The sneaker community is an expansive one that continues to grow. Sure, we often come together in frustration when we take Ls on Saturday mornings or we get hyped with an upcoming release. Nonetheless, the beauty lies in the fact that sneakers are a vessel for community that goes beyond debates of colorways or ranking the most important shoes.
Kicks For Kids, started by Kellen Baker and Alex Rodriguez, continuously brings the city of Phoenix together in more ways than one in a philanthropic effort that provides sneakers for those in need.
As the tenth edition of KFK took place, Rodriguez reflects on what KFK means from its origins to this day.
“To me, it was a culmination of all the work me and my partner, Kellen Baker, had put into it. It’s always been built off relationships never corporate entities.”
“Sure, we get brands like Jason Markk and others that help out, but it’s always been built on relationships with those individuals at those brands who appreciate and support us,” Rodriguez said.
The event draws support from an array of angles. Attendees are welcomed to donate new shoes. Exclusive items like signed jerseys and player exclusive sneakers are up for auction. Whether it’s shoes from PJ Tucker or The Shoe Surgeon, the event inspires change though sneakers.
“It’s cool that all of those items come from my personal and professional relationship with people like PJ Tucker, Chris Beard who has been instrumental in connecting me with different players and organizations and Phoenix Suns equipment manager Jay Gaspar. They hear about this event, and they just want to contribute in any way possible,” Rodriguez said.
“Having those players is huge, but it’s really everyone else who throws their hats in the ring to take it over the top.”
Through the years, KFK has compiled tons of shoes and thousands of dollars for the Boys and Girls Club of Arizona.
For Rodriguez, this is just the beginning.
“We’re at a crossroads where we want to figure out what the next step is going to be. Houston’s been on the radar. The next step is to take it out of state again to grow our brand and expand the markets we want to hit,” he said.
“KFK still remains at the core of an ideal of helping out kids in need whether it’s athletics or ability to go to school with decent shoes on their feet. Just keeping true to our original name – Kicks For Kids.”
Learn more about Kicks For Kids along with how to help over at their Instagram here.