April 5 marks the second “The One Day Without Shoes” event, raising awareness about the need for shoes in developing countries. Toms Shoes has built its business around charitable giving, providing one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of Toms Shoes bought.
At South by Southwest in March, the founder of the Los Angeles-based footware company Blake Myscoskie told the story of how he started his company when he met a family that only had one pair of shoes for their children.
Their school required shoes, so each child had to stay home on the days it was not their turn with the shoes. He said building his business around charitable giving has creating a fierce fan following. He calls his company’s policy the “One-for-one,” program. To date, Toms Shoes reports it has given away over one million pairs of shoes.
Will you shed your shoes for the day?
(Non-objective and cynicism disclosure: I hate wearing shoes and love the excuse this day offers up to shed the heels, but will prancing around my office in barefeet (frightening my officemates even more than I usually do) really help me understand the plight of children in Argentina?)