Finding the perfect fit is part of Matthew Conti’s mission.

While in high school, Conti volunteered at a local hospital, where he was exposed to the problems caused by improper footwear.

This inspired him to not only become a doctor, but to start the nonprofit “Our Hearts to Your Soles,” which gives shoes, socks and exams to those in need.

What You Need To Know

  • Matthew Conti spent time in high school volunteering at a local hospital, where he learned about the detriments of improper footwear

  • That volunteer time inspired him to start "Our Hearts to Your Soles," a nonprofit focused on giving shoes, socks and foot exams to those in need
  • Together with his colleagues and friends, Conti sets up events to give away proper footwear. His organization has spread across the country and has given out more than 50,000 shoes

“I realized there was a need to provide people who don’t have access to shoes, shoes,” Conti said. “And at school, we always provided coats and hats for the winter, but no one ever provided shoes.”

Conti quickly got to work, and with the help of donations in 2006, he was able to give out 50 new pairs of shoes to the homeless. Since then, he’s never looked back.

“People really care what they wear on their feet, and I think being able to provide someone with a new pair of shoes provides them with a lot of dignity,” Conti said.

Seventeen years later, Conti and his organization have multiplied their efforts, providing more than 50,000 pairs of shoes to those in need.

Conti sets up clinics inside pantries and shelters to provide support. As a licensed foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, he also provides free medical checkups, bringing along his colleagues and family to help out. 

“People come in with size nines, and they need 11’s, so being able to put someone in the right shoes is really important to their overall health and foot care,” Conti said.

Besides just preventable medical problems, Conti said the practicality of being able to have something warm on your feet in the winter months is a game changer.

“It means my feet are going to be warm and dry,” said Zavien Keller, a recipient of a new pair of boots.

“It shows that people care,” said Tom Medina, who also received a new pair of boots.

“Our Hearts to Your Soles” has even taken its mission on the road, providing similar services in cities across the U.S. each week.

“Having the opportunity to give back to the community, to patients that I don’t see every day, is something that I think is really important,” Conti said. “It’s something I love doing. It means a lot to me.”

For helping others walk a mile in a more comfortable shoe, Matthew Conti is our New Yorker of the Week.