The owners of Foot Traffik are in the midst of a quest to find donations of over 1,000 pairs of sneakers. Johnny Nguyen, who you might remember from the First Step piece he did in KICKS #13, explains what it’s all about. —Ed.

by Johnny Nguyen

We’ve all been there. Not having the proper footwear to either play basketball, or for some to even walk in the snow. In my situation, I made due by wearing double socks so that the hole on the bottom only penetrated one layer. My mother didn’t decide to buy me new sneakers until the socks that piled up in the trash started to become more expensive then the actually “Payless” sneakers. Shopping, I was trying to find something both durable and most importantly a pair of sneakers I could wear on and off the court. I grabbed the Iverson Question off the shelf and before I could look at the bottom of the sneaker, my mother told me to put it back. “If you want those sneakers you are going to have to wear it for the whole school year– including summer.” I was also growing into a men’s size, but if decided to get these, I would have to buy a size 6 youth size knowing that I would grow out of them or painfully fit into them. We made the purchase. The Iverson’s ended up with a similar fate but not before it took a whole winter of shoveling, a whole summer of basketball, and dealt with bare feet when both sock and foot became too much of a tight squeeze. Ever since then, I fell in love with sneakers. The tight laces that groove to the curvature of your foot, the cloud-like cushioning that allowed for an actually bounce back when pressure was exerted, and most importantly it made one subconsciously stand taller, prouder, a new man starting at the feet.

We at Foot Traffik have recently launched the Grow A Pair (GAP) campaign. The campaign encourages others to provide sneakers for those in need domestically. We have paired up with the nation’s oldest non-profit organization, Boston’s Home for the Little Wanderers who service thousands of children and families each year. With a common interest in improving the lives of others through collaboration, we hope to collect over 1000 pairs of sneakers for Boston’s youth in preparation for this winter. We have split the campaign into two sections, a competition and a sneaker drive.

The competition is very similar to one that all of us participated in during grade school. Who ever sold the most chocolate bars would receive a prize at the end of the marked period. We have adopted the same concept. We are rewarding the person who collects the most sneakers for charity with a Nike Bespoke Appointment, a one-on-one session with a Nike design consultant that allows you to COMPLETELY customize an Air Force 1 sneaker. This does not only include customized colorway with your initial like Nike I.D. With Nike Bespoke you can pick from Nike’s own factory materials such as Kevlar and 3M. An overall custom experience set at the value of $820 dollars. It is hard to even get this appointment unless you knew someone at Nike, and even then you would have to wait 3-4 months for an appointment.  The winner will not only be rewarded with the appointment, but they are receiving it FOR FREE, on Foot Traffik. That’s right, Foot Traffik will be providing transportation cost to New York and a free Nike BESPOKE SESSION.

Runner-ups in the competition will also receive a prize that will be announced during the progression of the competition. We encourage people of all ages and locations to participate.

The rules of the competition are below.

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