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Shoe Planters – Recycled Footwear makes a Great Garden Planter

Some of the most interesting planters and those that recycle items used for other purposes.  These unique boot and shoe planters make great use of old shoes and boots.

Some have seen their better day and some look like new but all showcase indoor plants in new and unusual ways.

Use your old boots and shoes as garden planters for a whimsical look to any garden spot

Do you have some old shoes or boots laying around that are still presentable looking but have lost there wearable appeal for you?  Make them do double duty by turning them into creative planters.

Recycling is a small step that we can take to protect the environment at home.

Shoes used as planters

Shoe Planters Make Unique Garden Containers

These creative ideas to recycle footwear turn one man’s trash into a garden lover’s treasure.  Many of the planters use succulents, but annuals and perennials can also be used as long as the size is right. 

Tips for making shoe planters

Making old shoes or boots into planters is easy to do and costs very little but you should keep a few things in mind.


One of the most important things to keep in mind when making a shoe planter is to have adequate drainage. If you don’t, you’ll end up with a soggy mass of soil and shoe that is anything but creative looking.

To give drainage to the planter, use a screwdriver and hammer to make some holes in the bottom of the shoes or boots. A layer of gravel or rocks will also add additional drainage and keep the planter stable so the wind doesn’t blow it over.

succulent shoe planter

Types of shoes to use

If it has an opening it will work. Don’t worry if the shoes or boots are old and musty looking. Some of the most attractive planters are old work boots with very fine foliage or flowers growing in them.

In the photo above, the eye is drawn to the succulent and the fact that the shoe is old and warm just add more interest.


The soil that you use needs to be one that goes along with the plant.  If you choose cacti or succulents, use a special soil designed for them. The same goes for African violets.  

For all purpose plants, just choose well draining potting soil.

Types of plants to use in Shoe Planters

All types of annuals and succulents work well. Their size is good for the containers and you can easily swap them out and change them after the summer ends.

Some good possibilities are:

Creative Shoe and Boot Planters for your Inspiration

The possibilities for using footwear as planters are endless and as close as your closet or tool shed.

Wooden shoes with succulents

Two small echeveria succulents have a new home in a pair or yellow and red wooden shoes attached to a brick wall.

The look is colorful and super useful. You might even get lucky and find that the echeveria flowers!

Cowboy boot planter

This wonderful cowboy boot planter is made of a metal cowboy boot. But you could duplicate the look with an actual cowboy boot by using an Exacto knife to cut the star openings on the side and then filling those openings and the top with succulent cuttings.

Bicycle planter with tennis shoes as well!This is one of my all time favorites.  It is shared from Carlene of Organized Clutter.  Carlene has had the bicycle for three years and it came painted white. She added the basket planter and then made those ADORABLE white tennis shoe planters.  Sweet as can be. See the tutorial for this project at Organized Clutter.

Mother and Daughter Shoe PlantersMy Friend Jacki from Drought Smart Plants had a contest with her readers and one of them entered this lovely idea – a pair of Mother Daughter shoe planters with mom’s old shoes and daughter’s clogs. Such a great idea! 

Boot planter with pansies

I love the softness of the pansies against the rustic look of this old boot planter.  Victorian boot planterFeeling nostalgic for a trip to the past? This Victorian Boot planter with Lilies and Hydrangeas should take you there in no time at all.  Source:  Rook No. 17

Boot planter with maidenhair fern

This old boot has the remnants of moss on it and coordinates perfectly with delicate foliage of the maidenhair fern. There is even a place on the laces area for a baby fern.

Orange kids boot planter

This bright orange plastic kid’s shoe with a green pattern is the perfect match for the plump green crassula with orange tips. Even the tiny orange pebbles is a color match!

Boot planter with succulents

This great planter idea has a romantic feeling about it. The soft pink tones of the hens and chicks blends with the color of the old boot as though they were meant for each other.boot planter with dracaena The simplicity of this planter comes from the plain boot that is planted with green and yellow striped dracaena. It’s a nice combination that shows that you don’t need flowers for this idea to boot planter

Great idea if you have a plain shoe design.  In this case the African Violet plant is almost inconsequential. It is the orange polka dotted shoe that makes this little garden scene. 

