One Day Without Shoes
In case you missed it, April 16 was the annual “One Day Without Shoes” event sponsored by the touchy-feely shoe company Toms. The day was meant to raise awareness about Toms feel-good marketing strategy: buy a pair of cheap canvas loafers for at least three times their value and Toms will ship another pair to some poor kid in the third world.
Yes, I am cynical. The Toms campaign reminds me a little of Nestle and other baby formula companies who pushed their products on the third world, getting mothers who would otherwise be breastfeeding, to switch to formula. Trendy shoes and powdered formula are first world luxuries that have got to be low on the list of needs in the third world. Might as well send them a DVR while we’re at it, so they’ll never again miss an episode of True Blood. Or maybe a Keurig. A single-cup coffee brewer is practically a necessity! Who wants to brew a whole pot if you only need one cup?
Of course, as shoes go, Toms are pretty good. They are flat, flexible, and offer minimal support. They are much better than say, Asics Gels, or some other overly-cushioned and supportive athletic shoe. Plus, the ones with glitter and sparkles are *gulp* even cute. And if the “One Day Without Shoes” event gives people the courage to try public barefooting, then I am on board.
A friend from high school decided she would try out “One Day Without Shoes,” and I was pretty excited to hear about her experience. She is a socially-conscious, earth-loving, artistic and free-spirited mama, who, surprisingly, never tried going out barefoot before Toms designated the day. On April 16, she hit Lowes, the orthodontist, her daughter’s school and jujitsu class in her naked soles. In a Facebook message she said, “I was very aware of my surroundings. When I parked at the school to get my kidlets for jujitsu I opened the door and looked down FIRST to see what may have been vomit. I did not step in it!!!!”
“One Day Without Shoes” is supposed to help people feel empathy for those poor kids who don’t have anything to put on their feet, but I wonder how many people who participated in the event instead found the experience really enjoyable. My friend did: “It was fun! I think I will go barefoot more places. Felt good to be connected to the ground and to slow down for each foot placement!”
Those are her cute feet pictured above. With feet like that, who needs shoes?