TOMS Shoes—Bad Assumptions

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Every year TOMS shoes runs a special campaign ostensibly to demonstrate their social consciousness. Here’s a recent article in which they spell out:

TOMS Shoes was founded almost four years ago on a simple premise: With every pair of shoes sold, TOMS gives a pair of new shoes to a child in need. The “one for one” philosophy uses the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good, according to Mycoskie.

They don’t even consider that their policy might not benefit th e greater good, since it relies on the usual myths.

Myranya, in her blog, does a really good job discussing this:

April 8, 2010, TOMS Shoes is holding its third annual ‘One Day Without Shoes’ campaign, to ‘experience what millions of children endure every day’. They give a pair of shoes to a child in a third world country for every pair of shoes they sell.

Now I have gone barefoot by choice for fourteen years, and I am very happy with healthy, strong feet. I can tell you that going barefoot for a single day when you’ve spent a lifetime in shoes is NOT anywhere NEAR experiencing ‘what children have to endure’. YOUR feet are going to be extremely tender and soft, you’re going to wince at every pebble, shy away from every rose bush or thistle you spot, you’ll probably get cold toes. You may even get sore calves because you walk differently from what you’re used to. But THEIR feet are tough, calloused and leathery, they can handle much larger rocks without noticing them, they are only occasionally bothered by particularly nasty thorns.

Read the rest of it here.

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6 Responses to “TOMS Shoes—Bad Assumptions”

  1. Barefoot Josh Says:

    There are 1 BILLION people in the world without enough FOOD. Are Tom’s shoes edible?

  2. Lonely Schnozz Says:

    Great post! I live in South Africa and grew up on a wildlife reserve, I never wore shoes my whole childhood. Food and clean water are much more needed here than shoes.

  3. Beach Bum Says:

    The truth often lies in the middle, as there are several exclusively tropical diseases that people get from going barefoot. The worst is podoconiosis. Please look that up. Also, Tungiasis and Schistosomiasis. There are several more, none of which occur in the US or Europe. The real problems come from decades ago, when Americans and Europeans tried to ‘civilize’ and ‘westernize’ people who knew how to live naturally off the forest and grasslands. You either have to build all the proper infrastructure, including sewers, plumbing for clean running water, paved roads and sidewalks, and have a way to maintain all of this, or leave it all natural. And you would have to do the same with shoes – once they get them, they would always need to have a continuous supply of shoes, and be able to keep those that they have relatively clean. How is that going to happen? The overcrowded conditions and poor infrastructure causes unsanitary conditions that did not exist when people lived self sufficiently in the rain forests, and knew everything about their environment. Those people did not need shoes, they knew how to hunt and gather food, and which plants and animals possessed medicinal qualities. Much of that has been lost in most tropical countries, and they are often left to live in slums and total poverty.

  4. yigkjnm, Says:

    why can you people just let it go.At least he’s doing something in this damn world.He’s not prefect but his doing something and not bitching about this world like everyone else.

  5. Jeff Says:

    ^ Great job. you haven’t made any argument, just bitched that he’s calling out Tom’s stupid mission. Why don’t YOU “let it go”?

  6. doggonenews Says:

    Awww, come on, people! It dosent matter HOW people are making a defference, but at least they’re trying. Myranya, if your so agenst them, what do YOU do to help kids in need? Do YOU help them? Im not trying to make an argument, and im most certainly not saying anyhting about Myranya, but i think that kids in third world countries would really appreciate something nice like shoes. What makes them all the better is that they know that people care!

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