Would you go Barefoot for a Day?


Photo Courtesy: idigitaltimes

Nikita Kheni, Photojournalist

Would you go barefoot for a day? No, not on a beach or in your backyard, but on the streets of Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, or some other major city? TOMS poses this question each May in its “One Day Without Shoes” campaign in an effort to raise awareness for children’s health and education.


This year, TOMS used Instagram to kick start the campaign in a big way. The company gave away a new pair of shoes to a child in need (with no purchase necessary) for every photo of bare feet tagged on the social media platform from May 5 to 21. “We’re extending the timeframe to build awareness and anticipation, but most importantly, so that more people can participate in an effort to give more,”  states TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie. “The best part is that even if someone is not a TOMS customer, he or she can simply take a photo and post #withoutshoes to make sure a child in need somewhere in the world will get a new pair.”


The footwear company offered one new pair of shoes to a child in need in exchange for every photo (one per person) of bare feet that was posted to Instagram between May 5 and May 21 with the hashtag #WITHOUTSHOES. By Tuesday evening of the first week, the hashtag had more than 31,000 posts.


“I thinks that this campaign is very inspirational because it show how little a person can do, to make a big difference to others in need as well as give others a chance to be empathetic through social media,” states Victoria Sturges (9)


Of course, if going barefoot doesn’t fit into your lifestyle (i.e. when you need to wear footwear to school), you can shop a pair to give back too.


The initiative was part of its eighth annual One Day Without Shoes campaign. TOMS gave away a total number 296,243 shoes to children in developing parts of the world.


Mycoskie has also put TOMS Roasting Co.coffee shop on Elizabeth Street in New York’s Nolita neighborhood, similar to his first such venture in Venice Beach, California. The brand pledges that for every cup of coffee sold, someone in need will get clean water for a day.

Each bag of TOMS Roasting Co. Coffee provides 140 liters of safe water, a week’s supply, to a person in need. TOMS Roasting Co. purchases have helped provide over 100,000 weeks of safe water to people in need, one for one.