I’ve made it clear time and again the disdain I have for TOMS Shoes and their in-kind giving practices. If you want detail on why, please read some of my older pieces here, here and here. Today, though, is a special day as it relates to TOMS.
Each year, one day is set aside by the company for awareness building through an event known as “One Day Without Shoes”. In short, supporters of TOMS and their mission are asked not to wear shoes for a day, in solidarity with impoverished individuals who might not be able to afford shoes. Brilliant marketing, as it makes the brand and the mission that much more relatable.
Brilliant, that is, until you stop and think about it. Does it get much more ironic than for a company focused on ending shoelessness, especially one that speaks out about the health risks of barefoot living, to encourage people to go shoeless for a day?
Well, no. I honestly don’t find this to be ironic at all. Rather, this is exactly the kind of break in logic you would expect from a company and a movement focused more on appearances and popularity than effectiveness and sustainable solutions. This is exactly the type of idea you would anticipate from a group more concerned with raising awareness about a familiar problem than finding real solutions to its underlying causes. The problem is not shoelessness, the problem is poverty. The sooner society and organizations like TOMS recognize this and act accordingly, the better.
And so on...