TOMS shoes

Get one pair of shoes, give one pair of shoes


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About the project Edit

TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what they are all about. The TOMS One for One business model transforms customers into benefactors, which allows them to grow a truly sustainable business rather than depending on fundraising for support. The company was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, a business owner from Arlington, Texas. The company designs and sells lightweight shoes based on the Argentine alpargata design. TOMS is not a non-profit but operates on a One for One mission.


In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

After his visit to Argentina in 2006, Mycoskie decided to get involved in shoe giving. Considering sustainability, he concluded that starting a business rather than a charity would help his impact last longer. In his speech at the Second Annual Clinton Global Initiative, Mycoskie recalled that children without shoes were not only susceptible to health risks, but were not allowed to go to school. When asked "why shoes?" Mycoskie's main reason is a disease called podoconiosis. Also known as "Mossy Foot", Podoconiosis is a fungus that gets into the pores on the bottom of the feet and eventually destroys the lymphatic system. It is a soil-transmitted disease caused by walking in silica-rich soil. This causes one's feet to swell along with many other health implications. In many third world countries, walking is the primary mode of transportation whether it be to get water or to go to school. Shoes are the most basic solution to these health risks.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

TOMS shoes provide an example of a sustainable business model that has a social impact. It operates in a way that helps others while offering something unique for the consumer. In 2010, Toms was ranked #6 in the retail category of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Company. It is also the recipient of People's Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the Smithsonian Institution.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

According to the TOMS Shoes website, there are over 1 billion people at risk around the world, and shoes can prevent it. Mycoskie emphasizes that his company's goal is to not only give shoes, but to also educate others on the importance of shoes.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

Over 300,000 pairs of shoes have been given to children under the One for One movement since TOMS launched in 2006. The canvas shoes have been given to children in the United States (Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Florida), Argentina, Ethiopia and South Africa. In collaboration with the Clinton Global Initiative, TOMS gave a one time donation of shoes to Haiti. During 2009, TOMS Shoes hopes to give away 300,000 pairs of shoes to children in need. They're sold at more than 500 stores nationwide and internationally, including Nordstrom and Whole Foods, which features styles made from recycled materials. Blake Mycoskie is hoping to expand the One for One model into other areas like housing, water and schoolbooks. Mycoskie would like to create partnerships with companies so his customers can buy what they need while the same things are given to those who need it across the globe.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

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