How can I reuse or recycle high heeled shoes?

stiletto shoesWe’ve had an email from Naomi:

I’ve got loads of old shoes that I no longer wear but they’re not suitable for use as “dirty shoes” in the garden or whatever because they’re got stiletto heels. What can I do with them?

We’ve covered old shoes before but I guess high heels are a bit different because they’re only good for aerating the lawn ;)

Of course the obvious suggestions are to pass them onto someone who’ll wear them – through Freecycle, local charity shops, eBay etc – or put them into a shoe recycling scheme so the materials can be reused and recycled.

But what about other ideas?

(Photo by kymmie_xox)

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26 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle high heeled shoes?”

  1. Nicole says:

    Play clothes for little girls who want to dress up?

  2. Bobbie says:

    As I have grown older my heels have gotten shorter and shorter until they are flat. he he. But I can think of a couple of uses, both decorative. You could decorate the heels with beads, shells, or even “found” objects and use the different styles of shoes as a collection. Another use, more practical, is to use the decorated shoes as as lamp base. Matter of fact I like this idea so well that I think I will go to goodwill and find some shoes to decorate. he he.

    • boofsmom says:

      To build on this idea…I have seen old shoes recovered in fabric strips. I would leave the edges unfinished, so they have a slight worn look to them. I have a pic, but am not sure how to post it here.

  3. Alice says:

    If you could get them to stay upright, maybe by sticking them to a base with a little bit of concrete, they would look very cool in a garden with small plants growing in them.

    I’ve done this with old boots, but high heels would be very original and they might be quite rigid and well suited to the job.

    Cut a tiny hole in the toe for drainage, and look out for anyone building a wall or something who could give you a small amount of concrete – or maybe sew the pair to each other to make them not fall over?

  4. Debbie says:

    You’d need to do this artistically or be clever about it, but ….

    from the open part to the toe, these could be small wall pockets, mounting several in a row.

    the back of the shoe, especially with the tall heels, remind me of wall hooks for hanging something onto.

  5. mojo says:

    as a mere man how about just cutting the heels off and use as gardening shoes

    • Robin says:

      High heels have a very stiff outer sole, so even if you cut off the heels, the shape of the shoe remains. That’s why when a heel breaks accidentally, the person either has to take both of off or walk on her tippy-toes in the broken shoe.

      • Lizzy says:

        I feel so deceived by all the ‘posh girl stuck in a jungle’ films now, where the guy chops the heels off, much to the the girl’s protestation of how ‘they were Italian’ .

  6. ana says:

    My sister had an old pair recoated in the same cloth of her wedding dress. She was quite happy, her big day and no blisters or foot pain!!

  7. ABPryor says:

    How about this idea:

    Wallflowers and Shoe Shelves
    Vintage metal brooches are pinned inside frames to create pretty wallflowers. An old pair of pumps is adorned with ribbon, flowers and beads to create a very feminine conversation piece.

  8. Leah says:

    give them to a local school for a dress up box

    or keep them for bonfire night and make a girlie not a guy!

  9. Renee says:

    Recycle Shoes – 651.222.7247 Woman owned company that makes items from recycled leather.

    Or the standy (they fix and send overseas)

  10. Scuffy says:

    Just sell them on ebay and make some money. Lots of people buy used and broken shoes, epically high heels.

  11. I saw a ring/ jewellery holder made from a pair of high heel shoes with folds of fabric to supprt rings stuffed where your feet used to go.

  12. shawn says:

    I had a pair of four and a half inch stilletos which were no longer wanted, and used them when painting in the house when getting up high but not high enough to need a ladder, perfect so not always standing on toes, of course the were ruined from getting pain on them, but they served on last time before disposal in garbage!!

  13. Hannah says:

    I have a pair of heels that broke, so I cannot donate them to a charity shop or something like that because no one else would be able to wear them.

    I have read about Nike’s Shoe Recycling program, but that is only for athletic shoes. Is anyone aware of a similar program for heels and other dressy shoes?


    • donna says:

      i recycle womans heels i brake the hole shoe down into parts an then rebuild the shoe so its a complete new style
      contact me bye email at if you would like
      to donate old shoes or would like ur old shoes revampt
      from donna xx

  14. Sam says:

    For those who are very concious about shoe recycling, there are shops which sell purely recycled shoes made from things like car tyres and old car seat belts! Just a thought… :)

  15. frank says:

    Because heels are very hard you could always keep them for breaking up stuff for recycling, i.e old plastic pens, radios , old toys , lego bricks, video tapes, phones and anything else we can be recycled.

    If you wear heels it will make light work of flattening/crunching the above, which would prove difficult with a normal shoes i.e sandals, trainers as they don’t have hard sole like high heels do.

  16. Olia says:

    Donate them to community theater.

  17. Medeea says:

    This may sound silly, since you no longer wear them. Probably you have your reasons.
    If esthetics is your concern, maybe you could pair them with a pair of wide leg pants? This would camouflage a bit the shoes…
    Best would be to donate them.

  18. Tulip says:

    If your shoes are brown, scuffed, have scratches, use Old English scratch cover for wood, furniture. I also add several drops of my favorite perfume to a bottle of Old English, and shoes smell great.

  19. Give it to your mom. When I have high-heels that I no longer need, I do this because we wear the same size. Another option is to remove the heel-piece. This way you are going to have a brand new pair of flats.

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