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WL Climate on Planning a Shoe Strike Action

What is a shoe strike?


Shoe strikes for climate are a way for communities to demonstrate their collective support against climate change without being physically present. This aspect is critical during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. All participants have to do is donate their old gently used shoes at set locations. Afterwards, the climate team will normally organize all the donated shoes in the location an person strike would have taken place. This is a powerful symbol of the community standing up for their uncertain futures due to the climate crisis.


Hosting shoe strikes for climate was first thought of by the organization Fridays for Future, founded by Greta Thunberg, a prominent leader in the climate action movement.

Recently, shoe strikes have been done around other social issues (not just for climate change). For example, nurses have held shoe strikes to honor all of the nurses that have died due to Covid-19. The nurses stood amidst the shoes to ask politicians to make more strict mask policies, so nurses and medical personnel could be more protected against Covid-19. In a pandemic, shoe strikes can be held for any issue in place of a large gathering.

The planning process:

Choosing a date

When choosing a date for your shoe strike, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to plan and collect shoes. It took our group about three weeks from when we began assembling the boxes to when we did our shoe action. You may also consider planning your shoe strike on a national or global climate strike day. The next global climate strike date is on September 25th.


Finding a location for your shoe layout


You will need a large, empty space to lay out the shoes that you collect. There are two ways that you could go about this. The first is to have the shoe strike outside of your local government building or city hall (space permitting). This would ensure that your elected officials are aware of the action. For our strike team, this wasn’t a viable option as there wasn’t a large enough space outside of the building. Option two is to find a large parking lot or field close by. Preferably you can have a clean background rather than a crowded neighborhood, etc. We chose the parking lot at a church that one of our team members attends. They were easily able to reach out and get permission to use the parking lot on the day of our strike. Also, be sure to consider the time that it takes to layout the shoes. We had around 250 pairs of shoes and it took around an hour and a half to lay out and pick up the shoes.


Assembling and placing collection boxes


Used plastic bins are great ways to collect shoes. You should make sure to have extra bins just in case. Then, type up a short page of information to describe what the collection box is for. Make sure to include your social media(s) and ways to get in contact with your group. Have the info page be visually pleasing so it can grab the attention of a passer-by! Laminate (if the boxes will not be under a shelter) and tape the info page to the lid of the box. Since we are going through a pandemic, we thought it would be a wise idea to include some hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We attached our sanitizer to the box with some string. When it comes to placing the boxes, make sure you place them in well-known areas in the town, like parks. Advertising specifically where the boxes are is important! Placing them by a landmark makes them easy to find. Send some team members to collect the shoes and check on the collection boxes every day or so. They can fill up quickly!




Social Media Templates

In order to collect lots of pairs of gently used shoes, you will need to advertise the event well. Here are some social media templates that you can use to spread the word about the action. If you would like them to be filled in with a specific image or the date/location of your shoe strike and collection boxes please email annabelprokopy@gmail.com. She is happy to make these small additions and send you finalized templates.




In addition to posting on social media, be sure to email local organizations to help spread the word. Another way we advertised for our shoe strike was by phone banking. This is a great way to reach out to people individually to ask them to donate. Phone banking is a great option if you have a list phone numbers of people in your community (we got a list from our local Sierra Club chapter). If you do not, consider reaching out to people in your community individually through social media or email.


Shoe Donation Prizes

We chose to include a small giveaway as an aspect of our shoe strike. A couple of community members had previously donated sustainable items to our group which we used as the prizes. In order to be entered, participants simply had to take a picture with their shoes at a donation box and attend our virtual climate strike later that week. A template for posting about a giveaway can be found above.


Shoe strike layout


On the day you have chosen as your shoe strike layout day, be sure to check the

weather in the morning for rain or storms. The last thing you want is to be caught in a thunderstorm outside with hundreds of pairs of shoes!


When you arrive to your location, simply begin laying the shoes out. We chose to assemble them in a direction where the picture would have a clean background. The typical formation is to lay them a few feet apart in a big rectangle, however you can be as creative as you want with this.

When all of the shoes are laid out and the rows are straight, it is time to take pictures! Our favorite picture is where we held our big banner and climate strike signs in the background, but we also got countless closeups and angles from the shoe layout.


In addition to posting on social media, be sure to email local organizations to help spread the word. Another way we advertised for our shoe strike was by phone banking. This is a great way to reach out to people individually to ask them to donate. Phone banking is a great option if you have a list phone numbers of people in your community (we got a list from our local Sierra Club chapter). If you do not, consider reaching out to people in your community individually through social media or email.

Shoe Donation Prizes

We chose to include a small giveaway as an aspect of our shoe strike. A couple of community members had previously donated sustainable items to our group which we used as the prizes. In order to be entered, participants simply had to take a picture with their shoes at a donation box and attend our virtual climate strike later that week. A template for posting about a giveaway can be found above.


Shoe strike layout


On the day you have chosen as your shoe strike layout day, be sure to check the

weather in the morning for rain or storms. The last thing you want is to be caught in a thunderstorm outside with hundreds of pairs of shoes!

When you arrive to your location, simply begin laying the shoes out. We chose to assemble them in a direction where the picture would have a clean background. The typical formation is to lay them a few feet apart in a big rectangle, however you can be as creative as you want with this.


When all of the shoes are laid out and the rows are straight, it is time to take pictures! Our favorite picture is where we held our big banner and climate strike signs in the background, but we also got countless closeups and angles from the shoe layout.


Donating the Shoes

Once you have completed your shoe strike, you will need to find somewhere to donate the shoes. Prior to the event, we reached out to multiple community organizations such as our local homeless shelter and women’s shelter, however no one currently had the capacity to take the shoes. We stumbled across an organization called Soles 4 Souls, who collects and donates shoes as humanitarian aid around the world. This organization was perfect. We collected and donated 250 pairs of gently used shoes, saving 7500 pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted and providing a family in Haiti or Honduras the resources for food, shelter, and education for 4 months.


Follow up actions

Following our shoe strike, we created a video with the footage that we took while laying them out. We also hosted a virtual climate strike on Zoom which coupled the shoe action. If you are interested in how we organized our virtual strike, stay tuned for a blog post soon!

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