All shoes are not created equal. Some ooze style; others are pure comfort. But TOMS Shoes can make you feel good, really good, because with each purchase you’re helping provide shoes for children in need who otherwise would have to go without. Founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, TOMS Shoes donates a pair of shoes to children in need for every pair sold. It’s the One for One movement. In three years, more than 130,000 shoes have been given to children in Ethiopia, Argentina, South Africa and the United States. It was a trip to Argentina and the sight of so many barefoot children with cuts and bruises that jolted Mycoskie to action. He wanted to give the children shoes, but he knew it couldn’t be just a one-time donation. His had to be a commitment to help over and over. The self-described serial entrepreneur who started five companies in 12 years sold his online driver’s ed company and created TOMS Shoes. He based the shoe style on the alpargata, a traditional Argentine shoe that farmers have worn for more than 100 years. The shoe is a lightweight canvas slip-on with just a sliver of a rubber composite sole. It comes in multiple colors and prints for women, men and children. A new wrap style was introduced last fall. Prices range from $34 to $68, with most costing $44 to $48. More than two dozen retailers sell the shoes within a 100-mile radius of Oklahoma City. Oklahoma is one of the top states for retail sales. The company’s goal is to donate 300,000 pairs of shoes this year. The TOMS team hands out shoes five days a week in Ethiopia and monthly in Argentina. Sometimes it’s the first time children have had a new pair of shoes. Often a pair of shoes opens the door to school. In many villages, children must wear shoes to attend school. TOMS Shoes, a name that evolved from the original concept, Shoes for Tomorrow Project, is based on the idea that we have a better tomorrow. For many children in need, a better tomorrow starts with the purchase of a pair of shoes today.
OnlineFor pictures, retailers and more information on TOMS Shoes, go to Miller’s blog at blog. newsok.com/ fashionmat ters.