Bobby J Johnson believes the key to getting off on the right foot is having the right pair of shoes. While training for the Peachtree Road Race in 2011, Johnson found his purpose and created Eco Sneakers, an organization that provides used, not abused, sneakers to people all over the world. Not only does Johnson’s effort provide shoes to those in need, but Ecosneakers has also saved more than 500,000 pairs from landfills. Johnson’s give-back efforts extend outside of Ecosneakers, where he spends his time as a mentor to many, a volunteer for Green Sports Alliance, and the celebrity chairperson for the UNCF Mayor’s Ball Committee for over a decade.
What event has influenced your life most?
While training for the Peachtree Road race in Atlanta, I encountered a homeless man who had no shoes. Without hesitation, I gave the gentleman my own shoes. It was at that moment that I realized that my purpose in life was to give back. Thus, Eco Sneakers was created. As others joined in, I witnessed the ripple effect of human connection through giving, which sparked a shared sense of purpose within communities. The momentum has snowballed into where I am today.
What was the driving force behind founding Eco Sneakers?
The driving force behind Eco Sneakers has always been my passion. I grew up in Paris, Kentucky, where, like many families, we had limited resources. These experiences instilled in me a strong sense of determination and a burning desire to succeed in life. Despite being a quiet individual, I have a fire for purpose and a chance to make a positive change.
What’s next for Eco Sneakers?
The next step for Eco Sneakers is to elevate the Eco S’Mulch project, making it more expansive and impactful. We aim to spread its reach across the United States and eventually to a global scale. Additionally, we’re excited to dive into a STEAM project featuring our Eco Stuffies, which are stuffed animals crafted from recycled plastic bottles and filled with 100% upcycled materials.
What impact do you hope to leave on the world?
I aspire to leave a positive impact on the Earth by making it a better and greener place through my efforts. I want others to recognize that regardless of age we all possess the ability and opportunity to make a difference.
Where do you go for “me” time?
I love my time outdoors. This is where I go for “me” time. Whether in my backyard, a park or a simple walk, it gives me the escape I need. It impacts me physically and mentally as well. It allows me quiet time to reflect and reconnect with nature. When this happens, sparks of creativity go off in my mind.