the luxury of shoes

Well, I was set to tell you there are almost no interesting holidays to celebrate in April. (Except the obvious–I hope you had a very blessed Easter. We did here.) Then, I heard about this event on the radio while dropping child #3 off at school. I have been hearing about this company on the radio for a while, and what they are doing is so unusual, so uncomplicated, so–unlike business as usual for corporate America.

Today is One Day Without Shoes Day. I hope is becomes a national day. I hope it becomes a worldwide day. On April 8th, TOMS Shoe Company is challenging people across the world to go a day, an hour, ten minutes, whatever they can, completely barefoot. Why? A few reasons they offer:

· In some developing nations, children must walk for miles to school, clean water and to seek medical help.

· Cuts and sores on feet can lead to serious infection.

· Often, children cannot attend school barefoot.

· In Ethiopia, approximately one million people are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil.

· Podoconiosis is 100% preventable with basic foot hygiene and wearing shoes.

Those are just a few of the startling and sad facts. Shoes are a luxury. Who would have thought? We certainly don’t give it a consideration when we throw on the flip flops or lace up the Skechers.

As one of the company’s interns puts it: “Now you’re probably thinking, “Why would a SHOE COMPANY encourage folks to go BAREFOOT?” Easy. TOMS is not just a shoe company; TOMS is a movement, an advocate for change. We want to raise awareness for the MILLIONS of children around the world who go every day without the luxury of something as simple as shoes.”

In fact, this company donates one pair of shoes to those who need them for every one pair they sell. Not ten percent, not “a portion of our profits,” one for one. That, to me, is amazing.

So, today I am going barefoot. I don’t know about where you live, but here there is a chance of snow flurries predicted, so this should be interesting. I am guessing I’ll have to put on shoes to go into stores. Those health laws and all. Join me?

3 thoughts on “the luxury of shoes

  1. Anonymous

    You said:
    “I am guessing I'll have to put on shoes to go into stores. Those health laws and all.”

    There are no “health laws” about going barefoot in stores and restaurants in any part of the US. Urban myth. Started during the late 1960s, when conservative store owners wanted to keep hippies out. So they put up all those anti-barefoot signs. But those are their policies, not any laws. LOTS of young people were going barefoot in stores during the early 1970s, when the hippie look hit the mainstream. Since going barefoot went out of style during the 1980s, and never came back, you have no idea what went on then. Realize that going barefoot anyplace in the US is not unhealthy – we have plumbing, sanitation, no strange tropical diseases, no volcanic ash, just nice paved streets and sidewalks. And we have access to medicine. The risks are there, but are minimal. Those kids in Africa and other third world countries have no such luck, and that is why they need shoes. We only need shoes to conform with arbitrary social norms and appearances. (And during the winter in cold parts of the US.)


  2. And, every podiatrist I have talked to says that the foot the way God made it–naked–is its healthiest state, providing it is safe to go barefoot (which, as has been said, it definitely is not in many areas of the world). I have to admit though, it was cold here yesterday, and late afternoon, the socks went back on. I contemplated a long walk, and I cannot imagine having to do that in even colder temps without shoes. We are so absurdly and undeservedly blessed.


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