New York—In an effort to bring attention to the impact a simple pair of shoes can have in a child’s life, TOMS Shoes announces its third annual One Day Without Shoes campaign that asks everyone worldwide to go barefoot on Thursday. Barefoot events around the world from Venice to Little Rock, Dubai to London have already been planned, with more in the works.
Tomorrow communities and individuals will be spreading awareness about the importance of shoes in parts of the world where children’s feet are exposed to debilitating diseases, like soil-based parasites. Many children living in developing countries grow up without shoes, having to walk miles to get food and water, medical help, and attend school (which often require shoes as uniform).
One Day Without Shoes participants can pledge their commitment, join and organize events, and connect with likeminded participants online at OneDayWithouthShoes.com. The website will also provide an outlet for individuals to share their videos, photos, and experiences spending One Day Without Shoes. Every person who RSVPs for an event will have the option to be entered to win a spot on a TOMS Shoe Drop (some limitations apply). Winner will be announced on May 10.
Blake Mycoskie, TOMS Shoes’ founder and chief shoe giver, says, “A shoe company asking people to go barefoot? I know it’s odd, but we are so excited for people to once again join us in One Day Without Shoes. We ask people to go the day, part of the day, or even just a few minutes, barefoot, to experience what millions of children endure every day. Awareness and empathy are the catalysts of change.”
The problem is widespread but the solution is simple. Wearing shoes and basic hygiene can prevent both infection and disease due to unsafe roads and contaminated soil. By imagining a life barefoot, we can all contribute to the awareness of these conditions.
In 2006, Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. To date, TOMS has given more than 400,000 pairs of new shoes to children around the world through its giving partners.