By JOHN VAN KLAVEREN
Runners, walkers, indoor and outdoor court shoes, cross trainers – soon they’re a closet full of half-worn sports footwear.
They can’t all be worn at once or sometimes at all, so they sit gathering dust.
Given Australia’s love of sports, it’s no wonder a truckload of runners sits idle in wardrobes around Geelong’s suburbs.
Now a unique charity is accepting donations of clean new and used running shoes for those in need of footwear.
Shoes for Planet Earth has volunteers around the country, including Peggy Knowles, of Newtown’s Happy Shoes Shop.
When she stumbled across the idea, Peggy knew she had to help out.
“It fits right in with what I do, understanding the importance of good footwear, and I’ve loved being part of it,” Peggy said.
“I’m fortunate to have lots of warehouse space here to accept donations and store them until we can do a distribution.
“I’m hoping to create better connections with local welfare agencies so shoes donated locally are distributed locally as well as overseas.”
Running fanatic Viv Kartsounis and partner Nick Drayton founded the charity after noting all the bare feet during a major endurance run in South Africa.
The pair figured that as part of a running group they could gather a few pairs of runners and send them over.
“Running groups change their shoes often, so getting the shoes wasn’t a problem,” Viv said.
“We prefer runners because they’re so versatile.”
The charity distributes donated running shoes all around the country, including a Geelong street soccer program for homeless people.
More information is available at thehappyshoeshop Facebook page or the store.