On April 10th, take your shoes off for a good cause and participate in TOMS Shoes’ One Day Without Shoes. TOMS is asking participants to go either the whole day or just a few minutes without shoes or to participate virtually. The idea behind going shoeless is that doing without the modern day luxuries causes curiosity, which provokes conversation, prompting action and inspiring change. Millions of children live without proper footwear, exposing them to injury and disease every day. Shoes are needed by millions of children. Shoes provide things like better health; without them children are at risk of injury, disease and soil-transmitted infections. Shoes also provide education, as they are required in certain areas to attend schools. This combination, of health and education, allows for more opportunity, enabling children in impoverished countries to break the cycle of poverty.
The website offers a DIY toolkit or downloadable tools to spread the message, including rally signs, street stencils (how fun and rebellious), a pocket card (to explain your bare feet), stickers, profile pictures and banners (even ones designed for new Facebook timelines), DIY t-shirts and displays.
Those who are unable to go without shoes can still spread awareness by sporting t-shirts and buttons and can participate virtually with their Facebook and Twitter avatars or by spreading the message on their social networking pages.
Different organizations throughout North America, including many university campuses, have organized specific events like barefoot walks to mark the day. The site allows you to type in your postal code to access One Day Without Shoes events in your city. The site is complete with the “Barefoot Challenge,” a head-to-head competition among organized groups of 50 people or more to see who can raise the most money. The prizes include a speaking engagement with TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, a surprise “Fun Friday” event courtesy of TOMS and Style Your Sole for 50 of the winning organization’s members (selected at random).
When TOMS, a Venice, Calif.-based company was founded in 2006, it promised that with every pair of shoes that is purchased, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. TOMS has since provided over 600,000 shoes to children around the world. So, book your pedicures and take off your shoes so that kids don’t have to!