will manage it, clean the shoes, and send them to kids in developing countries. You can easily donate anything you want and help one of the kids in your country or worldwide. They also organize a 5K walk/runs to encourage physical activity and to improve interpersonal understanding and kindness.


Kidizen is a marketplace where you can resell your kids’ old footwear and clothing. It is straightforward and very convenient. Aside from selling used shoes, you can also buy second-hand things you want for your kid. This way, things circle around without making waste in our landfills.

It’s From The Sole

It’s From The Sole is another non-profit organization that distributes footwear for those in need. However, this organization accepts only new and unused shoes. So, for instance, if you bought your kid shoes that are not a good fit or your kid received unfitting shoes as a present, you can simply donate them. This organization works with everyone, from individuals to local businesses, so you can easily provide them with your kids’ unused footwear and help a kid in need. 



  • Petra Moskatelo

    Petra is the main editor and writer here at Footmeter. She is passionate about helping people find the right solution. She holds a university Master's degree in pedagogy, and she knows a lot about children and learning.