Jan Paolini knows good shoes.
As owner of the Queen Anne Mail and Dispatch and Undies and Outies store, she stocks many of the higher-end designer shoes coveted by shoe lovers in Seattle. The kind of shoes you wouldn't expect to see on anyone's feet except those who wouldn't think twice about spending $100 for a good pair.
Until now, that is.
Through a program she heard about from her district shoe sales rep, Paolini donated more than 100 pairs of designer shoes to the Queen Anne Helpline this month.
The majority of the shoes are made in Israel by the company Naot. Naot shoes are distributed in the States by Yaleet shoe distributors in New Jersey. Paolini says the shoes retail anywhere from $90 to $140. The program allowed her to pick the nonprofit to which she wanted to donate the shoes, and Federal Express shipped them for free.
"Of course I thought of the Help-line first," Jan said. "We're a neighborhood business, and that's what a neighborhood business does."
The shoes come in a variety of summer and fall styles and sizes, and they are either discontinued styles or returns.
Helpline volunteers, such as SPU student Becky McCauley, sorted through all the boxes and currently have the summer styles out.
Suzanne McCallum, assistant to the director at the Helpline, says the summer shoes are a big hit in the Clothing Bank: "They've been flying out the door."
Paolini isn't surprised. She says the shoes are very popular at her store.
They're often called the "Seattle-style Birkenstock," with the reputation of being more fashionable.
The shoes come in neutral colors and are known for having a footbed that conforms to your foot, making them very comfortable to wear. The leather also helps them stay durable.
"They wear so well," said Paolini. "I know people who have worn theirs seven or eight years - and they wore them all the time."
Of course, clients at the Clothing Bank are just thrilled to get a brand-new pair of shoes that are comfortable.
"Wait till they see how long they last," Paolini smiled.
Visit the Queen Anne Helpline at 311 W. McGraw St. on Metro bus route No. 13. Helpline summer hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday.
For more information, contact the Helpline at 282-1540 or go online to www.queenannehelpline.org.
Crown of Queen Anne
Fun Run and Walk
Race begins at 8 a.m.; funny and creative hats win prizes.
Register by calling 282-1540, in person at the Metropolitan Market July 8 and 9 or day of event.
Volunteer crossing guards are still needed.
Helpline Kiddies Parade -
decorate your wheels!
Parade circles around the Queen Anne Community Center ball field at 11:30 a.m.
Prizes, furry friends, clowns.
Queen Anne Community Center picnic follows at 12 noon.
Food, games, booths and prizes.