How to recycle your old running shoes

Whether you buy sports shoes to run a marathon, walk around the block, or take the dog to the park, when they wear out and you throw them in the bin, they are going to landfill. Here’s what you can do with them instead.

April 7, 2022

According to the Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA), more than 25 million pairs of sports shoes are imported into Australia each year but just 1% are recycled. When running shoes go to landfill, their components can take up to 1000 years to decompose; that’s an awfully long time for items that are often discarded after just a year of use.

ASGA has teamed up with leading Australian recycling partner Save Our Soles (SOS) to create TreadLightly.

This is a national recycling initiative that takes old sport and active lifestyle footwear and recycles it here in Australia to give it new life.

If your footwear is still in good condition, donate it to a charity store; if it’s beyond use, take them to a collection unit and they will be recycled.

Here’s how it works

  • Customer drops off pre-loved sports shoes at one of the 400+ collection locations at participating retail locations.
  • Donated footwear is sent to the recycling plant here in Australia for sorting, breakdown, and processing.
  • Reusable components are extracted, including rubber, leather, and fibres at the recycling facility.
  • Reclaimed materials are used to manufacture new products such as gym mats, floors, and playgrounds.

What shoes can I recycle?

They accept:

  • Athletic lifestyle shoes
  • Any sports branded shoes
  • Thongs & slides
  • Football boots
  • Leather sports shoes
  • Hiking boots
  • Sneakers
  • Trainers
  • Runners
  • Golf shoes

They DO NOT accept:

  • Business footwear
  • Formal leather school shoes
  • Steel cap boots
  • Work boots
  • Wedges
  • Pumps
  • Leather dress boots & ballet flats
  • Heels

Find your local shoe collection point


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