Please make sure to take pictures throughout the process!
Sort the Shoes
- Group Shoes by General Size and Type: After collecting the shoes, you and your team should sort them by general size: for example, small kids’ shoes, medium-sized shoes, and larger adult men’s shoes. Also include separate piles for running/athletic shoes versus sneakers, casual shoes, boots, or sandals.
- Remove Shoes in Poor Condition:While sorting the shoes, separate out the shoes that are in too poor of condition to donate.
- Use Common Sense: There is no definitive measure of whether or not a pair of shoes is in good enough condition to donate, but common sense and personal judgment are usually right. If there are tears in the mesh or seams, for example, that pair of shoes is not suitable for donation. For, while mud can be cleaned off, damage to the support of the shoe permanently negates its function.
- Put Yourself in Their Shoes: The most important thing to remember is that these shoes are going to other people. Ask yourself, for instance, if your friend or child would wear these shoes on a hike or rainy day — in other words, when they care about the function rather than fashion of the shoes.
- Our Commitment to Quality: It is paramount that the youth we serve feel like they are getting genuine gifts and not hand-me-downs. Indeed, we have received praise from many of the orphanages and sports programs we have worked with regarding the excellent quality of the shoes we donate.
- When in Doubt, Recycle Them: If you still have reservations as to the condition of your shoes, or realize your shoes are too beat-up to donate, we strongly recommend you recycle them.
Clean the Shoes
- One Group at a Time: Clean one group of shoes at a time to keep them categorized for boxing up later.
- Cleaning Method: Depending on the number of shoes you have, you can clean them in a sink or with a hose using an old towel and some dishwashing soap, or you can use a laundry machine. (If some shoes are already fully clean, you can skip getting them wet altogether.)
- Handle Fragile Shoes With Care: Even if you have a large inventory of shoes and are using a laundry machine, we recommend you clean by hand fragile shoes such as racing spikes and racing flats because they can easily be damaged in laundry machines with bigger, sturdier shoes.
- Arrange the Shoes by Group in a Safe Place to Dry.
Bag Up / Box Up the Shoes
- Tie the Laces of the Two Shoes in Each Pair Together: This way they won’t get separated from each other.
- Don’t Overstuff Bags and Boxes: If you do, you risk them becoming too heavy and tearing.
- Label Each Bag or Box: Write on a piece of tape on the outside of each bag or box the type of shoes, approximate sizes, and quantity inside.
- Keep a Shoe Tally: Keep a tally of the total number of shoes you are donating as you pack them up.
- Wash Your Hands and Celebrate! Ask a local restaurant or grocery store ahead of time to donate food and drinks for your volunteers. Make sure to thoroughly scrub your hands after handling all the shoes!