Light on Your Feet

Photo: Toms shoes

I feel like I’ve been hopping on flights nonstop over the last few weeks, and despite dealing with some airport struggles and the knowledge that I need to tally up my carbon footprint, I attribute a continuous spring in my step to my new travel shoes: Toms. Produced in factories that pay their workers a fair wage, these incredibly lightweight canvas shoes collapse into nothing in a suitcase. And for every pair you buy, they donate a pair to kids in need—so far, 10,000 pairs in Argentina and 50,000 in South Africa. Toms have a leather-lined sole that’s surprisingly supportive, great for biking or wandering the streets during your travels. And their slip-on design is great for airport check-in lines. They’re available in a variety of colors (like my cute polka-dot numbers), and the Toms team encourages you to buy their plain white kicks and decorate them yourself.

Apparently these shoes also encourage traveling: While poking around their website, I noticed that they plan to give away 200,000 pair of shoes around the world this year, and they accept applications from people who want to travel with them on their international “Shoe-Drops.” They’ve also created a promotion team called the “Vagabonds,” that will travel the country visiting college campuses, high schools, and communities, spreading the word about these cool shoes (and their spring semester team is still accepting applications).

Photo: Janelle models her Toms at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge.


  1. chris
    September 11, 2008, 11:16 am

    TreeHugger has an interview with TOMS creator, Blake Mycoskie.
    Thought you might enjoy.

  2. Noah
    September 2, 2008, 2:50 pm

    It’s true, I totally dig my Toms. Except that I’ve worn them to work a couple of times (we have a pretty lax dress code) and people have asked me if they’re shoes or slippers. Some people just don’t understand style.

  3. Katie
    September 2, 2008, 1:52 pm

    Not to speak for Noah, but he likes the gray/plaid Toms and I believe considers them among his favorite Christmas presents ever.

  4. Prêt à Voyager
    September 2, 2008, 11:44 am

    I’m going to have to test those out myself! Now to figure out which pattern I want…