The Paper Shoe Project

Workshop Summary:

In this activity, participants will create a shoe made of paper, cardboard and other found objects. The paper shoe project is a vehicle to stimulate dialogue around the issue of homelessness and poverty.

Why shoes?

  • Reserving judgment until after practicing the compassion of “walking in another’s shoes.
  • The insight that shoes can give about an individual.
  • The lack of comfortable walking shoes, warm shoes, cool shoes.
  • Sole = Soul
  • The story telling “book-ness” of the paper shoes.


Essential Questions:

  • How does exploring my Identity and story influence how I perceive the world?
  • How does considering someone else’s situation impact my understanding of the world?


The Paper Shoe Project was developed in response to a request to create a project that would address the community, homelessness and story- telling and would then be presented at a conference. The project was made available to individuals experiencing homelessness, families living in motels, homeless youth, service providers, housing providers, teachers, community leaders, privileged children from the suburbs, inner city school children, teachers, friends, family were all approached. For the project to be effective, a cross section of our society had to participate. It was important for everyone to “make a shoe free”, to consider their story, to challenge their creativity, to be a part of something bigger, to have a purpose, to finish a project and to discover that we all have many of the same concerns. Over 2000 shoes were made in a 4 month period.