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A call for help from Amsterdam: our homeless need decent shoes.


 Amsterdam’s homeless walk a lot, for large parts of the day, and often the night as well. In many places, it’s not allowed to linger; running the risk of getting fined and turned away, they are forced to stay moving constantly. Many of them live like this, in shoes that are too small and too narrow. 

The Central Bureau for Statistics recently published that the number of people without a steady place to stay has more than doubled in the past ten years. This means more people looking for help and more people vulnerable for other dangers like addiction and abuse. The expectation is that pressure on the city’s missions will increase, demand for food, drink, clothing and footwear along with it.

Pedicurist Jeannette who volunteers for homeless shelter De Regenboog Groep, has been helping the homeless with their feet for over 20 years: “Its more needed now than ever. The vast majority of homeless people walk around in pain.” Jeannette regularly treats feet with corns, calluses, ingrown toenails and even infections. “When I’m treating a homeless persons foot is when my craft is fully appreciated. I always tell them: this is a five minute vacation. Using various techniques I am able to alleviate and even take away the pain. But then they walk out in shoes that are just unfit for walking. That way, all discomfort will be back in no time.”

Around 600 homeless people pass through the doors of De Regenboog Groep’s eight shelters daily, coming to a total of more than 5000 unique visitors last year. Practically none of them has normal shoes, so hundreds of pairs are needed. The call is specifically for slightly wide shoes, starting at size 42, preferably sturdy and warm. The (sport)shoes that most of the homeless wear now just don’t keep feet warm, forcing them to wear multiple layers of socks in shoes that were too small to begin with. All the walking puts a lot of pressure on the kicks, often widening them and minimizing support, with new physical problems as a result.

 Patta supports De Regenboog Groep and is calling for everyone to check their closets for sturdy and warm shoes, size 42 and up. For the rest of the year, bring your wearable and durable pairs to Patta Amsterdam and get a 20% in-store discount (only redeemable on-the-spot) in return. No cloth shoes or summery sneakers please. 


No suitable shoes to spare? Visit this page or make a one-time donation of 3 euro to the cause directly by texting SCHOEN to 4333.