Blake Mycoskie, Chief Shoegiver, Tomms Shoes

How an online shoe store is changing the world, one pair at a time

by Christiana Stergiou

By the end of this year, Blake Mycoskie will have given away approximately 300,000 pairs of shoes to kids in need.

How? He set up TOMS Shoes (short for Tomorrow’s Shoes) in 2006. And for every pair of shoes that a customer buys, he gives a pair to someone who has probably never, ever before, worn a pair of shoes.

Here’s why that’s so important:

Most children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or just getting around, these children are at risk.

Walking is often the primary mode of transportation in developing countries. Children can walk for miles to get food, water, shelter and medical help. Wearing shoes literally enables them to walk distances that aren’t possible barefoot.

Wearing shoes prevents feet from getting cuts and sores on unsafe roads and from contaminated soil. Not only are these injuries painful, they are dangerous when wounds become infected. The leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted parasites which penetrate the skin through open sores. Wearing shoes can prevent this and the risk of amputation.

Many times children can’t attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don’t have shoes, they don’t go to school. If they don’t receive an education, they don’t have the opportunity to realize their potential.

There is one simple solution…SHOES.

Of the planet’s six billion people, four billion live in conditions inconceivable to many. Let’s take a step towards a better tomorrow.

– From TOMS Shoes website

Blake Mycoskie has created a movement, not a shoe store. You can find more on TwitterFacebook, and TOMS brilliant website. And the crew at TOMS shoes are great storytellers. Check out one of their videos here.

I think, and hope, we’ll be seeing more social entrepreneurs like Blake Mycoskie. What do you think?

[Photo credit: TOMS Shoes]

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