Toms Shoe Founder Wants You To Ditch Your Shoes
The guy responsible for putting thousands of pairs of shoes on needy children is now asking for a different kind of favor: Take off your shoes.
On Tuesday, One Day Without Shoes encourages people to walk barefoot to raise awareness of global poverty. Whether you go barefoot for as little as 10 minutes, during your lunch break, or make it a full-day affair, Toms Shoes creator Blake Mycoskie hopes to generate buzz that will help attract aid for children in need of shoes around the world.MTV News recently caught up with Mycoskie to learn more about the campaign, which is in its fifth year. "Taking your shoes off for that one day will help create a lot of awareness, not only for what we are doing at Toms, but for what you might want to do or what someone else is doing to help in global poverty. It's an easy way to get involved, and it's my favorite day of the year, and it's free!"
More than 250,000 people around the world went barefoot last year in support of One Day Without Shoes.
Since the company was first founded in 2006, it's had major success with its one-for-one model, where it donates a pair of shoes to children in need for every pair purchased. The classic style of the shoe was first inspired by shoes worn by Argentine farmers for centuries, which Mycoskie observedduring his travels as a contestant on "The Amazing Race."
As of last September, the company has donated more than 1 million pairs, but the success did not happen overnight.
"The first year that we started Toms was this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience, because we didn't know what we were doing and we were traveling around the world, we were begging people to buy our shoes, we were figuring out how to give them away, we had no money and were literally just in that survival mode," Mycoskie recalled. "A couple of years ago ... we were able to move into an office and have a little more of a sustainable business and see the business grow and the media accept us and the retailers, and that was really awesome."
In 2011, the company launched Toms eyewear, using a similar model of one-for-one to help children receive either medical care, prescription glasses or sight-saving surgery.
As for the future of Toms Shoes, Blake has another shoe company in mind that he'd love to follow in its path. "I think that the dream is for Toms to follow in the Converse path. They have become a classic global fashion item that no matter what age you are or what country you live in, you have a pair of Chuck Taylors."
For Tuesday, though, regardless of the kinds of shoes you own, Mycoskie is hoping you leave them at home.