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How many pairs of shoes do you buy every year? Fashionista says the average American buys about seven pairs. At that rate, it is highly unlikely that a pair of shoes truly wears out before we are ready to move on. Should we just throw them away? That adds up to a lot of shoes heading to landfills.

There are other options. From charitable donations to passing along to friends and family to repurposing your shoes for something else, you have choices. Sending old footwear to the landfill isn’t a given.

If you are planning to do anything other than throw your old shoes away – and we really think you should – be sure to take care of them while you still own them. That begins with using shoe odor eliminators like our shoe deodorizers.

Donate to Charity

All sorts of charitable organizations collect old shoes and clothing. According to Fashionista, about 25% of all donated shoes are sold locally in thrift stores. The remaining are exported to other countries where new shoes are hard to come by.

Of course, this pertains to old shoes that are still usable. Donating worn out shoes with holes and rips isn’t cool. Charitable organizations can replace a sole, but that’s about it. Any other damage that makes shoes unwearable destines them for the landfill.

Pass Them Along

Similar to a charitable donation is passing your old shoes along to family members and friends. Before you wince, do you remember the old practice of wearing hand-me-downs? Way back before the introduction of cheap imported goods, hand-me-downs were an American mainstay. Anyone born prior to the 1980s would have worn them at some point.

Passing old clothing items along to family members and friends isn’t reserved just for pants and shirts. You can pass along your shoes, too. Just make sure you use a good deodorizing spray until you are ready to give them away. And then give them a good cleaning before you pass them along.

Repurpose Your Old Shoes

Repurposing old shoes is not hard if you use your imagination. Just do a Google search and you will find hundreds of creative ideas. Here are just a few, from the website:

  • Planters – Shoes of all styles make excellent planters for both indoors and out. Just fill them up with dirt and add plants or seeds. The spaces where your feet used to be offer plenty of room for roots to spread out.
  • Pin Cushion – Baby shoes, sneakers, and old loafers easily become pin cushions. Just fill them with something to make them more rigid, then start sticking your pins. It’s almost therapeutic.
  • Birdhouse – Believe it or not, you can turn an old shoe into a birdhouse simply by attaching it to a tree or a pole, with the toe facing down. Smaller birds will fill it with their natural bedding and move right in.
  • A Coat Rack – If you’ve got old heels, try mounting them on a piece of wood with the heels at bottom and facing out. Then attach the entire thing to your wall. You instantly have a creative coat hanger. If nothing else, it will be a conversation starter.

Millions of pairs of shoes end up in landfills every year. That’s too bad because we don’t have to throw them away. Use ShoeFresh shoe deodorizing spray to keep your shoes smelling like new for as long as you own them. And when you are ready to move on, consider a charitable donation, passing them along, or repurposing them.