Today, April 5th, is TOMS Shoes One Day without Shoes and I have my bare feet at my desk. I jumped on board the TOMS bus last year channeling my inner-hippie with the canvas shoes. I love them. I knew the “one-for-one” tag line and what the shoes represented, one pair bought means one pair given to someone in need. But it wasn’t until I heard the founder, Blake Mycoskie, speak at this year’s AFP International Conference in Chicago that the shoes truly made their impact.
Did you know that in many developing countries, not only do most children grow up barefoot, but schools require shoes as part of the uniform, so many cannot even attend? Something as small as wearing shoes can keep them from an education and social activities. Kids walk miles in harsh terrain with nothing on their feet to protect them. Along with getting soil-transmitted diseases that run rampant in these developing countries, the fact that these kids don’t have the simple accessory of a shoe keeps them from learning and experiencing their own potential.
Blake Mycoskie created something without the intention of a fashion statement, but a philanthropic statement that has now reached over a million pairs of feet. When Blake was asked if the day he invented TOMS shoes changed his life, he said no. It was the day he put the first pair of shoes on a child’s feet that had never had some. So I slip on my TOMS with a little more reflection now.
Join me and people all over the world, for One Day without Shoes. Take part in this global initiative and kick your shoes off, whether it’s just at your desk, driving in your car, or if you’re really hardcore — walking around outside. Will your feet get dirty? Yes. Will you get weird stares from people? Absolutely. But curiosity means conversation which leads to action which results in change. So in the words of Nike… just do it.