While traveling in Argentina in 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie was surprised to find that the children he had befriended there had no shoes to protect their feet. Later that same year, Mycoskie returned to Argentina, having founded TOMS Shoes - a company that matches every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need - with 10,000 pairs of shoes for the children there, made possible by TOMS customers! This month (September 2010) TOMS is on track to give away its 1 millionth pair of shoes!
TOMS shoes was founded on the simple premise of "One for One." For every pair purchased, TOMS gives away one pair. Their mission is this: "Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we're all about. The TOMS mission transforms our customers into benefactors, which allows us to grow a truly sustainable business rather than depending on fundraising for support."
But why are shoes so important? Many, many children in developing nations go barefoot every day. Going barefoot puts children at increased risk of soil-transmitted diseases and cuts and sores that can easily become infected (which is compounded by a lack of medical care). Additionally, a lack of shoes creates the inability for many children to even attend school since shoes are often required as a part of a uniform.
I recently purchased my first pair of TOMS (which I might add are extremely fun, comfortable to wear, and are manufactured according to fair human rights standards!) in Nashville, IN at a little store called Rhonda Kay's. But you don't have to travel that far though (although Nashville is quite pleasant this time of year!) You can purchase TOMS through their website and also locally!
In Indianapolis - at Nordstrom's at the Fashion Mall, 8702 Keystone Crossing, 46240
In Noblesville - at Eleanor Rozella's in historic Noblesville, 982 Logan St., 46060
Check out the video below to see what TOMS Shoes are doing to help out in Haiti!