Admit it: TOMS are for YOU

When TOMS hit the market I thought it was a neat idea.
When I saw the price tag I was a little peeved.
When I saw the lack of quality, I was even more peeved.
Great, if “people in need” get these free shoes, they’re going to need another pair in about 2-3 months.

I mean, it’s a cool trend.  If you like the shoes, then wear them!  But don’t act like you’re wearing them for anything other than for the trend.  After all, there’s no arch support, they’re actually rather ugly (here’s a similar but prettier alternative), and it’s really expensive!  In other words, just admit it; you’re a lemming!

I used to say things along those lines but people would defend their choice of footwear. But now, I have a more knowledgeable backup source, “TOMS Shoes: Good Marketing – Bad Aid.”  Here is a notable excerpt from the article:

  • It’s quintessential Whites in Shining Armor.
  • It’s doing things “for” people not “with” people.
  • They allow people to pay to travel with the distribution trips as shoe fitters thereby promoting poverty tourism.
  • They promote the “awareness raising” activity – One Day Without Shoes – which is really just a marketing ploy. I’ve launched a counter-campaign this year, A Day Without Dignity.
  • They ship in goods for free that outcompete local goods, it’s a short-term solution that could create long-term problems.
  • I challenge anyone to find a single country in the world where there are not shoes for sale in the marketplace. There are many better and cheaper ways to get shoes on the feet of the poor.


PS: I got the TOMS article from this slideshow which also is good food for thought: Haiti Doesn’t Need Your Yoga Mats
PPS: I’m not trying to be overly critical (okay, TOMS is just a personal pet peeve of mine), it’s just, I wish people would be more strategic in their “Aid” mentality.

One response to “Admit it: TOMS are for YOU

  1. I think TOMS are ugly, and am perplexed by their popularity. I felt the same way about Crocs

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