As Founder, Rikki Mendias has been the driving force behind Hav A Sole and has been involved in every aspect of its development. He is responsible for product collection, domestic distribution, national travel, organizing events and developing strategic partnerships within the community.
As a young boy, Rikki, spent over five years in a shelter so he knows what’s it feels like to go without. His mother, who was struggling to make ends meet, couldn’t afford to buy him a pair of much needed shoes. One day, a former resident spoke at the shelter and afterwards, offered to buy him two pairs of new Vans. Rikki never forgot that women’s kindness or the confidence that came from having a fresh pair of sneakers to where to school. However, due to his early deprivation, Rikki later started collecting sneakers in every style, color and brand imaginable. His sneaker obsession continued until his early thirties, when he was a fashion photographer and found his life felt meaningless to him.
One night Rikki, realizing he had more shoes than he needed decided to give some of his collection away. The next day he loaded up the back of his car with shoes and drove the streets of Los Angeles, until he found someone who could benefit from a quality pair of shoes. Afterward, he asked the recipient if he could take a before and after photograph which he posted on social media. Friends all over the country were inspired and offered to send their extra shoes to him as well. Thus, Hav A Sole was born and in ten years we have given out over ten thousand pairs of shoes to shelters, at-risk youth and to those in need.
If you were to ask Rikki today what he has learned from Hav A Sole, he will tell you, “I get more from giving a pair of shoes than I ever did from owning hundreds.”