What to send
In order to keep our work going, we need appropriate clothing and footwear for our female participants to wear when they run with us.
Many people ask how they can send their spare and used running kit and shoes to us so that we can distribute them to the women who take part in our run groups, or sell a few items to fund our work.
If you’d like to help us, please take a quick look at this guide that answers some of the most common questions we’ve been asked, which we hope you find useful.
What condition should the clothing be in?
Slightly worn clothing is fine but please make sure it still looks and feels good to wear.
Please also make sure any clothes you send us have been washed first. Your clothes may have fond memories of many runs and races but please don’t pass on the mud, sweat and tears to our participants with your trainers or clothing. Our runners may be homeless but they’d rather not be reminded that they’re literally running a mile in someone else’s shoes any more than you would.
It creates a lot of extra work for us if we have to clean and dry donated kit before it can be sorted and used, so please help us by putting it through the washing machine and giving the shoes a good wipe down. Putting some sort of deodorising foot-spray in your trainers before donating them to us will make you an absolute saint in our eyes!
What to send
People are often surprised that our run group members can be quite fussy about what they wear, given the situations some are dealing with day-to-day, but they have just as much pride as you do. We can’t usually offer them brand new kit but we want them to feel empowered by running, not self-conscious. Please don’t send anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable lending to a friend or buy to wear from a charity shop.
Technical clothing is ideal but it needn’t be running specific, as long as it is exercise friendly.
Another thing we are short of is clothing in larger sizes. Most donated clothing is in smaller sizes but it’s sizes 14-20 where our reserves run low. We often spend our funds on making sure larger ladies have something to wear to exercise in with us so if you have anything, we’d appreciate it.
Other itemsIt’s not just clothes. There are some other items that would be useful to us too.
Large, durable plastic storage boxes (e.g. 50 litre plus) with lids are really useful for storing kit, which is often in the spare rooms, loft spaces and sheds of our volunteers and trustees.
Strong wheelie suitcases of all sizes - our volunteers need to transport a lot of kit to or from venues and cases make good portable storage options too.
Sports bags - if you’ve finished with your gym bag, feel free to pass on the old one to us if it’s still got some mileage in it. We can give these to runners or use them to carry kit and equipment to sessions.
Donations from your employer - if you’re lucky enough to work for a company that wouldn’t mind donating some items to us that are brand new, that would be lovely e.g. hoodies, slight seconds clothing, other equipment we might use.
Obviously getting some of these items to us is slightly harder but if you’re in central London we’ll happily try and arrange to collect these from you if we can.
What not to send
Vest or crop tops, shorts that are much above the knee - we want the women who take part to feel comfortable and not vulnerable in any way.
Dirty shoes or clothing. We know that the miles in your running kit are something you’re proud of but please clean them off before you donate them!
Damaged or very well-worn clothing. We understand that you want someone else to get some use out of your old running kit now that you’ve finished with it. But if it is very old, worn and tatty, our runners won’t want to wear them any more than you do.
Sports bras or socks (unless brand new/unworn). Underwear is very personal and so for hygiene reasons, we offer every runner an un-used sports bra, or occasionally, a nearly-new one.
Charity race vests. We keep some of these that are sturdier and flattering but mostly we have less use for that MacMillan Cancer charity vest they gave you to run the marathon. Again, if you wouldn’t buy it from a charity shop or wear it yourself, then it’s probably not quite right to donate.
mp3 players, headphones and watches. We are unlikely to be able to distribute these fairly and we don’t want our women to feel they need these gadgets in order to run. We are more likely to re-sell these than use them with running groups so if you are happy for us to do so, we will happily accept them.
Men’s shoes (unless new-ish and size 9 or below). We don’t have much use for shoes larger than a size 9 although we do keep a few pairs in our inventory if they are in good condition and will donate any others we receive to homeless shelters. Sometimes our female runners know men who would appreciate shoes but mainly we have little use for size 10 and above, sorry.
That said, nothing ever goes to waste and if we really cannot find a use for a donated item or sell it, we will pass these on to charity shops and homeless shelters or to recycling schemes.
How to get it to us:
Please see our 'contact us' page for details of how to get kit donations to us.
What happens to donated clothing
We sort and store all the shoes and clothing that are donated, ready to use with run groups. Run group leaders don’t always know how many women are going to turn up, what clothing they might need and what sizes they are so we try to have more than we need in stock for any eventuality. It can be a bit of a gamble. Our run leader could take a pair of shoes in every size to a session but if three new runners turn up and they are all a size 5, that can be tricky.
A small percentage of the donated items are earmarked for our charity shop (launching online soon) but we certainly don’t save all the ‘good’ stuff to sell. Quite the opposite in fact, as the majority of the items in better condition are saved for our groups because the women really love it when they have nice kit to exercise in (don’t we all?!)
If you would prefer we didn't re-sell something you send us to fund our work, please make that clear and include this message in the package.
A Mile in Her Shoes is a small charity, run entirely by volunteers who do not get paid. As such, we rely upon funding and do what we can to raise money to continue doing what we do.
If you are interested in holding an event to raise money for us, however big or small, or want to raise cash for us through a sponsored activity such as a race, we would love to hear from you.
We intend to offer the facility to make financial donations online via our website very soon but in the meantime, please contact us if you wish to discuss making a contribution to the charity and thank you for considering supporting us.