The boot was painted first with glue to make it waterproof and then with paint for the color and design. Source:  Thrifty Fun

High heel planter

This ladies high heel shoe is filled to the brim with succulents. The roots of them are very shallow and that means you can plant a lot of them in a single planter.  See more creative succulent planters here.

Pair of boots with annualsWho says the shoe has to be small?  Shabby Chic is in with this pair of sturdy word boots.  In this case, a pair of boots are planted together with annuals for a look that really softens the look of the bootsCrock planterI love this idea!  A red rubber croc is hanging from a S hook and filled with trailing plants for a unique hanging planter..  Source Full Circle.

Acrylic heel planter with succulentFor the girly gardener!  How cute is this   A fashion conscious garden planter made of a clear, see through silicone stiletto shoe Planter. This one is actually intended as a planter and uses solar power –  Source Trend Hunter  Victorian Shoe planterAnother Victorian looking shoe planter. This one is planted with greenery for a great casual look that matches the shoe.  Source:  The Enchanted Cove on Tumblr.Tennis shoe planterWhat a neat way to use your child’s old high backed tennis shoe.  It even seems to fit the look of the cushion near the pool side.  The shoe is filled with an assortment of various succulents that look right at home!  Tennis Shoe Planter – Source Pinterest.

Wellington boot planters

These Wellington boots have a fabulous teal polka dot pattern and are planted with begonias for a cheery look.  I love the placement of them against the stone wall.

Mans dress shoe planter

This light blue man’s dress shoe is filled with the vinca annual and propped near a teal front door for a dramatic contrast of colors.  I wonder what hubby thought when he came home?

Great selection of unique shoe planters

Have you used shoes or boots as planters? Why not upload an image to your comment?  I’d love to see your creation.

Pin it for Later

Would you like a reminder of this this shoe planters post?  Just pin this image to one of your DIY Gardening Boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.

These boot and shoe planters are a creative and unique way to add a whimsical touch to your garden. #shoeplanters #bootplanters

Need some more inspiration for Shoe Planters?  

Here are a few more ways to turn shoes and boots into creative planters.

Wooden shoe Planter

Cowboy Boot Planter

Rain boot Planter

Gum Boot Herb Garden

Teal Tennis Shoe Planter

Admin note: This post for creative shoe planters first appeared on the blog in April of 2013. I have updated the post to add new ideas for shoe planters, a printable project card, and a video for you to enjoy. 

Yield: A whimsical addition to any garden setting

Tips for using Shoes ad Planters

Boot and shoe planters

Don't throw those old boots and shoes away. Recycle them in a few easy steps into a creative planter.

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $5


  • Old Boots
  • Old Shoes
  • Garden Soil
  • Small annuals, succulents or plant cuttings
  • Small rocks and pebbles


  • Screw driver and hammer to drill drainage holes


  1. Give the shoes a good cleaning with some bleach and water and allow to dry. This will make the container more sterile and less likely to allow bacteria to grow.
  2. Punch some holes in the bottom of the boots or shoes. This will allow the water to drain out the bottom of the planter.
  3. Add a layer of aquarium gravel or some small rocks or pebbles in the bottom of the shoes. This also gives drainage to the container and gives it some weight so the wind won't blow it over.
  4. Choose plants with flowers that are will coordinate well with the shoe or boot.
  5. Smaller shoes, such as child's shoes are ideal for small cacti and succulents.
  6. Colorful shoes such as children's shoes or plastic crocs or rain boots are colorful and will showcase foliage plants better.
  7. Water often. Shoe planters dry out quickly.

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Tuesday 29th of June 2021

How do you keep the footwear planters during the winter months

Carol Speake

Tuesday 29th of June 2021

I haven't thought of that, since I normally just have them outdoors and put them away for the winter months. If you want to display them indoors, you would need some type of decorative tray under them to protect the furniture.


Saturday 28th of June 2014

Love these!

Wondering, in an attempt to preserve the shoes, can polyurethane or something similar, be applied to the them?


Saturday 28th of June 2014

They could but if you put this on the inside of the shoe, it would not drain the water out so the plants might rot. Carol

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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