Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two for the Price of One Never Felt So Good

The first time I heard about TOMS shoes was in a little magazine article that featured this progressive company and announced the upcoming launch of shoes for small feet. Never heard of TOMS? It just might be the most socially responsible shoe-making venture in the world. Started by a young entrepreneur determined to make a difference, TOMS offers the best "two for one" deal I've ever heard of: for every pair of shoes you buy from them, TOMS will donate a pair of shoes to a child in need somewhere in the world. It's simple and incredibly effective.

The first "shoe drop," as TOMS calls it, was in Argentina, and consisted of 10,000 pairs of shoes.

In 2007, TOMS donated 50,000 pairs of new shoes to children in South Africa.

I was fascinated by the article, and immediately sought out TOMS online, hoping to learn more. The story of the shoes, their simple and comfortable design, and the decision to build a company that would not just create a product but would try to make a difference in the world was an inspiration.

And, the shoes were so appealing -- fun, lighthearted scuffs for skipping around in summertime parks. They have soft, lined canvas uppers with a flexible rubberized sole. There were all sorts of colorful designs that I could easily imagine wearing. I didn't buy a pair right that second for two reasons: I have exceedingly high arches, and I was worried that, like every other pair of ballet flats and canvas sandals I've ever tried on, these flat shoes would leave my feet aching half an hour after I got to the playground.

But also, TOMS was about to come out with Tiny TOMS, their styles for children -- and I wanted to wait to buy a pair for Daughter. What pink-loving little girl, who tries to keep up with her running big brother, wouldn't want a pair of these?
While I was waiting, I got distracted by life and never made the purchase. Then, out of the blue, a representative from TOMS contacted me, and offered me a pair of shoes to review. I went to check out all the "Fall and Winter" shoes for women and found all sorts of designs I loved, in retro men's suiting plaids, and suede, and other fun styles. I also looked more closely inside the shoes and discovered something amazing: these flat shoes aren't ordinary flats: they have a suede, highly padded, shaped footbed with an actual arch built in. I was sold! So TOMS sent me these:In a word? I LOVE them. They are so incredibly comfortable that I never want to take them off. There is so much cushion in them that I almost feel as though I'm wearing an athletic shoe, except that they are light and airy in the uppers. I wish I could wear them to work, and running errands, and to the playplace with the kids. The only reason I haven't had them on every single day since I got them is this:

This is the only negative thing I can say about TOMS: they aren't exactly going to protect your feet if you're walking through calf-high snowdrifts.

BUT, they do have some adorable winter styles, if you're in a climate that's chilly and unhospitable without being downright tundra-like. There are kicky knee-high wrap boots in several colors, suede, corduroy, and even fleece-lined models.

And, every single pair you buy means a pair gets donated to a child who otherwise doesn't have shoes.

As soon as she can go outside without snowboots, Daughter will be sporting a pair of Tiny TOMS, and I'll be skipping alongside her at the playground in my grey-and-green pair...and two more kids in the world will also have a pair of shoes thanks to our purchases.

What could possibly be better?

I hope you go check out TOMS -- and if you live somewhere that you can actually wear shoes (instead of boots) right now, I hope you find some you can't wait to buy. A child somewhere will be glad you did.

P.S. In case you didn't notice? This is MommyTime's new reviews blog. It won't have new post every day, but I can promise that things I do choose to talk about here will be things you'll be glad to have more information about. Whee! for new adventures. (And what do you think of the new digs?)


Rachel said...

Such cute shoes! Put me in the snow-bound, can't-wait-to-buy category!

MommyTime said...

Rachel, I feel like I should send you some kind of prize for being the first commenter EVER on my new blog! Thank you. Also, you should know that they come out with new styles seasonally, so when the weather warms up, there are sure to be more fun polka dots and other summer styles...

Kim said...

That last picture just melts my heart.. what a great act of kindness from Toms..

Love the new place.. :)

Mrs F with 4 said...

MT, LOVE the new pad!
Love TOMS even more.... and I've even found TWO stockists within reasonable driving distance. YAY!

I'm certainly snow-bound, but I'm thinking they'd be pretty cool to wear around the house?

MommyTime said...

Hi Mrs F! They would be great around the house -- especially the fleece lined ones, I'm thinking, for the winter.

And thanks, Kim. Nice to have you here. :)

jenifer said...

Those shoes are too cute. Well, TOMS is one of my most favorite brands.