TOMS Shoes raises awareness, barefoot students walk a mile in someone else’s shoes



Elizabeth Brennan

Over 250 Villanova students and community members walked together in the TOMS’ One Day Without Shoes event on April 8. 

The walk was one mile around campus, and all participants left their shoes in their dorm rooms and went barefoot. Walking barefoot throughout the day simulated what life is like for people living in poverty. 

The goal of the walk was to show support for TOMS Shoes, a company that was created to help those in need. The Day Without Shoes was not only a success on campus, but also in many places across the globe. 

TOMS Shoes helped launch the Day Without Shoes, in which over a quarter of a million people participated from all around the world in over 1,500 different events, according to the official TOMS Shoes Web site. 

“One Day Without Shoes is the day we spread awareness about the impact a simple pair of shoes can have on a child’s life,” the Web site stated. “On April 8, we ask people to go the day, part of the day or even just a few minutes barefoot, to experience a life without shoes first-hand, and inspire others at the same time.” 

The Villanova community realized the importance of TOMS’ cause and decided to bring together people here to show support. 

“Going barefoot allowed us to realize how difficult it is to live without shoes,” said sophomore Katy Nagy who brought this event to campus. “A lot of people were talking about how much their feet hurt, and that was just for a mile. Imagine the children who walk for miles every day. Living in such extreme poverty, wearing shoes is probably not a priority because the dangers of going barefoot are not as obvious as hunger, for example. That’s why TOMS partners with humanitarian organizations to work with the communities that they deliver shoes to in order to stay connected, educate about foot hygiene and establish a long-term commitment to help each community.”

Many members of the Villanova community were eager to take part.

 “I really wanted to participate in the walk on campus because it gave me the opportunity to give back to a phenomenal organization in order to help those in need,” junior Kerri Duggan said. “Walking without shoes was an incredible experience. However, I hope I’ll never be in that position again. Sometimes we take for granted the simplest things in life, including shoes. TOMS is a company that gives back in ways that can help people everywhere.” 

Students were moved by the event’s overarching message.

“The ultimate goal [of the event] was to raise awareness about the need for shoes in developing countries and to spread the word about the TOMS One for One movement,” Nagy said. “I wanted to inspire change within the community and, by doing so, within the world.”