There are a lot of things that we know we take for granted, but there are some things that wouldn’t even cross our minds as a luxury. For example, right now, I probably have a good forty pairs of shoes in my closet. Some have only been worn a few times, and most aren’t name brand (I heart Target shoes!) but somehow I have accumulated way more shoes than I would ever really need. Did you know that 40% of the world’s people don’t own a pair of shoes? It seems shocking, and is quite hard to digest that in 2009, there is a large portion of people that are stripped of the basic necessity of owning a pair of shoes.
Enter Toms Shoes. Blake Mycoskie was so moved by his travels in South America, that he created Toms, a shoe company with its signature style based on the alpargata, a traditional Argentinian shoe.The distinctive element about Toms Shoes, however, is that it functions on a revolutionary idea; a 1:1 giving model. For every pair of shoes sold, one pair will be given to a child in need. Plus, the fabrics and manufacturing of the shoes is also sourced locally in Argentina. Can you imagine what the impact would be if each company you’ve ever bought shoes from gave a pair away for every pair purchased? We would truly be living in a different world! If every company had a sense of accountability for others – the countries where they manufacture, the people who work in the factories and their families, a better business model and a better world would surely emerge.
Since the company’s inception in 2006, Toms has given away over 130,000+ pairs of shoes, with “shoe drops” occurring in Argentina and South Africa. The Toms volunteers literally rode into the jungle, to the poorest parts of the country and to villages with few inhabitants and hardly any resources to fit children with a pair of shoes. A call to action isn’t hard; simply by buying a pair of shoes for yourself, a friend, or a relative, you can help a child get a pair of shoes. Or, you can go on a shoe drop or donate to one, simply click here for more information.
Now onto the shoes: below are a few of the great fabrications and products offered by Toms (I have the pair in “ash”), with collaborations by Element and Tyler Ramsey.
Silver Glitter, $48
Ash Canvas, $44
Red Wrap Boot, $98
TOMS + Element Collab Cruiser, $150 (I just thought I’d throw this one in there-for every skateboard purchased, one goes to a child outside of Durban, South Africa!)