A Black man wearing a mask and gloves holding a custom VANS slip-on sneaker (Foot The Bill).
Cover Image © David Bluetile


The time has come again to share something I view as a good cause or product and throw some support, money, and awareness toward it. This month’s selection for “The Monthly Kick In” is VANSFoot The Bill Initiative they began over a year ago. The program helps small businesses through this pandemic-struck economy.

What is VANSFoot The Bill Initiative?

Foot The Bill is a program from Iconic footwear, apparel, and lifestyle brand VANS. The initiative is designed to help small businesses raise revenue to soften the blow of COVID-19’s impact. They specifically focus on assisting “local and community-driven small businesses including skate shops, music venues, art galleries, and restaurants.”

A visual explanation of how VANS' Foot The Bill works.

How I Came Across Foot The Bill

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a little while knows that I can be a sucker for well-timed advertising placed into the flow of my day. I was on Facebook on my phone and boom – this popped up…

A Facebook Ad for Vans' Foot The Bill Initiative.

I wouldn’t expect anyone here to know this about me, but I don’t buy shoes on a whim. I tend to purchase a LOT of shoes at once (like 16-20 pairs) and donate all of the ones I currently had (because they aren’t in bad condition) when I shoe shop. I do this every 4-5 years. Shoes, boots, mocs, flops – all of that gets cycled in/out of my wardrobe on this cycle.

But this was different.

While I am coming up on this time again soon, I wasn’t necessarily looking for anything at that moment — but this was a perfect synergy for me between my personal style (I like wearing classic shoes & that type of graffiti-cartoony/Hiphop of design), causes (I love supporting small businesses and the arts when I can) and familiarity (VANS is on my shortlist of shoe companies regularly in my rotation).

All of that said – I actually passed on clicking the ad at first after staring at it for a bit (I know — I’m doing a great job selling this one 😅). But I came back to Facebook the following day and happened to come across the ad again (their algorithm knows me too well)! I clicked it, was taken through a quick ad-interstitial, and then I clicked that I wanted to buy and was dropped into the Foot The Bill order page (PS: I think I’m pretty good about calling this out, but I’m not getting anything for this — I genuinely want to share things I like with you all).

A Great Cause + Solid Options

Once you’re in the shop, you see a few featured businesses (who VANS wisely/respectfully refers to as partners) – and then key messages from a few of the owners involved with the program in the section following that top one. I was there specifically for the shoes that I saw in the ad, so I was happy to quickly come across those to learn a little more about that business (I’ll let you guess which ones I bought).

Scrolling past that, it’s cool to see that they not only offer a wide variety of businesses from all over the U.S. (I counted 46 partnering businesses as of this posting ranging from “busier” to “more simplistic” styles) – but they even call out which ones are women-owned if that factors into which business you’d like to support with your stylish purchase. NOTE: This seems to be an international initiative, but I’m just posting about the U.S. portion of it. If you click into any of those options in front of you at that point, you are shown info about the company (location, social media link, etc.), what items are available from the company’s collaboration with VANS, the company’s story, how they intend to spend the money, and their design inspiration.

Detailed information related to one of the participating small businesses in the program.

FAQ, more menus, and so on are beyond that main shopping selection portion.

The Shoes I Purchased

Since their site says that, “… Vans will [only] be producing up to 1,000 pairs of Custom Vans shoes, and 250 t-shirts per partner,” I went ahead copped the shoes that brought me there in the first place – and I’m looking forward to getting them in the next few weeks.

Custom FTB The Black Genius Art Show SK8-HI
(Click image for a larger view)

I know these aren’t for everybody taste-wise, but I dig ’em and can’t wait to wear them!

It feels nice getting something that I want while supporting a good cause at the same time. Small businesses drive our economy, and it’s cool to support them in a practical way. I mean… I was going to buy new shoes at some point, anyway — so I might as well go this route and help out the little people vs. “Big Corporate”.

Hell, I may even end up coming back to buy more shoes given the huge selection they have.

Check it out, you might see shoes or shirts from a local business you want to support.

A snip of a small ad that briefly explains what the Foot The Bill Initiative is all about.

Peace, and thanks for reading.


The soundtrack for this post provided by…

Image Credits:
– Cover Image © David Bluetile
– All Body Images © Vans, A VF Company

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