Students go barefoot for shoeless children

Visitors to Union's campus on Thursday, April 8, may be surprised to find many barefoot students. These shoeless students are participating in One Day Without Shoes, inspired by TOMS Shoes, a footwear company based in California. Many students learned of the event to raise awareness for children in developing countries who don’t own shoes through Facebook notifications from fellow students.

TOMS urges people to go without shoes for the day to experience a degree of what these children live with. Every day they must constantly be aware of the ground in front of them, forced to tolerate painful, and potentially deadly, sores on their feet and endure all elements of the weather. These life threatening problems can be solved with a simple solution—by wearing shoes.

“I was excited when I read the event description on Facebook,” said Kelly Phipps, a sophomore communication major from Minnesota. “I liked how such a simple thing can make such a big statement, I looking forward to participating and becoming a piece of raising awareness.”

Friends of TOMS, a non-profit subsidiary of TOMS Shoes, gives a pair of shoes to a child in a developing country for every pair of shoes purchased.

Don’t put on someone else’s shoes to gain a new perspective—take them off.

Shoeless Facts:

  • In some developing nations, children must walk for miles to food, clean water and to seek medical help.
  • Cuts and sores on feet can lead to serious infection.
  • Often, children cannot attend school barefoot.
  • In Ethiopia, approximately one million people are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil.
  • Podoconiosis is 100% preventable by wearing shoes.
For these facts and other information go to