How to Reuse Old Shoes


Coco Chanel claimed, "With four pairs of shoes, I can travel the world," while Marilyn Monroe asserted that a girl could "conquer the world" with the right pair. When your well-traveled shoes aren't garnering the attention they used to -- much less helping you take the world by storm -- you can revamp them for fashionable wear or even craft them into garden or home decor.

Refurbished and Ready to Rock

  • Don't give up on your favorite shoes when they get a little scuffed or worn -- add some fabric, paint or "bling" for a whole new look. Use fabric glue and water in equal parts to adhere the fabric to the body or heels of a well-used pair of flats or pumps. Cover scratched toe caps with paint or add painted designs to the vamps and sides. Trim the centers from an old pair of canvas shoes before painting the fronts and backs or coloring them with permanent markers. Then add shoelace or ribbon ties to turn your old sneakers into new espadrilles. Add some sparkle to grazed stiletto or high heels by gluing on rhinestones, crystals, beads or tiny mirrors.

Bath and Bedroom

  • Repurpose your shoes as doorstops by filling them with plaster of Paris or concrete. Use taller shoes or boots as flower vases with gel watering beads, or use them as baskets for your prettiest shaped soaps. Trade pinched toes for easy-to-find rings and brooches when you cover foam rolls with velvet and fit them into your stilettos to convert them into jewelry holders. Add stuffing, a fabric tummy and other features to your Mary Janes or other styles for lovable animal toys.

All Around the House

  • Turn your old summer slides into whimsical decorations by making flip-flop plant and candle sconces. Hang the sandals with the toe section at the bottom, add a votive or plant to a coffee mug, and snuggle the mug into its new holder -- resting the base of the mug on the toe piece and adding a touch of contact cement between the shoe and the mug. Use old baby shoes, flip-flops or flats as door art by gluing them around a wreath form or placing plaster-filled pumps and boots on shelves as bookends. Fill your old boots with plaster before attaching a plate to the top for a one-of-a-kind cake stand. If your rubber-soled shoes are worn beyond crafting, cut them to use as coasters or to pad the feet of furniture to prevent scratching the floors.

In the Garden

  • Old shoes are perfect planters for small plants. After making a few holes in the soles for drainage, fill the shoes with good soil and then transplant one or two herbs, flowers or succulents into your distinctive plant holder. Don’t forget your feathered friends when upcycling your shoes. Set closed styles around the garden, out of the reach of predators, and fill them with bird seed for quirky feeders. Glue hiking boots or similar styles to a board and hang them for quaint avian homes.

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  • Photo Credit Andriy Bandurenko/iStock/Getty Images
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