Opinion: TOMS shoes ugly, fragile
March 16, 2011
I am super against TOMS shoes. They are a good marketing tool, but they are bad aid.
Please don’t chuck your TOMS at me just yet. Hear me out.
Don’t get me wrong, what Blake Mycoskie is doing is great: for every pair of shoes that TOMS sells, it donates a pair to a child in need. One for one.
Even though the people who wear TOMS look like they have bandages wrapped around their feet, the idea behind them is absolutely phenomenal. But in supporting TOMS, are we really trying to do good? Or are we just buying stuff that comes with a case of the warm and fuzzies?
And while Mycoskie and those like him are doing fantastic things, I worry that someone who buys a pair of TOMS will consider their job done. They will feel good about their $50 shoe purchase, knowing they have just given a pair to a child in need when a donation of half that amount could have possibly helped that child in substantially more substantial ways.
In addition, TOMS are just So. Dang. Ugly. They may be ultra-comfy, but darling, pain is beauty. Personally, I think that $50 is too much for a pair of shoes that look like they were stapled together. It also does not help that they are not very sturdy. If you are going to give shoes to unfortunate kids without them, they should at least be fierce and durable. Think about it: if TOMS fall apart so quickly when they are worn on concrete sidewalks and in school hallways, how effective will they be to an African child who runs around on dirt terrain? I would rather just donate the entire $50 to go towards a pair of quality shoes instead of 2 pairs of mediocre ones. But that’s just me.
The logical stance is that doing some good is better than doing nothing. I am just wondering how much good we are actually doing.
I am not sure if there is a right answer here, but I think this question is at least worth asking ourselves. It might be the only way to find out if we are really doing good, or if we are just trying to make ourselves feel like we are.