Toms Wants You to Instagram Your Bare Feet for Charity

For every photo of bare feet uploaded to Instagram, Toms will donate a pair of shoes to a person in need.
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Dhani Mau
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For every photo of bare feet uploaded to Instagram, Toms will donate a pair of shoes to a person in need.
Photos: Toms

Photos: Toms

In addition to its distinctive slip-on style, nine-year-old footwear brand Toms is known for its buy a pair, give a pair philosophy: For every pair of Toms shoes purchased, the company donates one pair to a person in need. Now, the company is making it possible to donate without purchasing a pair of Toms.

From now until May 21, you can bring about a donation simply by posting a photo of your bare feet to Instagram with the hashtag #withoutshoes. The initiative is part of Toms's One Day Without Shoes campaign, now in its eighth year, which asks the public to spend a day or part of a day without shoes to persuade others of the importance of having them. This is the first time that Toms will give away shoes in exchange for a hashtag, rather than a purchase.

While the annual campaign has already done much for raising awareness for the company and its cause, Toms founder Blake Mycoskie tells Fashionista it has been lacking a "charitable act." Keeping in mind that not everyone can afford to buy something from Toms, Mycoskie says he wants to give people the opportunity to "do something good without having to buy." Participants are encouraged to challenge their friends to do it as well, and a number of (not yet named) celebrities are already confirmed to take part.

Mycoskie says the company's social media team will be using an app to ensure each participating account is only counted once, and that the company is prepared to give away up to 1 million pairs.

"We'd rather spend our money doing more good rather than traditional advertising," Mycoskie says of the decision to invest in the giveaways. It's smart: The campaign will likely generate plenty of awareness through social media and make Toms look exceptionally charitable in the process, for the cost of producing up to 1 million pairs of shoes. A more traditional campaign would be hard-pressed to promise such a return on investment.