I hereby pronounce TOMS the official shoe of activist, green, mindful America.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Dec 17, 2008
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I was just at Eco Gift, where I was honored to do yoga and hang a bit with lovely tough yogastar Seane Corn, interview Mallika Chopra, Rainbeau Mars, Max Simon and Seane, meet Arianna Huffington (for a good 10 seconds), schmooze with 150 greenish companies, and give an elephant to Blake Mycoskie, the youthful, disheveled founder of the wildly successful, business-as-unusual, paradigm-shifting breakthrough hipster-hippie much-more-than-a-shoe-company, TOMS.

Just don’t ask who Tom is, he doesn’t exist (the name, Blake told us, is as in TOMORROW, and making a better one).

So you buy a pricey but simply made shoe…it’s not eco, it’s not Made in the USA…why would green living mindful lifers like us adopt it as our official shoe?

Well, for one, it’s cool. It’s hipster, it’s arty—esp the American Apparellish Williamsburg-friendly wrap boots, which are gonna be a huguuuuguguggue hit. There’s dozens of designs, and more all the time.

Good start, but not nearly enough.

Okay: two, the big one: you buy one, they send a pair to a dirt-poor Third World grateful suddenly-lucky, formerly shoeless boy or girl.

Okay, you had me at ‘shoeless.’

So while I wish the shoes were made in an environmentally-responsible manner (their Whole Foods is green, but all the others aren’t, particularly—I waited to ask these questions at the booth at Eco Gift, but their beseiged, popular staff answered one question and then kept me waiting for…too long)…

…and while I wish that the glues were non-toxic…

…and while I wish that the materials were vegan (leather insoles are frequent, seemingly unnecessarily),

…and I wish I better grocked what quality shoes they send to our shoeless brothers and sisters…I think they just send the basic, whether you buy $58 dollar shoes or $118 wrap boots…

…still, no other company even comes close to being this generous, or genius. So, heck, I’ll join the legions of TOMS maniacs and encourage you to watch and forward the below video—really just a hip, moving advertisement—out to the masses. And if TOMS’ genius inspires other companies to ‘buy one, give one,’ well then Blake will go down in the annals of business history.


And so, while I may ‘only’ give TOMS a 9.5 out of 10 on the mindfulometer—the extraordinary, practical, simple genius of their business plan more than overwhelms their light green approach to manufacturing—I did stop (with new friend Scott Badenoch and two of his ladypals) by TOMS evocative, stylish pop-up store on Santa Monica’s main drag, Abbot Kinney on the way to a Global Green screening of MADE IN AMERICA with Stacy Peralta

…and buy two pairs. Both of which were hip, cool and full of good vibes. I’m wearing one, proudly, even now, and have been since I left temperate LA—despite the freezing weather out here in hippie cowboy country.


Blake’s intro:

With the economy as it is, spending money wisely is more important than ever. Gift giving is a wonderful thing – and should continue to be – but we need to be conscious of how we spend our dollars. Before you break open the piggy bank, ask yourself the following: Will this gift truly be appreciated? Is there a way that I can spend less AND give more at the same time? I believe that you can with TOMS Shoes…

This Holiday Season, TOMS launched an audacious campaign to sell and give 30,000 pairs of shoes in 30 days! We kicked off this campaign by making a short one-minute video describing our goal (www.TOMSshoes.com). In the past 10 days, over 25,000 people have seen this video and more than 9000 shoes have been sold and will soon be given. This is amazing… but we still need your help. We only have a few days left to reach our goal!


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


13 Responses to “I hereby pronounce TOMS the official shoe of activist, green, mindful America.”

  1. So. Cool. I still live in mine, bought when I met founder Blake & Co briefly at Eco Gift Festival, as detailed above. Hipster alert: the polo wrap boots are gorgeous. Entrepreneur alert: the one-for-one model makes for big benefit, free marketing and customer loyalty.

  2. […] is, like Toms or Apple or Pangea or Whole Foods or….uh…elephantjournal.com, one of those companies […]

  3. […] company is an innovative, joyful example of using customer (and corporate) enthusiasm for their One-for-One model (they give a basic pair of shoes to a shoeless child for every pair you buy) to forgo marketing expenses and instead focus on creating awesome, fun, arty shoes…and […]

  4. […] the company is an innovative, joyful example of using customer (and corporate) enthusiasm for their One-for-One model (they give a basic pair of shoes to a shoeless child for every pair you buy) to forgo marketing […]

  5. […] their wares in un-certified third world factories. Instead of screaming bloody murder or hypocrisy, I look at the issues and give folks a chance to improve. But when I do say, Naked Branson or Naked Yoga or whatever, the key is to keep the info in the […]

  6. […] to be better for the environment and people and maybe without trying is better than some of our favorite companies in the “green” sphere.  American Apparel does have good values but why do they always teeter on the edge of exploitation […]

  7. […] Is TOMS—my + elephant’s favorite socially-responsible shoe—walking its talk? […]

  8. jsb says:

    Grokked, not grocked.

  9. […] Toms Shoes is known and loved for its generous one-for-one business model—buy one, they give one to a child in need. They’re hip: the “Prius” (you know, I care) of shoes. […]

  10. […] I hereby pronounce TOMS the official shoe of activist, green, mindful America. Now… […]

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