Students shed shoes during TOMS event

Zach Younglove, a sophomore from McMinnville, Tenn., walks barefoot to his dorm on Tuesday as part of the TOMS annual Day Without Shoes challenge. Intending to raise awareness about impoverished children living without footwear, Younglove chose to go without shoes for a full week.

Tyler Prochazka

College students and other activists shed their shoes and went barefoot Tuesday as part of the TOMS Shoes company’s international “One Day Without Shoes” event.

For each pair of shoes purchased from TOMS, the company provides a pair of shoes to children in need, according to the company’s website. The “One Day Without Shoes” event is meant to promote the charitable aspect of TOMS as well as raise awareness of individuals who don’t have access to shoes.


Across WKU, some students walked around campus completely barefoot.

McMinnville, Tenn., sophomore Zach Younglove and his friend, Louisville sophomore Randy Cook, didn’t let social convention stop them from eating dinner with their feet exposed in Downing University Center. To them, the cause was worth the pain they endured throughout the day.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stubbed a toe today,” Cook said.

Cook created a Facebook event for the “One Day Without Shoes” at WKU. On Tuesday, the event page listed 32 people who said they would go without shoes.

Cook said he promoted the event in order to raise awareness of why it’s critical that people have access to shoes.

“I want people to realize we are extremely lucky and blessed to have shoes,” Cook said.

However, while Younglove said the event was ultimately successful, Cook said it was not as well promoted this year, so fewer people took part at WKU.

Even if students did not participate in the “One Day Without Shoes” event, Cook said students could still get involved by just buying a pair of TOMS or donating old shoes to Goodwill.

Younglove, who participated last year as well, said he thought the event was important because it draws attention to children who have gotten foot diseases as a result of not wearing shoes. He said it can disrupt their education, as it is difficult for them to walk to school.

“Millions of kids suffer from (this),” he said.

So while students only had to endure one day of going shoeless, both Younglove and Cook agreed many children have it much worse.

“This is what some people go through every day,” Younglove said.