A Guide to Shoe Donation: Why, Where, and How

Why Donate Old Shoes?

In the United States, 200,000,000 pairs of shoes end up in landfills every year. Most people throw away their used sneakers every 125-200 days without ever thinking of recycling them. Donating old shoes help you clean out your closet, the environment, and support a non-profit. It may be time to donate your shoes. when you still have several in your closet, but you just got new ones, or simply have a pile you don’t wear anymore. When you donate old shoes, you help create a sustainable program to recycle pre-loved shoes into secondhand markets (because worn to you doesn’t mean worn to someone else), so people can access quality, preowned footwear at affordable prices. Heavily used and damaged footwear can also be recycled which will keep them out of landfills. 

What should you do with old shoes?

Recycle: when your shoes might not be reusable

Not all shoes can get reused as-is, as some are just too worn down. However, you can still recycle your shoes when the textile components of your old footwear can be used to make something else. For example, heavily used footwear is recycled to reuse materials or convert to new energy sources.

Donate: when your shoes are still wearable

If the shoes are still wearable, a great way to repurpose them is to give them to someone else who will wear them. There are many organizations where you can donate your shoes, both locally and internationally, including Samaritan’s Feet. The simplest advice is to donate used shoes.

Where to donate shoes

Ship your shoes to Samaritan's Feet

Donating your shoes to a non-profit can send shoes to places and people further and farther, even internally. Your generosity will be expanded when you donate your used shoes. You don’t even have to pay for postage or bags, just sign up using the button below and you’ll receive everything you need in the mail.

When you host a shoe drive, you’re helping the environment, yourself by cleaning out your closet, and others because your shoes will be given to those in need.

Want to do more?

You can go beyond simply donating your shoes by learning more and taking one of these next action steps:

Organize your own shoe drive!

When you host a shoe drive, you’re helping the environment, yourself by cleaning out your closet, and others because your shoes will be given to those in need.

Encourage friends and family to donate as well

Sponsor a distribution

Shoe Distributions are the heart of Samaritan’s Feet—it’s where hope and a new pair of shoes is given to those in need. Our sponsors help make these events possible.

Volunteer at a distribution center

You can help process and prepare shoes that will be shipped around the world at the Samaritan’s Feet International Headquarters in Charlotte, NC.

Samaritan's Feet: how we help

Samaritan’s Feet is a humanitarian aid organization that serves and inspires hope by providing shoes to those in need around the world. Since its founding in 2003, Samaritan’s Feet and its partners have served more than 9 million people across 109 countries and 530 U.S. cities. Samaritan’s Feet believes that a new a pair of shoes and the act of foot-washing can provide a tangible foundation of hope and the opportunity for a better life, prompt children to focus in school and families not to worry, and protect feet to decrease the possibility of getting a foot-borne disease.