Shoes That Inspire

The Shoes That Inspire program, like the non-profit organization that sponsors it, Healthy Lifestyle for Youth, sprang from one girl’s passion for running. It is a proven program geared towards fighting childhood obesity and increasing the physical activity levels of school children in the US. We believe a pair of free, new and comfortable running shoes is key to helping a child in need get on track to leading a healthy, happy, productive life.

What is Shoes that Inspire?

The Shoes That Inspire is a running/walking program that gives children the opportunity to exercise each day at school. It’s simple and free and gets children out of the classroom for fifteen minutes every day to run, jog or walk, at their own pace, with their classmates, making them fitter, healthier, and smarter. The program also partners with school to provide new running shoes to kids in need. At the end of each year’s program, we organize a 5K race to celebrate the students’ success, where they receive their new running shoes, medals and certificates.

Shoes that Inspire also operates a 6-8 week running training program in which…

  • Kids will run for 30-45 minutes under the supervision of teachers, coaches, and volunteers
  • Participants will engage in fun workouts ranging from relay races, freeze tag, and scavenger hunts while making new friends
  • As part of the program, kids will receive BRAND NEW running shoes
  • At the end of the session, kids can choose to participate in a celebratory 5K race at their school site where they can run with their friends, coaches, and parents and admire their hard work and fitness progress while receiving running prizes such as medals, certificates, and more!

Running shoes are a vehicle that powers not only physical fitness, but also empowers the child wearing them with the confidence, self-esteem, and dignity necessary to excel in all areas of life: academic, social, and emotional. This is why we strongly believe that ALL kids deserve to have their very own pair of running shoes to call their own.


Since starting the Shoes That Inspire program, we have helped hundreds of kids in need get on track to better health, self-confidence and overall outcomes by encouraging them to run for 15 minutes (or more) daily, with a cool, new pair of running shoes to support speeding them along the path to success.

Our first outreach was to the Benito Juarez Elementary School in Richmond, California in November, 2017. After multiple fundraising events and jewelry sales, we finally had enough money raised to buy running shoes for the kids. Students were invited to submit applications that included a prompt that asked them about what leading a healthy life means to them. The experience of providing these enthusiastic and deserving kids with brand new pairs of ASICS running shoes was profound for both the HLFY team and the Benito Juarez community alike. FIND OUT MORE

Harder Elementary School in Hayward, California, and it was our honor in June 2018 to present the kids with brand new running shoes sponsored by ASICS so they could participate in a 5K Shoes That Inspire Race. FIND OUT MORE


We pair “sponsoring groups,” which can be individuals, businesses, colleges, community service groups or other organizations, with local schools to provide low income children in need with a new pair of running shoes.

Part of the HLFY program involves ensuring that the elementary school children that receive the free running shoes and all of their peers are active on a daily basis. We encourage that they run, jog or walk for at least 15 minutes every day at school in order to motivate kids to #getfitforlife, #getfitforlearning.

Step 1:
After connecting with Shoes That Inspire, together we identify the school in your community that you’d like to sponsor.

Step 2:
We will initiate contact with the school administration and handle all logistics of implementing the Shoes That Inspire Program. The school then identifies the children most in need and any companies, either local or national, that would like to sponsor the shoes.

Step 3:
The Shoes That Inspires staff coordinates with teachers or other school representative to measure each child for new running shoes.

Step 4:
Brand new shoes are purchased by the sponsoring group and delivered to the school by HLFY and any representatives from your organization that would like to be a part of the magical moment of children receiving an awesome pair of brand new running shoes.


You can make a difference in your own community through Shoes That Inspire.

We are looking for running shoe donations. If you’re a shoe manufacturer, owner of local running store or other interested party that would like to donate new athletic shoes or socks, please contact us.

We also appreciate any monetary donations so we can purchase the running shoes.

If you’d like to sponsor a school, a $5,000 investment will provide 100 pairs of new shoes to children in need. Learn how to become a sponsor.

If you are interested in starting your own chapter of HLFY with its own “Shoes that Inspire” program, check out our guidelines.

The Healthy Lifestyle for Youth team visited the Benito Juarez Elementary School on November 1, 2017, to specially deliver the brand new pairs of ASICS running shoes and meet all the lovely kids.

The Shoes That Inspire project and our mission would not be possible without the support from our amazing team, advisors, partnering schools, and sponsors.

The Healthy Lifestyle for Youth Team holding up a “Shoes that Inspire” banner inside a classroom at Benito Juarez Elementary School. This was a very successful and rewarding experience for everyone involved in the project!