TOMS Shoes is an American footwear company that is based in Santa Monica, California, which also operates a non-profit subsidiary, Friends of TOMS. The company was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie,an entrepreneur from Arlington, Texas. The company designs and sells lightweight shoes based on the Argentine alpargata design. With every pair sold, TOMS donates a new pair of shoes to a child in need. Founder Blake Mycoskie attended James Martin High School in Arlington, Texas, and St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin, Texas, then did undergraduate work at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
While competing on the second season of The Amazing Race with his sister, Mycoskie visited Argentina. He returned there on vacation in January 2006 and had the idea to develop a shoe company where for every pair sold, a new pair would be donated to a child in need of shoes. Blake once said of his revelation, "I was sitting on a farm pondering life, and it occurred to me, 'I'm going to start a shoe company, and for every pair that we sell, I'll give a pair to someone who needs them'" Mycoskie took to wearing the local alpargata shoes.
After Mycoskie noticed the numerous children without shoes in the poorer villages, he returned to the United States and sold his online driver education company to self-finance the shoe company. A Traditional Alpargata Style Shoe. Alpargata shoes have been worn by Argentina farmers for 100 years and were the inspiration for the classic style of TOMS. These canvas or cotton fabric shoes are now manufactured in many styles including a Wrap Boot, Stitchouts, Cordones, and Botas.
The sole is constructed of rubber. Alpargata is a light canvas shoe with a plaited fibre sole; an espadrille. Espadrilles or espardenyes are casual, flat, but sometimes high-heeled shoes. They usually have a canvas or cotton fabric upper and a flexible sole made of esparto rope. TOMS offers several vegan styles as well. The company name is derived from the word "tomorrow", and evolved from the original concept, "Shoes for Tomorrow Project".