Soles for souls


“It made me want to go there and give out shoes,” said Catherine Creech, a sophomore pharmacy major.

Creech was one of the 72 people who bought shoes for the second annual TOMS Shoes’ “Style Your Sole” event on Feb. 23. She and over 50 other attendees gathered in Jack’s Place for a documentary viewing and a shoe design contest. The video detailed the lives of the people who live in poverty without the luxury of a steady supply of food, clean drinking water, shoes or clothes.

TOMS Shoes is a for-profit company in Santa Monica, California. It was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie. The company based itself around a one-for-one plan. This means for every pair of shoes bought, another pair is sent to a person in need. The TOMS crew was in Argentina in September 2010 when they gave away their millionth pair of shoes. The company services 23 countries similar to Argentina, Cambodia, South Africa and Ethiopia. In 2011, TOMS eye wear was launched. It holds true to the one for one method. For every pair of sunglasses bought, a child willreceive medical attention, prescriptioneye wear or sight-savingsurgery.

The original design for the shoescomes from the Argentine “alpargata”design. The shoes help protect against a disease called podoconiosis,also known as “Mossy Foot”. It is a soil-transmitted disease caused by walking in silica rich soil. It can cause swelling of the feet and many other health problems. The event also included a design contest with a $45 cash prize. 12 people designed shoes and werejudged on a scale of 1-5 in three different categories: Creativity, overall quality and design.

There were three judges: Laura Pierson, Stacy Senske and Cassie Schulte who each assigned her own points to each pair. The winner was Courtney Drenth, sister of SDSU student Caitlin Drenth, who walked away with a total score of 40.2 out of 45 points. “I support TOMS because it’s a great organization to help people around the world,” Courtney said. “Especially when people may not know how or they can’t actually go somewhere to volunteer.”

One attendee had a mountain of boxes on her design table. Her name is Allison Oleson, a senior dietetics major. She held up a crocheted- lace style flat. “All of these boxes are for my bridesmaids,” she said. “I went with TOMS because it’s such a great cause and there are some really cute ones.”

While the event claims to be a great cause, overall attendance was lacking. “Most did it for the shoes, not the movement, so I was kind of disappointed in the turnout,” said Special Events Coordinator ReAnn Arcand. “I’m really passionate about the movement. But I’m still really glad 72 people got shoes thanks to SDSU students.”

The shoes for TOMS range from $29 for youth sizes through $100 for adult sizes and styles. The eye wear is around $135 per pair of sunglasses. On April 1 0 , TOMS will be hosting its fifth annual One Day Without Shoes. Participants all over the world remove their shoes to get an understanding for the conditions in which the people in impoverished countries live in every day. In 2008, over 250,000 people took part in the event.

“I want to give to kids in need,” Creech said. “I wish there was some way to go there and help.”