The Eco-Friendly Shoe Trend

by Leesa Raab

As summer hit New York City, there has been a particular shoe that keeps popping up all over–whether shopping in Soho or dinner in Williamsburg, I couldn’t help but notice everyone is wearing the same shoes. I didn’t know what they were, but they reminded me of an uglier version of the box slip-on-shoes I used to wear as a kid in the 80s.

Next thing I knew, while shopping at Whole Foods a couple days after noticing the trend, I see the shoes. It turns out they’re TOMS Shoes, an eco-friendly company that promises that for each pair of shoes purchased, they will give a pair to a child in need.

Despite the fact that I thought this was a new-found fashion, TOMS has been around since 2006. Founded by Blake Mycoskie, an American traveler who was inspired by children in Argentina who didn’t own any shoes to help protect their feet. From there he developed TOMS and Friends of TOMS, a non-profit branch of the company that has donated over a million pairs of shoes to kids all around the globe.
Maybe this just speaks to my age going up and my cool factor going down, but while I could appreciate the charitable factor in purchasing the shoes, I still wasn’t loving the style. But as 9 out of 10 NYU kids will tell you, TOMS are THE shoes to have right now. In fact, while admiring the TOMS display in Urban Outfitters the other day, one young shopper next to me kept saying over and over “wow, this is definitely an impulse purchase, but I have to have them!”. As I flipped the tag and saw they sell for $58, I could see where she was coming from.

The line does actually seem to have something for everyone–heels, wedges, even shoes specifically for weddings! And if you like the shoes, you’ll probably love the sunglasses! I even started to change my mind a bit as I discovered a glittery pair and started to have a vision for how they might fit in to my wardrobe. It is for charity after all…maybe they’ll even count as a tax write-off.

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