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Oakley Debbs, 2005-2016

In November 2016, Oakley Debbs died due to a fatal anaphylactic reaction resulting from a mild nut allergy.  Oakley was just 11 years old. His parents turned their grief into action by creating Red Sneakers for Oakley and have since shared their painful story to raise awareness about the hidden dangers of food allergies.

Oakley was adamant about wearing proper attire for his many athletic endeavors. In particular, Oakley loved his red sneakers. The family decided to use them as a powerful symbol for increased education and awareness among communities of people with food allergies, but also people who don’t have them. And so, Oakley’s signature shoes became the symbol of this powerful movement and International Red Sneakers Day was born.

Merrill explained their motivation for creating such an incredible outreach: “Our goal is that no family experiences the excruciating loss of a loved one due to lack of knowledge of anaphylaxis. Each time a family thanks us for saving their child or helping to educate them, we know that we’re doing important work.”

So let’s do what we can to support Red Sneakers for Oakley! While most luxury designers have jumped into the sneaker market with both feet first, I prefer the brands that evoke simpler memories of childhood and an annual ritual to procure a brand new pair. Who knew what adventure would befall the fleet of foot!

Left to right: Van’s Unisex Old Skool, $60 / Van’s Authentic Mules, $50 / Chuck Taylor Converse All Stars Americana, $60 / Van’s Old Skool, $60 / SeaVees Darby, $85 / Ked’s Bryn Seasonal, $45

You can join in on the fun by taking a photo of yourself in red sneakers, shoes or anything red!  On May 20th post your photo on social media and help spread the good word.  Please tag @RedSneakersForOakley on Instagram and Facebook, @Oakley_red on Twitter, and use the hashtags #internationalredsneakersday, #redsneakersforoakley, #foodallergyawareness, #livlikeoaks

Down in Palm Beach, Robert Caravaggi’s got the spirit as he jams with The Brothers of Others at Swifty’s Pool at the Colony Hotel.

But, why stop at Red Sneakers? With the start of the summer and Memorial Day around the corner, let’s celebrate with an eye-popping shade. Red is such an uplifting color, often associated with energy, passion and love.  We found an assortment of summer frocks to boost your spirits all summer long.

Toccin Tiered Boho Dress, $395 / Saloni Button Dress, $550 / Sandro Jacquard Dress, $490 / Cinq a Sept Tiered Mini Dress, $395

Pick a pair of kicks to celebrate the kick-off to the summer season.  The Prada platform sandals are on-trend this season to wear with any length, while the espadrilles are alway in summery style.

Vince Suede Espadrilles, $250 / Kate Spade Slingbacks, $168 / Prada Suede Platform Sandals, $790 / Castaner Tie Espadrilles, $135

Or choose a fantastic pair of Stubbs & Wootten with 100% of the profits going to Red Sneakers for Oakley.

And there are no shortages of cute and clever accent bags to brighten your mood.  I am eyeing the Marc Jacobs for its patriotic flare. Then again, I love them all — Prada, Mansur Gavriel, Valentino Garavani, and more Prada.

Mansur Gavriel Pleated Bucket Bag, $695 / Valentino Garavani Rock Stud Cross Body, $890 / Marc Jacobs Color Block Camera Bag, $295 / Prada Basket Bucket Bag, $1120 / Prada Mini Bowling Bag, $995

Merrill, Olivia, Oakley, and Bobby.

Hilary has a personal connection to the efforts of the organization. “I have known Bobby and Merrill for as long as I can remember. The entire Palm Beach community went into shock and mourning at news of the loss of Oakley. And we all are so incredibly proud of what Bobby and Merrill, along with their daughter Olivia, have achieved in honor of his memory. Now with May 20th being declared as International Red Sneakers Day their important message of food allergy awareness will be larger than ever. So lace up those red sneakers and spread the word!”

Milly Poppy Lace Top, $275 / Frame le Cut Off, $180 / Bandana Bow Slides, $135 / Badgley Mischka Pleated Georgette Long Dress, $695 / Kate Spade Bow Heeled Slides, $178 / Timo Gingham Mini Dress, $345 /Caruma Sneakers (buy one pair, plant two trees), $80

What2WearWhere is proud to partner with Red Sneakers for Oakley as our Charity of the Month. Any commissions that we receive by shopping through this article will be donated to the organization.  Or donate directly to Red Sneakers for Oakley and pass on the good word.

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