Airwalk, a leader in youth lifestyle footwear and apparel, is teaming up with Payless to democratize a new shoe-giving program to help those in need with the launch of The Good Shoe Project. Whenever a customer purchases the exclusive Airwalk Hope shoe for $19.99 at Payless between Dec. 15, 2010, through Feb. 14, 2011, the retailer commits to giving a free pair of kids' shoes to a child in need in Central America through a new alliance with humanitarian organization World Vision.
'The Airwalk brand is thrilled to be at the center of The Good Shoe Project with the Hope shoe that allows shoppers to help Payless continue its efforts to give the gift of shoes - and hope - to children that need it the most,' said Bruce Pettet, CEO of Collective Licensing International, owner of the Airwalk brand. 'The timing for this program is perfect for the upcoming holiday - the shoe is cool and on-trend and makes a special holiday gift that gives back in more ways than one. Our Airwalk partner athlete, pro surfer Anastasia Ashley, is also supporting this important Airwalk initiative by giving away 30 pairs of the Hope shoe at her annual beach cleanup in Oahu sponsored by the Surfrider Foundation. And to inspire consumers to have fun wearing the shoes any day of the week with a variety of looks for the beach, work, or just hanging out, each week during the promotion Anastasia will post a photo online showing off an outfit featuring the Hope shoes.'
To check out Ashley's weekly 'Hope shoe looks,' go the Anastasia Ashley Facebook fan page.
The sleek canvas slip-on style is available in women's sizing 5-11 in five cool colors including tan, denim, red, black and camo print. The Airwalk Hope shoe will retail for $19.99 in Payless stores and Payless.com beginning December 15, 2010. Through this two-month sales event held at Payless.com and all Payless stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, the retailer said it will donate, at minimum, 100,000 pairs of free children's shoes to be distributed next year to children in need in El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala. The retailer said it expects shopper interest in this shoe-giving program to be strong and that it expects to donate more than the minimum pairs.
'We are pleased to partner with our new partner, World Vision, and our long-time brand partner, Airwalk, on The Good Shoe Project. This giving program was created in direct response to feedback from our shoppers, who told us that they are passionate about helping others and want to join us in our shoe giving efforts,' said LuAnn Via, CEO of Payless ShoeSource. 'All our philanthropic programs are aimed at democratizing giving - we work hard to make it affordable and easy for customers to help support causes important to them. For every pair of Airwalk Hope shoes purchased over the two-month period, shoppers can feel good because not only are they getting this great style at a great price, but they will be helping us place a pair of children's shoes on the feet of a child in need - a gift that is truly impactful for both the giver and the recipient.'
The Good Shoe Project is a strong complement to the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids giving program that was first launched by the retailer in 2008. Over the past two years during the December holiday, Payless has given away a total of $2.2 million in free shoes to children in need in the U.S., Canada and in 10 Latin American countries through this initiative. Payless started Payless Gives in direct response to the recession to reach those most in need and to do so through local nonprofit agencies most directly in touch with them. Through this grass-roots campaign, Payless was joined by more than 750 nonprofits located across the U.S., Canada and Latin America to give children of families in need a free pair of shoes. The retailer distributes free shoe coupons redeemable at any Payless store to the various nonprofits, who then distribute the coupons to their clients. In addition to a gift of shoes, the children also get to experience a shoe shopping trip to pick out their own shoes. Payless will once again conduct Payless Gives for holiday 2010; nonprofit partner applicants can apply at www.paylessgives.com through Nov. 5.
Gift of Shoes, Self Confidence
A striking number of children across the globe don't have shoes. The lack of shoes can lead to poor health and injury and the resulting health risks can often cause children to miss school and social play, hindering their overall learning and social development. Many schools in rural areas across Central America require shoes and kids that don't have shoes miss out on education. Shoes in general also have an immense emotional benefit and can enhance self confidence in children, also aiding in their proper development and growth.
'Although badly needed, shoes are an unfamiliar luxury for many children in these countries, especially in rural villages,' said David Owens, World Vision's vice president of corporate development. 'Shoes can improve a child's overall health and well-being and bolster self-esteem. Shoes can open the door to education in remote areas. Kids can play, run and jump because they know their feet are protected. Ultimately, shoes have the power to change a child's point of view from poverty to potential.
We are delighted to partner with Payless ShoeSource and its generous customers to provide shoes to children who would otherwise go barefoot or be forced to wear threadbare shoes. We look forward to seeing the positive impact on these children and their communities when we distribute these shoes to the children.'
For more information about the project including details about the children's shoes Payless will donate, please visit www.goodshoeproject.com. To buy the Hope shoe go to www.payless.com or any Payless store in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.
Payless Democratizes Giving, Focuses on Children and Families
For six years, Payless has established formal philanthropic programs to support important causes by selling on-trend items and making them accessible at affordable price points and then partnering with shoppers, often donating 100 percent of the net profits from item sales, to a nonprofit partner. Through such programs, Payless supports breast cancer awareness and is a member of the $1 Million Council with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The retailer celebrates Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month by establishing the Payless Inspiring Possibilities Scholarships with the National Urban League and Hispanic Scholarship Foundation, respectively, to support the higher education of America's minority youth. Payless supports inner city youth in New York City with its Friendship Shoe program with proceeds benefiting The Fresh Air Fund, which provides free summer vacations to underprivileged children living in the New York City area. These are among the Payless and Collective Brands, Inc. giving programs.
About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. To learn more, please see www.worldvision.org; press can go to the World Vision press center at www.worldvision.org/press.
About Payless & Collective Brands, Inc.
Payless ShoeSource, Inc., a unit of Collective Brands, Inc., is the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere and is dedicated to democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories and inspiring fun, fashion possibilities for the family at a great value. As of the end of second quarter 2010, the company operated nearly 4,500 stores. In addition, customers can buy shoes over the Internet through Payless.com at www.payless.com.
Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS) is a leader in bringing compelling lifestyle, fashion and performance brands for footwear and related accessories to consumers worldwide. The company operates three strategic units covering a powerful brand portfolio, as well as multiple price points and selling channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing. Collective Brands, Inc. includes Payless ShoeSource, focused on democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories through its nearly 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands Airwalk, Dexter, Champion, Zoe & Zac™, the first-ever affordable green footwear brand, and designer collections Lela Rose for Payless, Unforgettable Moments by Lela Rose, Christian Siriano for Payless, Patricia Field for Payless, Isabel Toledo for Payless and STPL x Airwalk, among others; Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group, focused on lifestyle and performance branded footwear and high-quality children's footwear sold primarily through wholesaling, with its brands including Stride Rite, Keds, Sperry Top-Sider, Robeez, and Saucony, among others; and Collective Licensing International, the brand development, management and global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as Airwalk, Above The Rim™, Vision Street Wear, STRIKEFORCE™, Clinch Gear™, Sims, Lamar and LTD, World Snowboarding Championships™ and Hind. Information about, and links for shopping on, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at www.collectivebrands.com.