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 shoes. Rikki never forgot her kindness and the confidence that came with it. However, due to his early deprivation, Rikki later tried to collect sneakers in every style, color and brand imaginable. His sneaker obsession continued until his early thirties, when Rikki, who was now a fashion photographer found none of it held the same satisfaction that it once had. In fact, it felt meaningless.
It was during this time that Rikki realized that he had more shoes than he could ever wear and decided to give some of them away to those in need. Driving the streets of Los Angeles, Rikki found a man sleeping on the streets and gave out his first pair. Afterward, he posted a before and after picture of the shoes on social media. People were inspired and offered to send their extra shoes as well. Thus, Hav A Sole was born and since then he has given away over seven thousand pairs of shoes to shelters, at-risk youth and those in need.
Today, if you ask Rikki what he has learned from Hav A Sole, he says, “I get more from giving out one pair of shoes than I ever did from owning a hundred.”