THE BLOG

Evolving TOMS Shoe Giving

04/29/2014 10:41 am ET | Updated Jun 29, 2014

The first quarter of 2014 brought a lot of amazing opportunities for TOMS. We launched our new One for One product -- TOMS Roasting Co., opened our second retail location in Austin and produced our first pair of Giving Shoes in our Haiti factory.

And that is just the beginning of what 2014 will be for TOMS.

Internally, we have been working tirelessly to make all of the above and more happen in order to grow the One for One movement. As we look toward the future and all of the projects we have on the horizon, there is one day still engrained on the TOMS calendar and in our culture. It always makes us stop and remember where it all began, and reminds us to continue to spread the word about the importance of shoes for children.

The seventh annual One Day Without Shoes is upon us.

For me, One Day Without Shoes is not only a day of awareness, but also a reminder of so many things. It's a reminder of the impact a small group of young people can have on the world. After all, that's how TOMS started: as a small group of interns led by myself in a tiny loft apartment. And it's also how One Day Without Shoes began. It was an idea formulated by a small group of college students on Pepperdine University's campus. Seven years later, it has grown to an international initiative.

One Day Without Shoes also reminds us at TOMS HQ why we come to work every day. For our employees, it triggers memories of the kids we played soccer and danced with on our Giving Trips; those life-changing experiences with our Giving Partners where we distributed shoes and learned the impact of their programs. For our community, we hope it reminds you of the power a small act, like purchasing a pair of shoes, can have on a child.

As we set out for One Day Without Shoes, paying tribute to the first chapter of the TOMS story, we are reminded of how many chapters we have installed in the TOMS narrative. While TOMS has evolved, so has our Shoe Giving. We are proudly able to offer multiple types of Giving Shoes to our partners, tailored to address the local needs of the environments they serve.

Take the TOMS Winter Boot, for example. Our Winter Boot was designed by our Giving and Product Development team to help keep kids' feet warm and dry in cold climates. TOMS Giving Partners -- humanitarian organizations with deep experience in the regions they serve -- are distributing those boots to Syrian refugee children, escaping conflict to neighboring countries like Lebanon and Jordan. We've been honored and proud to support partners like Save the Children and the U.S. Fund for UNCIEF in distributions such a this.

One Day Without Shoes is a day to spread global awareness for children's health and education issues -- and how shoes play a small part in alleviating them. But One Day also inspires us to take the next step in evolving our Giving model.

I am looking forward to seeing what we will be reflecting on during next year's One Day Without Shoes. This year, on April 29, go without shoes and start a conversation to build awareness about what life is like for kids without shoes.

#withoutshoes