By LINDSEY BAILEY
TOMS Shoe Company started back in May 2006 by a driven man named Blake Mycoskie, who went on a trip to Argentina and had seen the need for shoes first hand. He discovered that children were getting infected with diseases through the soil from going place to place barefoot.
The “one for one” company is one of the fastest growing innovative companies in 2010; Fortune 500 ranked them number six in the retail shoe category.
Mr. Mycoskie birthed the project after the CBS television show, “Amazing Race” which his sister and he were contestants on. Even though they didn’t win the race, he won more as he began to make shoes in the same kind of comfortable pattern that they wore when he was there, as a great need to help children.
The shoes are now for men, women, and children and they are low maintenance because they can be slipped on with the wide canvas tongue. They began with basic red, blue, and black, but have expanded their colors over the four years the company has been in business.
There are many students here at North Central that are joining with TOMS and making a difference. But what is it about TOMS that make them so great? I asked a few students what they love about their TOMS or why they chose to buy them.
“With every pair you purchase, TOMS gave a pair of new shoes to a child in need. I love my TOMS,” said junior worship leading major Sunil John.
Sophomore psychology major Ian McGuire adds, “I bought the casual style TOMS and they are a pretty universal shoe and very easy to wear. It is very easy to justify paying $45 or so for technically two pairs of shoes. I currently have a black pair with white writing on them.”
“I love my TOMS. They are definitely a spring/summer shoe, but I must admit, I wear them in the winter too because I love them so much,” explains senior music major AJ Radford.
Senior pastoral studies major Anna Hoyt said, “I bought TOMS because I had heard about the great quality of the shoes and also how a child from another country receives a pair with each pair bought. What a great combo!” She added, “I have the sparkly silver ones, and they most definitely make a statement. It never fails that each time I wear them, someone notices and asks me about my shoes.”
Stasia Stein, a junior psychology major, also enjoyed giving me her input, stating, “My friend in Mozambique called me about them because kids at their orphanage had received some TOMS so they encouraged me to support the mission and buy some myself, and I love them! I have gone through 2 pairs of the gray, but I have their boots and 2 other pairs of the basic slippers. They are very comfortable; I wear them everywhere! Since my first purchase, both of my sisters, my brother, and my mom own a pair, not to mention lots of friends from home and here at NCU. I think it is a great idea, and they are always happy for people to get involved!”
Sophomore communication arts major Faith Harshbarger stated, “I wanted to buy a pair of TOMS ever since I first found out what they were all about. We all have to buy shoes anyways, so I think it’s great to be able to help someone else in the process. TOMS are pretty expensive, but if you think about it, the price you’re paying is really for two pairs.”
Harshbarger also pointed out that TOMS range in price from $44–$79 for the shoes and $98 for the boots, which is still comparable to popular shoe brands such as Vans, which start somewhere around $40 and Converse, which start around $50.
In some places, children walk to school for several miles without shoes. Freshman youth ministry major PeggySue Imihy knows the luxury of wearing her TOMS as she states, “They are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever had. A lot of times when I wear them I think, ‘Why do I ever wear other shoes?’ I think of them as buying a pair for me and a pair for a kid around the world and that just makes me feel good, and my feet too!”
These students along with others at NCU and around the world are supporting the TOMS one-for-one movement and donating a pair of shoes to a child in need.
To hear stories or find out more information about TOMS and their mission, visit: www. onedaywithoutshoes.com and to buy your own pair of TOMS, visit: http://www.toms.com.