Why Shoes?  Shoes tell our stories.

Shoes fascinate us.

When you lose loved ones, what do you do with their shoes? Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota has built an international reputation exploring issues of memory, loss and the totemic power that people can give to everyday objects like shoes.

For “Perspectives: Chiharu Shiota,” the artist has amassed at least 300 donated shoes—along with handwritten notes from each donor confiding a personal memory. Some donated their deceased parents’ shoes; others donated high heels worn for milestones like weddings or music recitals. One wheelchair-bound donor gave the artist a pair that he intended to wear once he started walking again—only he never did.

You don’t need to be an artist like Chiharu Shiota.  You need to be you.  Make a shoe for a child that died from violence.

Why Shoes?  

  • At times of disaster around the world, shoes appear to be the most poignant symbols or reminders of lost human life.
  • Imagining oneself in shoes different from one’s own is a powerful tool for empathy and learning.
  • Shoes are what we all leave behind.
  • The soul of soles.
  • Shoes tell a story.
  • Some are born with shoes on their feet, some sew their own shoes themselves, and others find other people’s shoes thrust upon them.
  • Shoes bear witness to the roads we have walked down in our life.
  • Don’t judge someone until you have walked in their shoes.
  • Shoes not only protect the foot but also communicate information about individuals: from geographic area to physical stature, economic status and personal style.
  • We leave footprints in the sand.
  • We lay our troubles at the feet of others.
  • What do we do with the shoes of those that are gone?

Make a shoe.  Send us a photo.  Keep your shoe or shoes in a prominent and safe place.  We will find a way to share the shoes with the world.  We will make noise with the shoes.  We will stop the silence.

See Guidelines

The Holocaust and the United Nations – The Footprints for Hope Project