4 Footwear Companies That Help the Less Fortunate

Using the buy-one-give-one model, these companies provide shoes for people that need them.


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These shoes are made for walking, running, sports, jumping in puddles, and for going to school, too. If you look in your closet, you might not have as many shoes as Carrie Bradshaw but there are probably many different pairs for every season and occasion.

For most of us, it's so normal to own shoes, we don’t even think about the fact that in some places, people can’t afford to buy shoes at all. If you want to do some good while getting a new pair of shoes, check out these brands of fashionable quality footwear that use the buy-one-give-one model to provide shoes or boots for people who need them.

1. TOMS Shoes

For every pair of shoes you buy from TOMS, a pair is donated to a child in need. In fact, TOMS is the company that created the buy-one-give-one business model. Millions of needy children, many of whom never owned a pair of shoes, have been provided with new much-needed footwear. These shoes will protect their feet and allow them to go to school (many schools will not allow a barefoot child to attend) and receive an education.

Founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, the iconic Californian company sells quality stylish shoes, eyewear, coffee, apparel, and handbags, and has long been campaigning for social change. Recently, Mycoskie announced on the Tonight Show that he is donating $45 million and mobilizing his customers and social media base to support a campaign to end gun violence in the US.

2. Roma Boots

For every pair of Roma's fashionable boots sold, a new pair of waterproof boots is given to a child in need. Roma’s founder Samuel Bistrian was actually inspired by the founder of TOMS to combine his love of fashion with philanthropy to help children in his home country of Romania, where way too many children do not have adequate footwear for the rainy and snowy winter weather.

Bistrian knows first-hand what a pair of boots can do for a child. As one of a family of 11 children in communist Romania, he received his first pair of hand-me-down boots when he was six, two years before the family emigrated to the US. It opened the world to him.

A few years after founding Roma Boots, Bistrian formed the Roma Foundation to take his philanthropic passion to the next level. Since 2016, the foundation has donated rain boots to thousands of children in 26 countries across the globe.

3. Brethren Shoes

Brethren Shoes is a new e-commerce shoe company – just launched in September 2018 – that according to founder and CEO Tian Mu, puts its soles where their heart is. This LA-based company uses the buy-one-give-one approach to provide shoes for the homeless in the US.

Brethren carries a line of stylish leather-free shoes, from wingtips to boots for only $66. If you want to give a pair without buying one for yourself, you can do that for $33. Donations account for one-third of all the sales.

The first batch of donated shoes went to Project Joy that provides employment services at two homeless shelters.

4. Shoemates

Shoemates is the German equivalent of TOMS. The company was founded a few years ago by Obaid Rahimi to help support the children of war-torn Afghanistan. While all shoes sold on the company’s website are made in the EU (and Eco Fair products), the donation shoes are specifically manufactured in Afghanistan so that the company also helps the local economy.

The shoes are hip and stylish, high quality, and include a vegan line. They also carry Headmates caps and bags and these products also support good causes. Shoemate's order processing services are done by a company that employs disabled people and helps them integrate into society.