Free shoes? Do companies actually give away free shoes?
In many cases yes, they do. What I’ve found is that shoe companies – primarily athletic shoe companies – will sometimes give free shoes to people who sign up to be product testers.
In other words, they’re looking for people who will try the shoes out and give their opinion on performance, style, comfort, etc.
How to Get Shoes For Free
The rules of participation for product testers will vary with each company.
Some companies allow you to keep the shoes you test, provided you submit feedback according to their specified parameters. Other companies ask that you send the shoes back for analysis by developers.
Here is how to get companies to send you free shoes.
1. New Balance
New Balance athletic shoes, like the others you’ll find listed here, are some of the most popular athletic shoes on the market.
If you go to the New Balance website product testing page, you’ll find instructions for signing up to be a product tester.
New Balance product testers are asked to test new product prototypes that are sent directly to them. As a product tester, you’ll be asked for honest feedback regarding the shoes you’re sent.
After you return your feedback, that information is given to the Research and Development department at New Balance. They use this information to improve the quality, fit and performance of the product.
Asics is the brand of running shoe I tend to wear mostly. As a result, I was excited to find them on the list of companies that give away free running shoes.
Currently, the Asics shoe testing/giveaway programs only run programs in New Zealand and certain parts of Europe.
The New Zealand program is called Roadtester. Those who apply to and are accepted to the Roadtester program will be sent free shoes and potentially other products to test their endurance, comfort, and quality.
Roadtester participants must then give feedback on the items they’ve been given to test. That feedback will be shared with the Roadtester community and the Asics team.
The infamous Nike shoe company also has a product testing program that uses participants’ feedback to design better shoes or other products.
When you sign up to be a product tester for Nike, you can choose to be sent shoes, apparel or both. All potential applicants have to fill out the application that pertains to them to be considered for entry into the program.
There are three available applications for potential product testers. Applications vary based on the tester’s age range. Note that the application for testers age 13 through 17 must be completed with a parent and have parental permission.
Once you’re approved you are sent shoes or other products for testing. After you wear the product for a specified period, you must log into a feedback account and share your experience.
Note: If you live near a Nike test center, you could also qualify to test products there.
The Brooks running company also has a product testing program in which applicants can potentially receive free shoes and other products.
If you’re interested in testing Brooks running shoes, you need to meet, among other qualifications, the following testing requirements: You need to be 18 years or older and live in the continental United States.
You need to know your personal gait (are you flat-footed, high-arched, or neutral, for example) and running shoe size.
Furthermore, you need to be willing to give clear and detailed feedback on the products you use and test and be committed to wearing the shoes for running only.
5. Red Wing Shoes
If you are looking for work boots, Red Wing Shoes could be a great option. Plus, they are often looking for product testers for those work boots.
The company product tests applicants need to live within a 60-mile radius of one of their two manufacturing plants in Red Wing, Minnesota or San Jose, California.
Approved product testers will then be sent new boots to test in the workplace to see how they hold up, their comfort level, etc.
After a specified time period the boots are sent back to the company for analysis. As a product tester, you will be asked to give clear and detailed feedback on the product.
Red Wing Shoes pays for all shipping costs and also compensates testers for quality feedback performance. In most cases, they’ll compensate you by returning the boots you tested to keep.
Saucony shoe company also looks for product testers to try out free shoes and other athletic apparel as well. When you go to the Saucony product tester application page, you’ll be asked a number of questions to determine if you qualify for the program.
Saucony seems very interested in having runners participate in the program, as the application includes many questions about running habits.
The application also asks if you participate in other types of sports, such as aerobics, walking, studio classes, etc., so they may be interested in having athletes interested in those types of sports become product testers.
The site doesn’t say whether or not you’ll have to return the shoes after you wear them or if you can keep them. You do need to be at least 18 to participate in Saucony’s product tester program.
7. Under Armour
Under Armour accepts applications for product testing for adults and children (with parental permission) alike.
Information for product testing was pretty limited on the site; it will just bring you straight to a sign-up page where you enter your email to begin the process.
The information I did find states that after you wear the shoes for a few weeks you will return them at Under Armour’s expense, however, it didn’t state if there was any further compensation or not.
We wear a fair amount of Columbia apparel at our house. However, I had no idea they made footwear as well. This link will take you to the Columbia product tester application page.
At this writing, they are actively seeking participants to test both footwear and other types of sports apparel as well.
The product tester information sheet (choose “learn more” to find it) says that it requires all test products to be returned.
However, it also has a somewhat vague paragraph with the subtitle “incentive” that talks about how it recognizes the need for testers to be compensated.
