Football Rebooted: reuse and recycle football boots

Kids have outgrown their boots but you've not done anything with them? Then take heed of a new campaign: Football Rebooted, led by former England and Premier League goalkeeper David James MBE and smart energy supplier Utilita, aims to see at least a million pairs of used boots recycled by donating them to families who need them


give old footy boots away to people who need them

Football Rebooted has been launched to help Britons recycle at least one million pairs of ‘pre-played’ football boots and astro boots, saving families a small fortune. It will also keep boots out of landfill sites where they would degrade and help generate methane, one of the most dangerous greehouse gases.

If your kids were into football during their childhood and teens, they'll have got through a fair few pairs of boots. Lots of us keep meaning to do something with them but they just pile up and we push them to the back of a cupboard. Which is mad because kids outgrow their boots before the boot is worn, meaning there are millions of pairs of football boots in excellent condition in homes up and down the land.

There are also millions of families with budding footballers who can't afford to buy new boots for them, so there's an obvious solution: we boot hoarders should donate them to young players who need them.

The ‘donate and claim’ campaign allows anyone with spare football or astro boots to request a freepost ‘boot bag’ to donate their boots, after which their boots will appear at one of many claim stations that will pop up in parks, training grounds and at some of the UK’s largest football clubs. Premium pairs of the ‘most wanted’ retro boots and former and current players’ boots and other items will also be in the mix, giving anyone a chance to come along and grab a pair to be proud of.  

The campaign is strategically designed to put an aspirational spin on a mechanic that will get good boots through to families struggling to afford new ones, after a State of Play report by Utilita revealed that out of the 74 per cent of families who had been impacted financially by the pandemic, 18 per cent won’t be able to send their kids back to grassroots football as they can’t afford boots and other items such as goalie gloves and shin pads. 

Campaign ambassador and keen environmentalist David James says the donate and claim mechanic avoids families needing to accept charity from people they know, and makes claiming a 'new' secondhand pair an aspirational activity, that also has a positive impact on the environment. 

'Right now, there are millions of pairs of football boots that people have grown out of or replaced, and we need to make sure they don’t end up in landfill,' says James. 'Getting these boots replayed through Utilita’s Football Rebooted campaign will not only save players and their families money but will also act as an important reminder about the power of upcycling and reusing items that still have a lot of life left in them. 

Premier League and EFL clubs across the UK, including Portsmouth, Southampton, Derby County and Leeds United, have already signed up to donate the football boots worn by their academy players, while first-team players have also donated their own boots in the interests of the environment.

As part of the new campaign, schools can request boots be sent to them for children who they identify as needing football boots to enable them to play in or outside school. 

English Schools' FA (ESFA) Chairman, Phil Harding, says the past year has been very tough financially for many families with young children, so 'as the National Governing Body for Schools' Football, the ESFA welcome any campaign to help ensure children have every opportunity to take part in a sport that they are passionate about, but that is also so beneficial for both their physical and mental health. This campaign not only has a great environmental message but is also working towards helping children be active, participate in and enjoy school sport.'