Chase Shiel doesn’t have children of his own. He didn’t grow up in Melbourne and has never set foot inside The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH). And yet last Christmas, the talented sneaker designer generously donated over $10,000 to the hospital, thanks to very special of a pair of one-of-a-kind Dunkaroo inspired sneakers.
Chase’s career creating customised sneakers started over 14 years.
“Growing up, I never had an interest in shoes. Then, when I was 18, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue, leaving me bed ridden for about a year and a half. I started customising sneakers to help with my recovery. I was initially just painting the sneakers as a hobby, something I could be creative with, but I really took an interest in it and wondered if it was something I could start doing full time,” said Chase.
Chase soon started training in men’s shoemaking, but after realising creating traditional footwear wasn’t his thing, he switched back to customising sneakers. But this time, instead of just painting the shoes, he started doing deconstruction and reconstruction – taking just the sole of shoes and rebuilding the upper in his own style.
At the end of 2020, Chase partnered with Jason Yoder, a US based designer who runs a company called The Collab Club to create a limited run of sneakers inspired by Dunkaroos, the iconic 90s snack food featuring kangaroo and circle cookies, alongside a tub of sprinkle frosting for dunking.
“After the initial Dunkaroo collaboration in 2020, we had some leftover materials, so in November 2021, we ran a ‘choose your own adventure’ style Instagram competition that allowed followers to choose their favourite style, an Air Max 1 and an Air Jordan 1. The one with the most votes would be available for sale. In the end, the audience selected the Air Max 1. However, we had the material leftover and thought we could do something for a good cause with it because they were completely one of-a-kind, so we decided to raffle them off and donate all funds to the RCH.”
For Chase, supporting the hospital was a ‘no brainer.’
“Growing up in Hobart, you would hear about all the incredible work the RCH did, and when I moved to Melbourne five years ago, it became even more clear. So, when we started thinking about raffling off the shoes, I knew I wanted to support the hospital. Plus, the shoes are so fun and youthful, so it was a perfect match.”
The shoes were raffled off in December 2021, with all proceeds from ticket sales supporting the RCH. There were 160 tickets on offer to be part of the raffle, which sold out in less than 48 hours. In total, an incredible $10,312 was raised for the hospital, with one lucky winner walking away with the one-of-a-kind sneakers.
“Hosting the raffle in December was another reason that I decided to support the RCH. Even at my age, I can’t imagine not seeing my family at Christmas, so I wanted to make a difference for children who weren’t able to go home over the festive season.”
“It was incredible seeing the tickets to the raffle sell out in less than 48 hours, especially knowing that all that money would be helping sick children.”
If your organisation is interested in learning about the many ways you can support the RCH, please contact Kate Dear, Corporate Engagement Manager at [email protected].