My new shoes

Returning to work after the summer holidays is difficult. It’s hard to raise a slumbering pedagogue after months of lazily waking to the rhythms of the sun’s rays. The thought of picking out outfits more complicated than t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops is taxing; and there are a million things to do to get ready before the students return- so much it makes my brain ache, just a little. But there is one way to get me a little excited– and it’s my new shoes, the ones I took for a spin at work today.

I just bought a pair of TOMS shoes. I had heard the name TOMS a while back, but I didn’t know much about them. Most of the styles I had seen seemed to be a sorted array of flat canvas slip-ons, and I already have lots of pairs of shoes that fit that bill, so I didn’t give them much thought. This summer however, on an shopping excursion with my mother, I discovered another side of TOMS shoes. These shoes called out to me in a way I could not ignore. I slipped my foot in to the size eight pair available and bemoaned the fact that my feet were one size too small. I wondered at how I could get my feet to grow in to the shoes. I asked the clerk to check again to be sure there was not a size seven pair hiding in the back of the store. I could not get these shoes out of my mind. I had to have them! I wanted to take them with me that very minute. When that was confirmed to be impossible, I resolved that I would simply have to order online and wait for them to be shipped to me. I couldn’t get home fast enough. I had barely set my suitcase down before I was at my computer and ordering a pair.

All of this makes me sound: 1) extremely vain; 2) much like Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw; 3) vapid and devoid of much interesting to write about. However, there is a caveat to buying a pair of TOMS shoes which may very well change your opinion of me. Indeed, it will likely be the thing that makes me look at purchasing another pair and, I think, the reason the shoes are worth writing about at all. You see, TOMS is not your regular shoe company. Rather, the company was started in 2006 by an American traveller named Blake Mycoskie after befriending children in Argentina who, he discovered, had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, Blake created TOMS, a company whose mission would be to match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need, or as the program has since been called: One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later in 2006 with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers. As of September 2010, customers have helped to give away 1,000,000 pairs of shoes to children in need. TOMS also prides itself on returning to areas to give shoes to children as they grow out of and in to new sizes. They work closely with humanitarian organizations to identify and track these needs.

My shoes make me very happy when I think of what they have given a child in need. Many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. As the summer draws to a close, you may think fondly of the times you have chosen to go barefoot and I understand that. However, a leading cause of disease in many developing countries are soil-transmitted diseases which can be penetrated through bare feet. Shoes will also help to prevent children from getting cuts and sores which are not just painful but dangerous should they become infected. Furthermore, some children can be denied the opportunity to go to school if they do not have the shoes which are required parts of their uniform. Shoes are connected to health, education and opportunities for children in need.

This is a purchase worth considering. They have lots of comfy and stylish shoes. I bought the cord wrap wedges. Check them out at : http://www.toms.com.

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