TOMS Shoes help couples give back on wedding day

Toms wedding shoesAfter my last post about wedding dresses, it’s only natural that now I talk about — what else? — shoes!

When you’re aiming for an eco-friendly wedding, what’s on your feet (and most likely covered by your dress the whole time) is a pretty low priority. Unless, that is, it can serve a bigger and better purpose.

Enter TOMS Shoes — a company that operates under the model that for every pair of shoes purchased, another pair is donated to a child in need.

If that’s not a good enough reason to buy a pair of TOMS, they’re also made with recycled materials in factories that pay fair wages and adhere to local labor regulations, TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie told Treehugger Radio in 2008. Plus, they’ve got vegan shoe options, as well.

TOMS Wedding Collection

And now, TOMS has a wedding collection! Granted, most of the shoes in their wedding line aren’t any different from their normal selection (or their prom selection!), and they’re not what you’d typically expect to see a bride and groom — or an entire bridal party — wearing, but the idea seems to be catching on.

TOMS was even featured in the Winter 2011 issue of Eco-Beautiful Weddings magazine.

In addition, TOMS’ website offers printable templates for your wedding, so you can incorporate their mission into your invitations, place seating and table number cards, and more.

Both Women’s and Men’s Styles

Some of TOMS’ wedding shoes are glittery (including a “something blue” model), and some are slightly dressier wedge options that I really love. The guys’ collection is pretty standard, with lace-up or slip-on options — and while they may look out of place with a tux, I think they could make a really cool social (not to mention fashion) statement. We’ll see if my groom agrees!

What do you think of the TOMS Shoes wedding collection?

[Photo: Eco-Beautiful Weddings]

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About Amanda MacMillan

Amanda MacMillan is a health and environmental writer whose work has appeared in Prevention, Health, Whole Living, and National Geographic's The Green Guide. She lives in Brooklyn and is currently chronicling the process of planning her wedding while making sustainable, healthy, and budget-friendly choices on her blog, Lean Green Bride.

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  • http://digitalphilanthropy.blogspot.com kiwimeg

    I have my doubts about Toms Shoes as an effective means of giving to the poor and needy.

    Sure, it feels good, but if you were to buy a pair of equally cheaply made shoes elsewhere, and donate the money you saved (because it seems to me that the price of the ‘donated’ pair of TOMS shoes is well built in to the price western consumers pay for them) to an effective, reputable aid organisation surely the result would be both longer lasting (clean water, sanitation …) and wider ranging.

    This from Zacstravaganza!
    “For the price of sending TOMS Shoes to a school of 1,000 kids for 2 years, you could build 13 latrines at 13 schools to benefit the health of tens of thousands if not a hundred thousand kids over the course of 25 years.”
    http://zacstravaganza.blogspot.com/2010/10/does-toms-cause-more-harm-than-good-by.html

    Perhaps a better programme would be one where the shoes were made locally – in the communities receiving them – thereby creating jobs and building up the communities to take charge of the solutions for their particular problems? I am sure that shoes are made in all the countries TOMS donates to – it seems counterproductive to ship in shoes from the US.

    Surely couples that were really keen to do good on their wedding day could do better than to purchase TOMS shoes??

    • http://www.EcoSnobberySucks.com Jeffrey Davis

      I totally hear what you’re saying meg, but I do see how Toms Shoes and other companies that do buy one give one type campaigns satisfy our consumeristic desires. Sure, the bride and groom could have just donated the money straight up, but I still think it’s cool to give them an option to give to charity through buying something they were going to anyway.

      • http://digitalphilanthropy.blogspot.com kiwimeg

        As cool as it is to be able to pay twice what a pair of shoes is worth so that you can feel good about your purchase, I think that we all need to think about the actual effects of our giving and look to being as effective as possible in our attempts at altruism.

        It irks me that this model of giving is lauded as something so fabulous – when in all reality it is kind of average and an easy, thoughtless way for us to be charitable. As much as I loathe the term slacktivism, it seems to fit here.

        Your $20+/- ‘donation’ to TOMS shoes could do so much more elsewhere. And not only that – it wouldn’t be undercutting producers of shoes in countries where it is used. I assume that there are shoes produced in the places TOMS donates. It would be a more sustainable and useful thing to buy locally made shoes. And surely effective aid looks to more long term solutions that build capacity in the community in which it works.

        • http://www.EcoSnobberySucks.com Jeffrey Davis

          Again, I hear what you’re sayin’ kiwi. All I mean to say is that if you’re not a big time, altruistic, activist…and are more of a, as you put it, “slacktivist”…then models like TOMS’ allow you to at least give SOMETHING. And to me, something is typically better than nothing.

          But of course that’s just the way I see it.

          • http://digitalphilanthropy.blogspot.com kiwimeg

            So true … :)

          • Moforrester

            No. I would say that not paying the exorbitant prices for these shoes is better than doing so. Because 1). you are supporting a misleading marketing scheme by the manufacturer that really only benefits them (TOMS is a FOR PROFIT company) and 2). you are creating more garbage in the world in the form of crappy shoes that will end up in a landfill.

  • http://www.solacesing.com/ Selwa

    Our entire wedding party (minus the kids) wore Toms Shoes. We did the natural burlap classics. It was a very casual wedding so the shoes really fit with the style of the dresses. I love this concept. Not everyone is apt to donate “where it counts” so this at least allows your wedding (an occasion on which you’ll typically spend $20,000 these days – we didn’t spend nearly that much, but that’s the “average” cost for most people) to be an opportunity to do something for more people than just yourselves.

    When I first told people about it, they looked at us like we were crazy. Normally brides will spend $200 on a pair of white, silken heels that they’ll probably never wear again (just like they’ll probably never wear their wedding dress again). I wear my Toms just about every day now, with a pair of jeans, so I get the reuse out of them. I also had my wedding dress made. I bought the fabric from a sustainable fabrics company called Near Sea Naturals. It was a pretty casual dress, so if I shortened it I could definitely wear it again.

    I think the key with “giving” these days is to get creative. People are hesitant to just donate money to charity, because you never know where it’s going to end up. But if you buy a pair of shoes and you know that putting the extra amount into that purchase is going to mean someone else somewhere else in the world is going to get a pair of shoes as well, then you’re probably going to be more apt to “give”. Plus, Toms shoes are just cool. They’re some of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. One of my bridesmaids told me the other day that she was so happy I had everyone wear Toms – she has worn a hole in one of her shoes already, and our wedding was a little over 6 months ago.

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  • http://www.kidsdesignerboots.co.uk kids designer boots

    Wedding shoes are just as important as the wedding gown itself. All brides would like to feel how it is to be a princess during their special day, so it is essential that they are able to wear something that would not only complement their wedding dress, but should be comfortable and stylish in all aspects as well.

  • Moforrester

    Wow. Do you realize that TOMS shoes are made in China, in sweatshops staffed by the exact poverty ridden population whom they purportedly claim to be “helping”? Congratulations! You have fallen for a brilliant marketing scheme that is advertised under the guise of being a “charity” for children. Wake up people!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000499864221 Kimberley Termin

      hey not to sound like an asshole but at least those kids have jobs.