Walk spreads word about ‘one day without shoes’

Aaron Frasier

Students will meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday outside Cherry Hall and proceed to walk bare-footed down the Hill to South Lawn.

La Grange sophomore Austin Wenger has planned the walk to coincide with the national “One Day Without Shoes” sponsored by TOMS Shoes. The company hopes to raise awareness for those in developing countries who “must walk barefoot for miles to school, clean water and medical help,” according to the event’s official website.

“It’s a two-way thing,” Wenger said. “You experience what it’s like to walk on grass, mud and concrete, and people also look at you funny and wonder why you are walking without shoes. So you can tell them about TOMS and raise awareness.”

TOMS Shoes was founded by Blake Mycoskie in 2006 after he went on a trip to Argentina and saw children walking around with no shoes on. Mycoskie made a commitment when starting his company that for every pair of shoes he sold, he would give a pair to a child in need.

Wenger bought his first pair of TOMS last summer and discovered the company did campus clubs, so he decided to start one and “head up this whole movement.”

“If you don’t wear shoes for a week, you start to see how much you take shoes for granted,” Wenger said.

Aside from One Day Without Shoes, Wenger has other ideas for club activities in the future. He’s planning a “Style Your Sole” party for people to decorate their TOMS shoes, and he also plans to get the TOMS Shoes documentary screened.

“We are still growing,” Wenger said. “Right now it’s going to be a lot of planning.”

Glasgow junior John Alexander is one of the members that has joined the club. Alexander said he got his first pair of TOMS for his birthday last year.

“TOMS doesn’t do much advertising, so this is a good way to help out,” he said.

Alexander participated in One Day Without Shoes last year and said he’s hoping for a bigger turnout this year — as well as the exposure on campus that comes with it.

“I was out with Austin on campus the other day, and we saw a person with TOMS on that didn’t even know that buying a pair got a pair given away,” Alexander said.

Wenger, Alexander and the rest of the club plan to walk down the Hill to South Lawn and play sports such as football, soccer and frisbee barefoot.