Everyone, no matter who they are, what they do, or where they live, needs shoes. Many Americans, however, can’t afford shiny new shoes, sneakers, or even sandals. That’s why shoe donation is a great way to go. Donating your old (but gently used) shoes, and other footwear is so important. Rather than throwing them away, they could help someone in need to work, walk, shop, etc. In short, donating your shoes is much better than tossing them in the trash (in most cases, at least).
When To Toss or Make a Shoe Donation
The biggest question about used shoes and sneakers is this; should I donate them or toss them in the trash? It’s a good question that’s slightly difficult to answer (but we’ll do our best for you).
Toss your shoes and sneakers if:
- They’re so severely worn that wearing them would be unwise.
- They have holes in the soles.
- They are, for whatever reason, gross and disgusting.
Make a shoe donation if:
- They are lightly worn.
- The soles are in good, strong shape.
- They aren’t damaged or stained.
- They’re clean and don’t smell like old garbage.
Storing a Shoe Collection in a Storage Unit
Some people, for better or worse, own a giant shoe or sneaker collection. If that’s you and want to keep them but don’t have the room, a storage unit works great. Storage units are affordable and clean, as well as safe and secure. You can store hundreds of pairs in a small, 5×5 storage unit, too, so you don’t need one that’s massive. Your shoe or sneaker collection will stay safe and clean in a storage unit. Plus, back at home, you’ll have a lot more closet space. (Room for more new shoes?)
The Best Locations to Make Shoe Donations
Below are several organizations that accept donations of used shoes and sneakers. They then either give them away to the needy or sell them and use the profits for other good works. If you want to make a shoe donation, all are deserving and will make sure they go to good use.
Shoeman Water Projects
Shoeman Water Projects is on a mission to wipe out water poverty in the world. (That’s where people have little access to clean, fresh water.) At the same time, they also collect donations of gently-used shoes from places like schools, churches, shoe drives, and so forth. They then export the shoes to countries where the population is struggling, like Kenya, Peru, and Haiti. The funds this generates are used to help these countries with their water problems. If you make a shoe donation to Shoeman, you’re helping people get the healthy, refreshing, life-giving water they need!
Shoeman Water Projects
65 Chesterfield Mall
Chesterfield, MO 63017
(877) 709-SHOE (7463)
At Soles4Sous, they provide several programs to needy members of the community, all funded by used shoes! For example, they collect shoes and distribute them to people in need around the United States. They also help entrepreneurs launch their own shoe-selling business. They focus on empowering women and doing it all while keeping the health of the planet in mind. (Fewer shoes and sneakers in landfills.) In short, they’re a wonderful organization that deserves your support (and gently used shoes!). When it comes to making a shoe donation, there are few organizations more deserving than Soles4Souls.
319 Martingale Dr.
Old Hickory, Tennessee
One World Running
Like many, One World Running is an international program. They provide running shoes to people in need in the United States and many other countries. Also, they sponsor 5K walks and runs to foster goodwill and show the importance of exercise. They have several locations around the United States where shoes and sneakers can be dropped off. Interestingly, any shoes they receive that aren’t usable are sent to Nike, the famous sneaker company in Beaverton, Oregon. They have a Reuse-A-Shoe program there and grind up shoes and sneakers to make running tracks and playgrounds. By the way, One World Running also has an address on their website where you can send donated shoes.**
One World Running
Locations Across the United States
More Volunteering and Donation Tips on the Blog:
This post was originally published on 1/3/2019. It was updated on 3/11/2021.