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Thursday, September 5, 2013

TOMS: A Travel Shoe That Does Good #OneforOne

When you start making your packing list for your trips (you are making a list, right?) do you often consider which shoes are best for where you're going? Once I know my destination, I start planning what to put in my carry-on and I almost always buy a new pair of shoes, since my old ones have been worn out to the point of not being comfortable to walk in for 6+ hours each day. I suppose I could buy inserts for them, but I enjoy the hunt for a good pair of shoes and if I choose TOMS, I can feel even better about my selection, because not only do I know that I'm getting comfortable and stylish footwear, but with their One for One campaign, someone else in need is also getting a pair of TOMS.

The One for One campaign was fantastic when it was giving back to those in other countries (over 60!), but now TOMS is expanding their reach and will be helping those who need it in the U.S. as well. The plan is to donate one million shoes - at least - to children in 35 states by the end of 2014. That's a lot of shoes! This is on top of shoes being provided worldwide. You have to admit that's a pretty good way to run a business and give back wherever you can. 

I've traveled to some pretty impoverished places, even just a bit outside of major cities. Sadly, I know we have some of the same conditions here in America and not everyone can afford new shoes. Children shouldn't have to face the first day of school (or any day for that matter) with shoes that are too small, too worn or not warm enough, just because their families have to choose other necessities over what to put on their feet. If we're lucky enough to be able to buy shoes whenever we need or want them, we surely can help give back to those who can't.

So, just what kinds of shoes are given to those less fortunate? Amazingly, TOMS provides three different kinds of shoes (not available for purchase):

Unisex canvas slip-on - Are these your favorite pair of shoes in your closet? Well, they are for a lot of people and there's a reason why. Anyone can wear them, plus they are comfortable and perfectly casual. They make the ideal footwear for all and a version of these have been given out all over the world.

Sports shoes - If a kid needs new shoes for physical activities, these are the ones they are going to get. Not only will they be able to run and play in them, but TOMS is committed to eradicating childhood obesity, so these have a dual purpose.

Winter boots - Not everyone in need lives in conditions suited to one sort of shoe, so for those in colder climates, TOMS donates fleece-lined boots that are waterproof and have an adjustable fit. 

Want to know more? Check out this cool video the people at TOMS put together for you:

TOMS isn't just giving away shoes. They realized this method of helping those in need could be even larger, because as much as shoes can help, sometimes that's just not enough, so they have included eyewear in their One for One campaign. For each pair of glasses that are purchased, TOMS contributes either corrective eyewear, medical treatment or cataract surgery to someone who can't provide this for themselves.

Photo credit: Nancy Jennings
Now, you know I'm for supporting your local economy, but when a big brand actually does good in your community and those around the world, they can't be ignored. This is a company that deserves your money, because they give back in all the right ways and I hope next time you are considering some new footwear, you will think of them. I don't own a pair of TOMS yet, but they have new styles coming out all the time, so I've got my eye on a pair of their new sandals and wedges for my next shoe purchase. Which would you get?

Disclosure: I was thrilled when asked to participate in the TOMS brand ambassadorship program to support TOMS U.S. Giving program. I am bringing this post and #OneforOne news to you as a part of that partnership

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