Saint Louis University


SLU Higher Purpose Greater Good Battle for the Boot Logo St. Louis Wide Shoe Collection Challenge


What is the Battle for the Boot?

The Battle for the Boot began in 2012 as a friendly competition between Washington University and Saint Louis University to see which university could collect the most shoes during a shoe drive. Saint Louis University has walked away with the boot 2012, 2013 and 2014.  In 2014, the University of Missouri in St. Louis (UMSL) joined the battle. In 2015, five universities competed for the boot: Saint Louis University, Washington University, UMSL, Maryville University and Fontbonne University.

Who Sponsors the Shoe Drive at SLU?

The Staff Advisory Committee (SAC) began the annual shoe drive in 2012. Although SAC sponsors the drive, it is successful only with the support of the faculty, staff and students at SLU. In 2012 our goal was to collect 3,000 pounds of shoes. We collected 5,223 pounds. The SAC members elected to continue the shoe drive each year and to remain in the Battle for the Boot.  In 2013 we collected 7,067 pounds or 5,496 pairs of wearable shoes. In 2014 we collected 5,327 pounds or 4,479 pairs of wearable shoes.  In 2015, we collected 6,341 pounds or 5,524 pairs of wearable shoes. The shoe drive officially runs from January 1 - May 31 of each year.  In 2015, the St. Louis Regional Higher Education Sustainability Consortium coordinated the shoe drive across the five participating universities. 

Where Do the Collected Shoes Go?

The shoes are donated to Shoeman Water Projects, also known as, Solea Water, a nonprofit organization located in Fenton, Missouri. Shoes are collected to help reduce waste in the landfill from unwanted shoes and to provide affordable shoes in a secondary market while creating economic opportunities in developing countries. Some of the countries include, but are not limited to, Guatemala, Ecuador, Mexico, Haiti and Kenya. This enables people who could not otherwise purchase a pair of shoes to trade, barter or purchase shoes, protecting their feet from parasites and injury.

How is the Money Used?

The money helps support the water programs. The programs include installing water purification systems and/or drilling wells providing clean drinking water in areas in need. Countries currently serviced with water programs include Panama, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guatemala and Belize. To learn more visit

What Can You Do to Help?

Everyone can donate shoes. Shoes can be new or used. The main requirements are that they not have any holes in the soles, tears on the top or sides, and that the shoes are not falling apart. They must be wearable and we do need them as a pair, one left and right matching shoe.

If you want to do more to help, here are a few options:

     ·  Volunteer to help sort shoes; count them and prepare them for pick up by Solea Water.

     ·  Volunteer to place a collection box in your building and monitor it.

     ·  Spread the word; tell SLU friends, family, students, coworkers and classmates.

     ·  Sponsor a box in your resident hall. Generate a challenge between floors, other buildings, or even different
        student organizations.

Where Are the Shoe Collection Bins?

We have approximately 50 collection bins across the Saint Louis University Campus during the shoe drive. The list of locations will be posted when the drive is active. In addition to professional buildings, there will be bins in the Busch Student Center, Simon Recreation Center, and the four parking garages. 

Who Do You Contact for More Information?

Yvonne McCool is the shoe drive coordinator at SLU. She can be reached by calling 314-977-8957 or by e-mail at