Whether it be boat shoes, sandals, or moccisans, flat soled shoes have always been a present in many closets. This year, a new flat shoe has immersed as the leading brand. Created by Blake Mycoskie in 2006, the shoe company was built after Mycoskie visited South America and realized that Argentinian children had nothing to protect their feet. Thus, the company was inspired to provide shoes on a One to One basis: for every pair of shoes purchased, a new pair would be given to a child in need.
The company established what they call shoe-giving partnerships with national, humanitarian organizations. These organizations have both knowledge and familiarity with a specific community in need. The final step is providing shoes made to fit for the children so that their needs are met for everyday wear.
Some may be asking “why shoes” instead of food or shelters. This is because third-world countries often have children growing up barefoot. This means that masses of children are in jeopardy of injury and disease that most likely will not be treated due to their financial status.
Underprivileged children must go through a multitude of tasks without the comfort of shoes such as walking long distances for necessities like clean water or medical aid. The usual shoe for these children is a pair of black canvas shoes with no laces because laces are often too pricy for families to afford if they break, according to toms.com.
“In Africa, there is a desperate need for footwear that will protect from highly prevalent neglected tropical diseases transmitted through the soil,” distinguished professor at George Washington University Dr. Peter Hotez states. While shoes will benefit the children’s physical health, they serve other purposes as well. For example, a number of schools in developing countries have made shoes a requirement in order to attend. This of course creates the trickle effect: If children do not own shoes, they cannot attend school.
“People are condemned to being servants and other low professions, because they simply don’t have the hard drive to perform at the same level.” Dr. Adan Rios, a professor of internal medicine claims, “And it all starts with them not having shoes.”
This year, TOMS have progressed into a fashion statement nationwide. Much like UGGS are a popular winter wares, TOMS are common over the summer.
Sophomore Gidget Zidik said, “I have two pairs of TOMS and I absolutely love them. They have a unique look and fit nicely to my feet. I also love the fact that TOMS gives a pair of shoes to a child in need with each purchase.”
Sophomore Thomas Beaufort added, “I have a pair and they are boss. They are really comfortable and I think the whole idea behind it is admirable.”
TOMS are available for women, men, and youth in a variety of styles. Featured styles include classics, artists, botas, cordones, cords, nautical biminis, stich outs, vegans, TOMS+, glitters, wedges, wedding style, and wrap boots.
Sophomore Andrea Buck said, “I have four different pairs. I absolutely love them. They are super comfortable and they go with everything.” Buck goes on, “They can get a little pricey, but I just remind myself that I’m paying for two pairs of shoes. I think the cause is great and I would recommend them to anyone who wants to feel good about the clothes they wear.” The shoes vary in price depending on the style, but typically range from anywhere between $54- $115.
The company has furthered their mission by beginning a glasses line. “We started here because sight is a fundamental need,” the TOMS web site said, “The loss of sight has a dramatic impact on a person’s life – and on his or her family and community.” TOMS is enforcing a One to One complex much like their shoes. With every purchase of TOMS glasses.
Although they were inspired by a trip to Argentina, TOMS provides shoes for a total of 44 countries from Angola to Zambia.
The TOMS industry has definitely succeeded in their efforts to provide a healthy lifestyle for children in developing countries. According TOMS. com, the company has been able to provide over two million pairs of shoes to those in need.
Chief Shoe-Giver Blake Mycoskie proclaims, “Giving is what fuels us. Giving is our future. It’s the core of our business and it’s time we celebrate it.”