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TOMS Shoes: Buy One, Donate One

AlpargataTOMS Shoes: Shoes for Tomorrow, based in Santa Monica, California wants to give its products away. And you can help.

When TOMS’ founder Blake Mycoskie went to visit Argentina on vacation, he discovered more than he expected. While touring, he was exposed to the Argentinean soft shoe called Alpargata. He was also challenged by the poverty he saw, including the villages with children who did not even have shoes. As a result, he decided to create an organization that would be able to fill the simple, but necessary, need of putting shoes onto the feet of children who needed them.

It’s a fairly simple formula: for every pair of TOMS bought, a pair of shoes is donated to a child in Argentina through TOMS shoe drop (and in 2008, a shoe drop went to South Africa).

As of press time, TOMS uses factories in China and Argentina to manufacture their shoes, and soon expects to have factories in Brazil and Ethiopia.

TOMS requires that factories operate in fair labor conditions and pay fair wages, and sends third-party auditors and staff to factories to ensure that they maintain proper working conditions and are adhering to TOMS standards.

Photo Credit: Concurso a la mejor combinación alpargata-pantorrilla by jmerelo via Flickr’s Media Commons

Written by Amiel Blajchman

Amiel is the founder of the Globalis Group, an organization whose motto is "combining action and thought for a sustainable world." His experience includes working with the Canadian government on greenspace projects, sustainable development programs and on policy documents on issues as diverse as climate change, sustainable development, and the environmental and social impacts of transportation. He is listed on the UN’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory’s list of GHG experts, and has sat on the Canadian Environmental Certifications Board’s Greenhouse Gas Verification and Validation Certification committee.


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  1. Hey Amiel-
    Just wanted to say thanks for writing about TOMS. Will you email me your mailing address? I’d love to send you a copy of our documentary!

    Take care,


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