Shoe Drive Kit

Questions? Our shoe drive kit has all the tools you need for a successful shoe drive.

Choosing your Drive

If you live within 100 miles of Louisville, Kentucky, this is the drive for you! Running a local shoe drive will help provide safe water that will change lives! Check below for our steps to get started and familiarize yourself with our Shoe FAQ.

If you live over 100 miles from Louisville, Kentucky, joining the national effort to save lives is the option for you. This program is currently only able to accept athletic shoes. Check below for our steps to get started and familiarize yourself with our Shoe FAQ.

This shoe program is specifically designed for students and teachers of the SkillsUSA program to gather new or gently used athletic shoes, as their meaningful international service project. Check below for our steps to get started and familiarize yourself with our Shoe FAQ.

Steps To Get Started

Decide when and for how long you want to host your shoe drive. Any time of year is good, but timing your shoe drive with other events like school activities, birthdays, or holidays can help get the word out.

Promote your shoe drive via all types of media. Remember to give the dates of the shoe drive and a location to drop off shoes. Here are some ideas: 

  • Post on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Challenge your friends and followers to give a certain amount of shoes.
  • Write about it on a blog or website, whether its your personal website, or your school, company, community group, or church website.
  • Write to your newspaper, neighborhood papers or circulars. Call to a local radio station and ask if you can get a spot on a radio show.
  • Send an e-mail to friends and family. Be sure to tell people what inspired you to host a shoe drive. 

Contact local organizations like Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, or enlist the help of your church youth group. Invite them to participate in a Community Service Project. Put door hangers in your neighborhood, and follow up a few days later with a shoe pick-up. Celebrate your combine accomplishments!

Conduct this experiment with a group of people: Ask your group to only use 1 1/2 gallons of water a day for all of their water needs. This includes water for drinking, bathing, brushing teeth, cooking, etc. Explain that this is the amount of water some people use daily in countries where WaterStep works. At the end of a week, ask everyone to share their experience and donate five pairs of shoes.

Shoe Drive Faq

Decide the dates you want to hold the drive. Use the shoe drive kit to download posters and find information that you can share to help promote your drive. Contact our Shoe Department at 502-751-7104  and we can deliver collection containers to your facility.

We recommend that your organization run your shoe drive for at least two weeks. Running the drive long enough that you include two weekends works well.

We currently are only able to accept new or gently used shoes, of any sizes, types, or styles, as long as they are free from mold/mildew.

The shoes you send will be sold to an exporter who then sells shoes to countries to aid in their economic development, while providing affordably priced shoes for those in need. Many of the countries WaterStep serves are also areas where your shoes will be sent.

Better quality shoes mean stronger funding power. We appreciate any help making sure donated shoes are in acceptable, gently-used condition.


  • Discard any shoes that are covered in mud, flour or any other substance. Check shoes for visible signs of mold. If mold is found, discard the shoe(s) immediately and check the rest of the bag or box. Mold spreads quickly and will contaminate the entire bag or box.
  • Discard any shoes that show signs of extreme wear. This includes holes in shoes, ripped or torn cloth, large cuts in leather, broken straps, and any other type of damage.
  • Do not worry if the shoes do not have shoelaces, keep any shoe that is in good condition.


  • The soles of the shoes should still have reasonable tread on them. Use your best judgment when evaluating the quality of the sole.
  • Soles should be attached firmly and not separated. Check by giving the sole a tug to see if there is any movement. If the sole is loose, discard.
  • If the sole is tacky to the touch or if it crumbles when touched, or has holes in the sole, discard.
  • If the sole of the shoe shows extreme wear, discard.


  • Try to keep shoes together in pairs like tying the shoelaces together or, if possible, slide one shoe into the foot bed of the other. At the very least the pair needs to be included together in the Drop Box.
  • Please keep only pairs of shoes. If only one shoe from a pair is found, please discard the single shoe.

Pair the shoes up, and drop them off at one of our shoe drop sites around the Louisville/Southern Indiana area. Find the nearest shoe drop site near you. If you have a large amount of shoes, make several trips throughout the course of your shoe drive if you do not have a place to store the shoes. WaterStep has regularly picks up from our drop sites in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. It’s better to take small quantities a few times than one huge load.

625 Myrtle St.
Louisville, KY 40208

Note: For shoe drives that produce an excess of 1000+ pairs, arrangements can be made for shoes to be picked up and brought to our headquarters. Contact our Shoe Department at 502-751-7104 to discuss logistics for pick-ups.

WaterStep has an exporter that buys our shoes.   Our exporter takes these shoes into some of the same developing countries that we do water purification projects and sells them to local vendors instead of giving them away. Because of this, we are contributing to micro-enterprise ventures that benefit the economy. This business model helps to provide funds for WaterStep, the exporter, and those small business owners in developing countries.

Shoes serve another purpose besides providing WaterStep with funds for water purification. One pair of donated shoes serves multiple purposes:

  • Building the economy of a local community
  • Providing affordable footwear
  • Keeping shoes out of landfills
  • Initiating sustainable water projects

(Not to mention helping you maintain a clean closet!)

60% of all funding of the WaterStep mission is by way of individual donations. Shoes creates approximately 20% of our revenue and the remaining 25% comes from grants and product sales. All funds received go toward funding our mission, of empowering ordinary people to provide safe, clean water.

We look forward to partnering with you!

Order A Dropbox / Start A Shoe Drive

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