It may have not been the first business to adopt the buy-one-give-one model, but TOMS Shoes is certainly the most popular. Blake Mycoskie founded the company in 2006 after a trip to Argentina and models his shoes after the alpargata, a traditional Argentine farming shoe. The style is simple and comfortable and decidedly summer-friendly, so in 2009 and 2010, TOMS introduced wrap boots, “botas”, and “cordones” to provide a bit more warmth during the winter months.
When you buy a pair of TOMS shoes, you’re really buying two – one for you and one for a child who needs them in places like Haiti, Ethiopia, New Orleans, and of course, Argentina. They often manufacture donated shoes in different styles in order to be region-appropriate (boots in Ethiopia, for example) and take kids’ fashion preferences and school requirements into consideration. As of last year, TOMS has donated one million pairs of shoes to kids in 20 countries. And if you don’t like shoes, don’t fret: TOMS will donate a pair for every tee-shirt, necklace, and hoodie sold, too.