Reebok offers free footwear and free apparel for its product testing community.
To apply, simply fill out the survey. They’ll keep your information on file and let you know when you have been selected for a test.
Testers must fit one of their product sizes and meet minimum weekly activity requirements for their sport. Reebok selects testers based on shoe/apparel size, demographic profile, geographic location, sport, and athletic profile.
If you’re selected, you’ll receive an email inviting you to participate. Once you accept, they’ll mail you the test product and instructions.
Test the product for a required amount of hours/mileage per week for the test period (typically 2-4 weeks), then mail it back for inspection and evaluation.
Note: Reebok product testers also may not test any competitor products.
adidas has product testing programs in both America and Europe. Those who are passionate about the adidas brand as well as sports and fashion are encouraged to apply.
All you must do is fill out their survey and choose apparel, footwear, or both. Be sure to be accurate in your application so they can match you with the correct opportunities.
You’ll receive an email inviting you to participate in a test. Once you accept, adidas will mail you the test product and instructions.
Be prepared to test the product for a required amount of time and/or mileage for the test period (typically 2-4 weeks). Once you’re done, you’ll mail it back with the provided return label.
And just like the Reebok program, adidas won’t allow you to participate if you test competitor products.
Other Ways To Get Free Shoes
Here are a couple other ways to get shoes for free.
11. Join a Buy Nothing Group
One of the best ways to get free shoes is by joining the Buy Nothing Project. This is a gift economy platform with a mission to build community by connecting people through hyperlocal gifting.
In your Buy Nothing group, you can create a post that fits one of these three categories:
- Gift Post – give away things others can use
- Ask Post – ask for things you can use
- Gratitude Post – express gratitude in your community
Everything is exchanged completely free with no strings attached. Once you join your group, keep tabs on other members’ Gift posts to see if they are giving away free shoes, or create your own Ask post to request shoes.
12. Enter the Geckoman Giveaway
Geckoman has a mission to help you walk in comfort in all aspects of your life. They create footwear products designed to alleviate the symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis, arch pain, heel pain, and foot pain.
Sign up for their email newsletter to receive 15% off your first order and be entered to win a $69.95 voucher!
Each Friday, Geckoman will select one winner from their list to receive a voucher for shoes (no expiration date). Geckoman will announce the winners on their Facebook and Instagram pages.
How To Get Free Shoes for Low-income Families
The average American buys 7.5 pairs of shoes each year. There are 300 million people in the world who can not afford shoes. Many communities offer free shoe donations. Here’s a look at a few we found:
Laces Of Love – LOL is located in Napels, Florida. This non-profit offers free shoes to low-income families. They have provided over 250,000 to children in the lower Florida region. For questions or additional information, email Laces of Love at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soleloved.org – Making a difference one sole at a time is what Soleloved.org set out to do a few years ago. Their motto is ‘giving hope, one little soul at a time.’ They are located in the Sugarland, Texas area and support local schools.
It’s From The Sole – This non-profit in NYC provides shoes to the homeless in the greater NYC area and nationwide. Founder Andre McDonnell noticed a homeless man without shoes when he was playing basketball with friends. He took the sneakers off his feet and gave it to the man. And from there, the group was founded. Find more information at Itsfromthesole.org
My New Red Shoes – The San Francisco based group has passed out shoes since 2006. Infact, they have passed out over 60,000 shoes. They offer vouchers to local families in need. To get more information, contact them at email@example.com
To find more non-profits and companies that support families in need, check out this great article by StandUp Wireless.
Free Shoes for Healthcare Workers
If you are a healthcare worker, you know how you are always on your feet. Having the right shoe makes all the difference.
Companies like Crocs, Brooks, and Kizik have given away free shoes to healthcare workers as a thank-you for their hard work.
Crocs typically offers a free shoe special in May. Make sure to mark your calendar to check annually.
Brooks also partners with shoe stores and offers free shoes in May. Check out Millennium Running for more info. Additional companies like Nike, Asics, Adidas, No Bull, and Puma also offer discounts to front-line workers.
As you peruse the different sites that ask for product testers for shoes and other items, it’s important to read the fine print.
Participation according to the specific test center rules is very important for the product tests to be accurate and helpful to each company’s Research and Development division.
So, it’s smart to know exactly what each company will expect from you before signing up to be a product tester.
This way, you can be sure you have the time to fulfill all of the obligations regarding wearing the shoes, giving feedback on the performance of the shoes, and returning the shoes for analysis (by the specified due date) if required.
If you don’t qualify for free shoes, check out how to get discounted shoes here.