You've probably read or heard me say something about my thoughts on TOMS shoes. Well- I will explain in as few words as possible.
I think TOMS shoes are super cute, I've heard their comfort is incomparable, AND they give a pair of shoes to the poor with every purchase- clearly a win-win right?? Yes, if you are Blake Mycoskie the founder of TOMS. I research most things that I purchase, so this was no different. I was pretty surprised at the findings of this company I would be supporting.
First off, I think $54 for a pair of casual shoes is completely ridiculous. However, I reminded myself, they do give away a pair of shoes for every pair ordered. In that case it's $27 per pair, I could talk myself into "helping" out the poor for $27.
Next up, what is this company about? Most people (myself included) probably don't research company backgrounds. I knew everyone just loves Toms, but why? I had heard a few things about the company, one being a big ordeal with Focus on the Family (FF), which is an organization we love and support, but I needed to see myself. You can click here to read an article on what Blake (TOMS founder) had to say about FF. If you google it, you will find hundreds of articles. Basically he (Blake) doesn't want to partner with FF, even though the impact of the partnership would help SO many more people in poverty! A website, change.org, spear headed the attack with a band of pro-gay, anti-Christian people. This group was upset about the partnership & Blake speaking at an event for FF. They and threatened to stop buying TOMS products- seriously, over the biblical beliefs and claims Focus on the Family upheld. He (Blake) told the gay community he was sorry, and started "distancing" himself from FF. Too bad Christians didn't have the same response and stop purchasing TOMS because of his "remorseful apology" to the gay community and actions toward FF.
That alone would be enough for me to cancel my shoe-buying endeavor, but there's more.
Mycoskie (TOMS founder), seems to be a Buddhist. I've never actually read a comment of him claiming it, his blog talks about various books he has read written by Buddhists (blake's blog) and his favorite quote is from Gandhi, the most famous Buddhist (blakes bio) - not to mention on that "bio" link (on TOMS page) it shows 4 stages of evolution, each in TOMS shoes....and no mention of Jesus or even Christianity.
Does being Buddhist make your product or ethics awful? No, but I think people/Christians don't know the entire story of what they are purchasing. I would rather invest in something a little more substantial. Support a good cause, that holds my same values- not an over priced, outsourced, swayed by sales or others that wear it, product.
I've done research, and don't like the results. I have chosen to purchase PAEZ shoes, I like the company and honesty, you can click here to read about them. They are not a Christian based organization, they make the original shoes from Argentina, where TOMS creator got the idea, made by locals in Argentina (where TOMS was first produced, and then moved to China & Ethiopia). PAEZ shoes are cheaper than TOMS, whose start at $54 and go up to $98! PAEZ are about $25 up to $38. Wait! Don't forget the pair for a pair offer TOMS has. After all, it's the good intention that sold us on the shoes anyway, right?? Solution: Soles4Souls. Christian organization. $1 for 1 pair of shoes to be donated to the poor. So you can take the additional $16 to $29 you save from purchasing PAEZ instead of TOMS and go to Soles4Souls.and donate multiple pairs of shoes!
BOTTOM LINE: for $54 (or less) you can have an awesome pair of shoes, hand made in Argentina-where the shoe originated, keeping jobs for the locals- boosting their economy, donate 16-29 pairs of shoes through a Christian based organization, who is not ashamed to work with organizations with a high moral, biblical foundation. Sounds pretty good to me!
PS- I have no vested interest in the sales of either company- this is purely my opinion and research.