HOW KICKS 4 the city began...

Kicks 4 the City started during the fall of 2012 in St. Louis, MO from a relationship between a young professional and homeless man similar in age.  As our founder, Justin Johnson walked to his car, a 23-year-old homeless man named Montrell approached him. Montrell, standing outside a grocery store in downtown St. Louis, asked for change and Justin indicated that he had none. 

Justin explains, “It felt like a spirit came over me… telling me to get out of the car and see how I could help. So I did.” That 10-minute conversation was the start to this annual shoe drive that is determined to impact thousands of people for years to come!

From several sit-downs over lunch and random meet-ups, Justin and Montrell eventually became close. They learned more about each other and grew a genuine, mutual respect for one another. It was during one of those lunches that Justin noticed Montrell’s toes busting out of the front seams of his heavily worn shoes. With pride, Montrell let Justin know that they were the only pair of shoes he owned. Justin then shared his idea with a few colleagues in St. Louis and they started to collect any lightly used or new shoes for that Thanksgiving holiday season.

We are a very shoe-conscious generation. Shoes that are slightly worn, out of style or too small simply get pushed to the back of our closet and eventually thrown away. Those same shoes would feel brand new to those who are in need. This is why Kicks 4 the City was created.


  • In 2012, Kicks 4 the City successfully collected 500 shoes for 3 local shelters in the St. Louis, MO.

  • In 2013, Kicks 4 the City expanded its operations to Chicago, IL and Charlotte, NC. This year, K4tC distributed 1,500 shoes collectively amongst markets.

  • K4tC's interest started to peak in 2014 as the program selectively expanded to a total of six cities (added Atlanta, GA - Los Angeles, CA - Washington DC). With good momentum and commitment, K4tC was able secure more than 5,000 pairs of shoes for the homeless community.

  • 2015 came as K4tC gained respect and visibility as it strategically entered two new markets to total eight cities (Detroit, MI and New York, NY). The program was responsible in collecting almost 15,000 pairs of shoes for those in need.

  • On February 1, 2016 - Kicks 4 the City signed an official one-year partnership with The Athlete's Foot. This partnership was immediately identified as a "win-win" for both organizations to better serve their local communities.

  • On May 21, 2016 - Kicks 4 the City will host AGORA, The Charitable Sneakerball. This nontraditional gala will highlight and celebrate the efforts of K4tC as it gears up for its 5th Annual Shoe Drive in November!

  • Kicks 4 the City traveled to The Eastern Region of Ghana in July 2017, delivering 300 pairs of brand new sneakers to the children in the Asempanaye Village.

  • After completing its 6th Annual Shoe Drive in November 2017, K4TC has totaled approximately 70,000 pairs of shoes distributed since inception.

  • June 16, 2018 marked K4TC’s 3rd Annual AGORA Sneakerball where over 1,100 guests (invite-only) came out to support in a way that made charity feel different!

  • This November 1st kicks off our organizations 7th Annual Shoe Drive…