Finding alternative uses for old shoes instead of throwing them into the trash is something that doesn’t automatically comes to mind. There aren’t many obvious ways to reuse shoes and upcycle them, but with a little thought and creativity, there are actually some fun and unique ways to repurpose them. Shoes that have minor wear can be given away to charities for others to use, and those that are completely worn out can often be recycled. In between, you can find some other interesting ways that people use old shoes after they are no longer wearing them.
A unique way to upcycle old shoes is to use them for container gardening. Simply fill the shoe with potting soil and seed it with what you want. Some people add a pair of shoes to their garden as each child leaves home, with others use last pairs of shoes and fill them with forget-me-nots to remember loves ones who enjoyed the garden.
Depending on the type of worn out shoe you have, it might make a perfect bird house. Simply nail the shoe to a tree and it can provide the perfect protection for chicks as they grow up.
While it is usually quite easy to donate, sell or give away baby shoes since they usually are outgrown long before they show any real wear, an alternative is to use them as a unique growth chart ([tutorial](http://www.bddesignblog.com/2013/05/tiny-shoes-growth-chart-tutorial.html)). It's a great way to showcase how your child has grown while also preserving some of those special memories when the child was a baby and it's sure to get a lot of compliments from anyone who visits your house.
A pair of old shoes can be a perfect place to hide money in your house as it isn't a place that a burglar would typically look for cash. There are a number of ways that you can do this. You can hollow out the sole of the shoe which is a way that people sometimes try to [smuggle cell phones into prison](http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1273197/How-smuggled-mobile-phones-used-prisoners-commit-crimes-cells.html), or you can make a pocket in the siding of the shoe to place the cash in. Just be sure that anyone else living with you knows that this is where the money is hidden so that they don't accidentally throw it out or [donate it to charity](http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2234928/Man-gives-away-life-savings-old-shoe-unaware-wife-hid-3-300-inside.html).
Reuse A Shoe Program
Nike runs a program called [Reuse A Shoe](http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/better-world/stories/2013/05/reuse-a-shoe) where they take athletic shoes of any brand and grind down the material in the shoes to use to make surfaces for tennis courts, turf fields, tracks, etc. You can take your old athletic shoes to any Nike or Converse shop, or mail them directly to the recycling center:
Nike Grind Processing
3552 Avenue of Commerce
Memphis, TN 38125
These are for shoes that are so worn they can no longer be used in other ways such as they are full of holes, the soles are worn all the way through or the shoes are so trashed they can no longer be worn. If there is still life in the shoe, it should be donated to an organization for reuse
Kids will often outgrow their shoes before they are completely worn out. If there is still life in a pair of shoes that you will no longer be able to use due to size, don't throw them out. You can donate lightly worn shoes to [soles4souls.org](http://soles4souls.org/) where they will be given to people in need of shoes.
If you are looking for a unique addition to your yard, you can upcycle old shoes soles into stepping stones ([tutorial](http://outdoormama1.blogspot.com/2010/07/recycle-your-old-shoes-into-homemade.html)). Shoes make for perfect stepping stones since they point the person walking in the exact direction they should be heading. it's a simple, yet creative, way to reuse old shoes while adding something special to your yard.
If you have an old pair of heels where the heel is the only salvageable part of the shoe, you might be surprised that they could make the perfect all hanger. They protrude just the right amount that they make a great hanger for anything and everything, and they do it with the style that only a great pair of heels can do.
Dirty Job Shoes
Some shoes may no longer be acceptable for what they were originally purchased for, but still can be used for other things. For example, a pair of running shoes may no longer be useful for running, but may be great for mowing the lawn. A pair of all-purpose shoes may have become too worn out for wearing out with friends, but may be perfect for dirty jobs like working in the yard and painting so that you don't ruin your newer shoes. It's always good to keep around a pair of dirty job shoes to spare all your other shoes the fate of being ruined.
For the ladies out there, an pair of nice heals that no longer can be worn may make the perfect ring holder ([tutorial](http://thetoastedcoconut.blogspot.com/2011/04/ring-holder-tutorial.html)). When you really think about it, is there really a better place to keep your rings than in a pair of shoes that you loved?