We go barefoot when we feel free: at home, in the yard, at the beach, and throughout childhood. On Tuesday, those who free up their toes by walking barefoot aren’t doing it for comfort, though — it’s for One Day Without Shoes, a fundraising effort by shoe company Toms to provide shoes for those in need.
Toms’ One Day Without Shoes invites people to walk a mile with another person’s feet, since many people in developing countries can’t afford shoes. They’re challenging companies and individuals to eschew shoes at work tomorrow, going barefoot to raise awareness for students who are denied entry to schools because they don’t own shoes, or who suffer from tetanus or other diseases that can be contracted from improper foot protection. Toms, which already sends shoes to children in need for every pair purchased, will be outfitting villages with shoes for the occasion. Those who go barefoot to raise awareness can post their photos to a photowall.
Shoelessness is designed to start conversation — Toms provides a card of talking points for people who choose to ditch their shoes — but it’s been discussed in fashion for decades. The blog Lost in the 60s shows actresses throughout the years going barefoot in public. Every few years at Fashion Week, a designer will send models down the runway barefoot. And barefoot sandals give people who are uncomfortable with totally naked toes look a little less dressed-down.