What to Do with Your Old Hiking Shoes

If you are anything like me, you probably have 3-4 pair of shoes leftover from your thru hike sitting in a corner somewhere. They are un-wearable, torn, frayed, and covered in unspeakable substances. What do you do with these foul smelling piss-covered abominations that you have come to love so much?

You can’t wear them anymore. For a while they were the only thing that felt good on your feet. Every time you put on that last pair of shoes, the ones that took you up Katahdin or Springer, you felt the last vestiges of a great journey. But alas, the complaints of the smell were becoming too many. Friends and family stopped visiting, and perhaps you shouldn’t have worn them to that job interview.

When it comes to getting rid of shoes there have traditionally been two options. Donate them or throw them away.

But you can’t just throw them away!

They have carried your heavy ass hundreds if not thousands of miles!

I know! I could frame them! That would be great!” Says you and nobody else.

Okay but seriously, the thought of just unceremoniously throwing them out is a bit disconcerting. Besides, you spent 6 months communing with nature, you’re a conservationist now, and you don’t want to add to landfills if you don’t have to.

Okay so donate them.

Yes” you think, “donate them, now someone can enjoy these shoes just as much as I have.”

Do you really think that someone would want to wear your horrific mold-covered duct-taped shoe flaps? I think not.

In the off chance that you were nice to your shoes and feel like they deserve a new home, there are a few options for where you can donate your inanimate buddies. You might also have some sneakers that just don’t fit anymore because your feet have grown from months of hauling around a heavy pack.

You can drop your shoes off at the local donation box or you can participate in a shoe drive with an organization such as Soles 4 Souls. Soles 4 Souls accepts gently used shoes and distributes them to ultra small businesses in impoverished areas such as Haiti to provide shoes and create jobs.


But I digress, lets get back to your disintegrating and festering foot holes that have essentially beome hard socks.

We have already decided that it would be a crime to throw them away and mom won’t let you bury them in the back yard, so what do you do?

Recycle them

Since 1990 Nike has been collecting sneakers that have been worn thin and recycling them. The Nike Reuse-a-shoe program takes your old shoes, rips them apart, and turns them into turf, tracks, and courts. AWESOME.

You can drop them off at Nike stores or even mail them in. Now your odiferous jury-rigged foot covers can live on, bringing happiness to children everywhere.

Watch this video!


Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 6

  • john : May 30th


  • Paul Boulay : Sep 7th

    I turned my 2000 mile, re-constructed (at Gorham), re-soled (at Port Jervis) Raicle’s into book-ends for my set of Guide books.

  • Melanie Chase : Sep 6th

    In the event that you were climbing in the desert or on a shoreline I would concur. Be that as it may, being as quite a bit of Iceland is secured with exceptionally unpleasant and sharp divided volcanic shake and icy till. you will be entirely awkward attempting to climb with athletic shoes. do my homework online.

  • Heather : Nov 11th

    Note that the Reuse-A-Shoe program doesn’t accept hiking boots.


What Do You Think?