Over the last twenty years, skate footwear brand, etnies, has given away 45,500 pairs of shoes to those in need.

Photo: Madrid Photography

LAKE FOREST, California, April 24, 2017 - When etnies CEO Pierre-Andre Senizergues arrived in America to pursue his dream to skate, he found himself homeless on the streets of Venice, California. It wasn't long before the skateboarder turned pro, but he never forgot his experience or lost his connection with people on the streets. That's why etnies works each year with Los Angeles Mission to donate thousands of pairs of shoes to residents of Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, the nation’s largest concentration of homeless people living and sleeping on public sidewalks.

"Even before arriving in LA, I shared the cobblestone streets of Paris with homeless people who had no other place to go," Pierre-Andre recalls. "I gave them what I could - the sweatshirt I was wearing or other clothes - but I never could hand over my shoes. I realized then that we had so much in common, both dependent upon the streets and needing durable shoes to protect our feet. As soon as I could with etnies, I vowed to give back to the people who share the streets with skateboarders as a way of expressing our solidarity with them as neighbors and offering them some comfort and protection."

Photo: Madrid Photography

Since starting the give-back program in 2007, etnies has donated 45,500 pairs of shoes worth $2.7 million in retail value. To fulfill this initiative, etnies partners with Los Angeles Mission, which has provided help, hope and opportunity to men, women and children in need for 80 years.

Photo: Madrid Photography

In addition to donating 1,500 pairs of shoes this year, Active Ride Shops contributed 1,500 pairs of socks as well.

"It's all part of what we can do together to give hope to homeless residents," Pierre said. "Besides donating money if you're able, I'm asking skateboarders to also think about the people we share the streets with and look after them. Something as simple as offering a clean hoodie or bottle of water can go a long way toward helping them through another day. And don't forget the power of a smile or kind word."

To capture the work done over the past two decades, etnies developed this video about their work with the homeless on the street.

About etnies

Established in 1986, etnies is the first skateboarder-owned and operated global action sports footwear and apparel company. etnies not only pushed the envelope by creating the first pro model skate shoe, but it pioneered technological advances and changed the face of skateboard footwear forever. Today, etnies' vision, led by owner and skateboarder Pierre-André Senizergues, is to remain the leading action sports company committed to creating innovative products that provide the most style, comfort and protection possible. etnies stays true to its roots by sponsoring world class skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding and BMX teams and continues its dedication by giving back to each of these communities. For additional information, visit etnies.com.