How can I reuse or recycle safety boots?

We’ve had an email from Gordon:

I am looking for a company that recycles or reuses used safety boots and shoes. They are predominantly leather with a steel toe cap and rubber or manmade sole. As a [huge multinational] company you can imagine we have quite a few and at present they go to landfill.

Do you know of any businesses that would be interested?

I suspect like happens with hard hats, they’re having to be replaced for health & safety reasons – they’ve become too worn/damaged to wear in a dangerous industrial environment.

If these boots have been retired for safety reasons, further reuse by someone else is largely out of the question – they might be fine for someone to use for light DIY or gardening etc but I wonder if there would be a liability issue if a company was to pass them on for that sort of thing…

It’s pretty easy to find a textile recycling/reclamation company but harder to find down ones that explicitly ask for leather, let alone safety footwear. Anyone know any companies that specifically deal with these types of boots or leather in general?

Any other suggestions?

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16 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle safety boots?”

  1. Chris says:

    I reused my old work boots in the garden to make little planters.

  2. kacy says:

    The Girl Scouts in the US use leather scraps for leatherwork crafts. Maybe the books could be cut into flat panels for crafting.

  3. Alice says:

    If any are at all wearable they may still be useful to people doing much lighter work, e.g. volunteers at BTCV

    Also homeless people suffer terrible foot problems as they usually wear damp old trainers for months and months on end and have to walk a lot in them. See if The Big Issue can use them, or if they know anyone who could.

  4. Timothy Daniels says:

    I work with the City of Dallas, Street Services, as a environmental coordinator. My department of about 600 employees is interested in recycling work boots: field and office steel toe. This would be a giant environmental impact that other deparments, and cuties would follow. Right now I’m interested in talking to recycling companies seeking these types of boots. Please respond. Thanks

    • Olly says:

      Hi Timothy,

      Have other cities followed?

      Bit of a while since you responded to this thread but i was just wondering, do you not reuse the shoes first? or is it easier to recycle them for their material?


    • Sandra Bell says:

      Did you ever find a company that will take work boots and recycle back to good use?

  5. Tim Fenemore says:

    Hi Gordon,

    We are running a project to build a construction college in Burundi. At the moment we cannot source safety footwear in the country and many people in the country cannot afford footwear at all.

    If you have used shoes or boots we would be able to use them – as they say, something is better than nothing.

    It would be great if you could help.


  6. Mike says:

    Gordon I am trying to obtain old leather work boots preferable lace types. T hey are not for wearing so no safety issue. Can you help and what sort of quantity. Thanks mike

  7. Linda Cain says:

    If someone looking for used work boots or knowing of a recycler could contact me, I would appreciate it.
    Our work boots are discarded when there is any wear on the sole at all, but are usually otherwise in not too bad condition, although quite dusty.

    • Deidre says:

      Hi Linda,

      I am trying to start a “Reboot Program” at my job. Currently, there are lots of candidates who are looking for work and unable to due to not being able to afford steel toed boots. I am hoping to find organizations or individuals to donate so we can provide work opportunities for those in need. If you happen to know of a place or you still have a few dusty pairs- please get in contact with us. Thanks, Happy Holidays!

      • Anonymous says:


        I am currently on with a PPE project please can i have more information on this programme if its still running, i would be happy to help

        Thank you

  8. Jason says:

    Hello I’m a welder in a steel production shop, and I’m trying to find a place to recycle some of my old work boots. I currently have about 6 pairs of timber land pro type boot that are steel toe and met guard.

    • Ian Gregory says:

      They can be re-used but depending on the distance, can I please ask where about you are and if these could be picked up?

  9. Karen Knezic says:

    I also have a few pair of used work boots mens size 12-13 that we are looking to recycle. Please message me if you have a need or know of someone who may.

    • Ian Gregory says:

      They can be re-used but depending on the distance, can I please ask where about you are and if these could be picked up?


  10. marjorie caldwell says:

    I have several old steel toe work boots that need to be recycled where can I drop them off at I live in Dallas Tx. Thanks

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