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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Something for Everyone's Stocking: Tom's Shoes

As we get down to the wire with holiday shopping (Channukah in less than a week! Christmas and Kwanzaa a few days later), there's a great way to take care of the ones you love while doing some good in the process. Tom's Shoes is a company that makes beautiful, sustainable footwear but also has a mission. For every pair of shoes you purchase from Tom's Shoes, they will send a pair to a person who needs them. By outfitting the world in footwear, Tom's Shoes is attempting to combat podoconiosis, a disease of the lymphatic system that's caused by walking barefoot in areas with high concentrations of silica in the soil. Tom's Shoes has already donated tens of thousands of shoes to people in southern Africa and Argentina. There are videos of their "shoe drops" on the website.
This is a great gift for the last minute shopper because you can help Tom's reach its goal of donating 33,000 shoes before Christmas. Most of the products are in the $50 range and the styles yell out, "mellow sustainable living." There are suede versions, fleece-lined ones, woven and batik inspired prints. Invoking Robin Hood in more ways than one, Tom's has new versions that are vegan-friendly that come in low boot and high wrap versions. My master yoga instructor sister-in-law is getting a pair crisscrossed with a Gandhi quote. My daughter is getting some basic red ones for wearing back and forth when she goes to gymnastics. That means two people in another part of the world who will also be wearing something stylish, ecologically produced, and life-sustaining.
And if you really want to boost your contribution while celebrating the holiday, consider having a Style Your Soles Shoe Party for New Year's: Tom's supplies as many pairs of plain white shoes as you need, while you gather some fabric-friendly paints and sharpies (maybe even some eco-friendly natural dyes) and your favorite friends to decorate their own, unique, unmatched pair of Tom's. Be sure to take lots of photos and add your event to the picture gallery at Tom's Shoes' website.

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