2 Aug 2021

Lazy Sneakers in high demand as organiser plans to expand second-hand shoe distribution

10:38 am on 2 August 2021

Wellington teenager Maia Mariner has won an award for a project collecting and distributing sports sneakers to children, student athletes, families and social services all over New Zealand.

Lazy Sneakers founder Maia Mariner

Lazy Sneakers' Maia Mariner. Photo: Supplied / Qiane Matata-Sipu

Over the weekend, the Festival for the Future saw young people come together to discuss new ways to improve the world, from tackling climate change to inequality, and young leaders were also celebrated at an awards ceremony.

Mariner took home the Local Impact Award for her initiative, Lazy Sneakers.

"From my understanding not only do we get the award but also $1000. I'm really grateful for it because I'm going to use it to expand our platform and possibly marketing and advertising and use it to branch out let more people know about our message and spread our movement," she told Morning Report.

"I had just noticed in basketball a few of my friends couldn't participate because they didn't have the necessary footwear to do so and I went back to my parents who explained how much an issue material poverty is in New Zealand and we brainstormed a few ideas to originally help out my small community but as the years have gone by the project has just snowballed because there is that demand for bare essentials in New Zealand."

Shoes are gathered from collection bins outside sports venues or offices - Mariner hopes to expand the number of these around the country - once a month before being prepared for distribution.

Social media plays a big part in that process.

"Social media is one of our biggest platforms ... and we encourage people to reach out to us first whether that be coaches getting new sneakers for their kids or parents or individuals.

"[There is] quite a bit of choice. If they are coming to us we let them look through all the sneakers. They find something they like and they might take more sneakers for their family and friends. There's quite a bit of choice, it depends what you want.

"We store them in our shed. We actually can't park our car in our shed any more because all the sneakers take up so much space... Storage has been a big issue, especially this year. This year we have seen so much demand and it's been a lot more busy and we're struggling to find places where sneakers will fit...

"What we're hoping to do is encourage people regions outside Wellington to start their own collections. We just want more people in the communities to find ways to help out and spread the Lazy Sneakers message which is to play, participate, and reach their full potential."

So far, Lazy Sneakers has collected 5000 pairs of shoes and distributed about 4200.