380 Chicago students receive free shoes to kick off the school year on the right foot

Hundreds of Chicago students got help starting the school year on the right foot.

Each child at Randolph Elementary in Auburn Gresham now sports brand-new sneakers. As every parent knows, these aren't cheap.

"Expensive! Especially Nikes!," exclaimed Keviyona Ray, Randolph Elementary Principal.


But the students didn't pay a penny. Nordstrom plus the non-profit, Shoes That Fit, provided free Nikes to 380 kids at this south side school.

"What we see today are kids dancing, jumping, running and having a great time getting a new pair of shoes, and it is heartwarming," said Carl Jenkins, Senior VP Nordstrom Rack./

On the surface this event is about new shoes, but the principal says it means much more.

"It's not just about academics. It's about the social emotional part of it too. Because if I feel good, and I look good, then I'm going to do good," said Principal Ray.

Several kids took their new shoes for a test run, as they all move onto a level playing field. No more worrying who's got the coolest kicks.

"I think it's awesome everybody gets a new pair of school because everybody needs them," said 8th grader, Jaidyn Harden.

Nordstrom and Shoes that Fit plan to give away 40 thousand pairs of shoes across the country this year, saying that step can boost student's success in school and self-esteem. It also takes taking away one of the biggest back to school expenses for families.

"They don't have to worry about it. They know their kid to attend school, then go to after school activities. They can participate in sports in a way that makes them confident. It gives them the ability to thrive outside the house. For kids, it's all about joy" said Paul Roach, Shoes that Fit Director of Development.

And that joy was running rampant at this shoe give-away.

You can donate to the effort by visiting shoesthatfit.org or when you check out at Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack.