Recycling Shoes

Several months ago, I went through our bedroom closet and did a major clothing purge. The day I tried on three shirts that didn't fit was the day that pre-baby clothes went into a box. Maternity clothes went into another and anything that I hadn't worn for six months pre-pregnancy went into the get-rid-of pile.

I have never thought of myself as a clotheshorse, but I have definitely acquired quite a stash over the years. And shoes, too. They say that the average American woman owns 19 pairs of shoes. I don't have quite that many, but I do have over 10. In thinning them out, there were three pairs that were no longer wearable. They're so full of holes that they're not even useful to give away.

There are plenty of places to donate usable shoes, but I found it a bit of a challenge to find programs that will recycle shoes and keep them out of the landfill. The only true recycling option that I found was Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program, which is where my running shoes are headed and where they will be ground up and reused to make things like track surfaces.

But, for non-athletic shoes there just aren't any organized efforts to recycle them. Not that I was able to find, anyway. So, I decided to send the black casual shoes to my cobbler to see if there's any way to salvage them. The soles and uppers are still in great condition; it's just the fibers connecting them that have given way. They were so comfortable! I'd love to have them back in rotation (and to delay the whole dilemma of what to do with them).

But for the slippers, I did have something in mind.

These guys got several years of daily wear. When the wool felt uppers started getting holes, I patched them. But when the patches needed patches, I decided it was time for new slippers and I've been hanging onto these since February because I just couldn't handle throwing perfectly good (and expensive to buy new!) wool felt into the trash.

So, I trimmed the uppers from the soles (which, unfortunately, will end up in the landfill) and started cutting. A few French Knots later, this is what I ended up with.

 I gave him a couple of little friends, to keep him company, and hung them in the doorway between the kitchen and living room. I think they're cute...whadaya think?


  1. Love that! Great way to reuse!

  2. I have a 'thing' for shoes, which is really funny because at home I am always barefoot!
    Great way to repurpose a much loved pair of slippers!

  3. love those birds! and you can put your extra bits of wool into the compost.

  4. Wow!! Great idea with the birds. Good job at making something that someone would through into the trash and turning it into a treasure.

  5. Ha! I would never have thought of that but those little birdies are absolutely delightful!

  6. Delightful! I have a very similar pair of slippers that I've been saving for something just like this (:

  7. How fabulous! 19 pairs/woman! Amazing. I wonder how many I have?? Time to check and then...craft with the excess that can't be given away! Thanks for the inspiration :-)

  8. Totally cute! I'm so impressed - what a great way to repurpose.

  9. Double benefit, Enhances our creativity & at the same time helps in recycling.