Can Tennis Shoes Be Recycled?

In this increasingly green-conscious world, more and more people are starting to recycle items that they never would have imagined were recyclable. Tennis shoes never used to be recycled. So, can tennis shoes be recycled? Let’s take a look!

How Do You Know When It Is Time to Give up Your Tennis Shoes?

No shoes will last forever. Particularly a pair of sports shoes. If you have gone to the lengths of purchasing even the best pair of tennis shoes, then it is likely that you are going to be playing a whole lot of tennis. This means that your shoes could wear out pretty quickly. In fact, for most people that play regularly, it is not uncommon to replace shoes at least once every 6 months. How do you know your shoes need replacing? Well, there will be a few tell-tale signs. These signs include:
  1. Poor Fit – Eventually, even tying your laces tighter will have zero impact on how the shoe grips your feet. If this happens, then your shoes need to be replaced. Loose shoes increase your risk of injury.
  2. Gripping – If you find that you are slower in your movements, then your tennis shoes will need to be replaced.
  3. Slippage – If you notice that the treads of your tennis shoes have started to wear away, then you will need to replace your tennis shoes sooner rather than later.
Ideally, if you a environmentally-conscious person, then you will want to try and keep your tennis shoes for as long as possible. Do not be the person who replaces their tennis shoes every couple of months. If you are not playing to a pro-level, this is just pointless and creates needless pollution.

Why Recycle Tennis Shoes?

Because landfills around the world are filling up at a rapid rate. Our planet is producing more waste than ever. We need to cut back on this. Additionally, it takes a huge amount of natural resources to create a pair of tennis shoes and ship it to the customers. You may think that a single pair of tennis shoes is not going to have a major impact on the environment. You are right that a single pair will not. However, it really is a case of ‘every little helps’. If everybody is actively making an effort to recycle their clothing, in particular their shoes, then it will start to add up. This accumulation of positive actions will lead to a positive impact on our planet.

Tennis Shoes Cannot Be Recycled In the Traditional Way

Recycle & Reuse
We do have to point out that you will not be able to take your tennis shoes to your local recycling center. Due to the materials and the complicated design of tennis shoes, it is unlikely that your local recycling center will have the capabilities to recycle them. This is down to the fact that tennis shoes are not made of a single material. Therefore, the cost and effort required to break down a pair of shoes into recyclable resources are simply unjustifiable [1]. In most cases, if you take a pair of tennis shoes to a recycling center they will either reject them or they will hand them off to a landfill. This means that you haven’t actually had a positive impact.

Donate to a Charity

There are multiple charities that accept clothing donations. This includes shoes. Often, the shoes will end up directly on the feet of the people that need them the most. In other cases, they will be sold to raise donations for needy people. While it is unlikely that your tennis shoes will ever be used for playing tennis, you can be assured that they are helping improve people’s lives. Do remember to not leave your shoes in a filthy state when donating shoes to a charity. Chances are that the charity won’t have the resources to clean filthy shoes. They will probably be thrown away. Once again, unless you make informed decisions you won’t be helping anybody.
Donating Shoes
Thankfully, cleaning your tennis shoes shouldn’t be that difficult. You can wash them in your average washing machine. All you need to do is:
  • Remove the soles and laces
  • Place the shoes in a washable cotton bag
  • Wash the shoes on a low temperature at a slow spin cycle.
This should ensure that your shoes are more than clean enough for most charities.



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