The Toms Shoes phenomenon has officially hit Chapel Hill.  If you haven’t noticed the Toms takeover yet — look down.  UNC-Chapel Hill students are crazy about the comfy, canvas shoe company that bases its business off a “One for One” model.

For every pair of shoes bought, Toms donates a pair to a child in need. The Toms’ philosophy is geared toward providing children in developing countries with shoes who can’t afford them and would otherwise be subject to disease, cuts, bruises and denial from school (because shoes are required as part of the uniform).

The Toms company uses a wide variety of social networking outlets to promote its brand.  They encourage consumers to “tell the Toms story” by posting videos or pictures of themselves wearing Toms Shoes on their website.  They also dedicated a day (April 8th) for people to go barefoot in order to generate awareness of the millions of children around the world who cannot afford the simple commodity of shoes.

According to the website, ¼ million people participated in the event, including many UNC students.  Elizabeth Symons, a sophomore at UNC, left her flip flops at home that day and trekked through campus without shoes.

“When I first started walking to class, I thought people would think I looked weird, and I was kind of embarrassed.  But then I realized that I was doing it to raise awareness for the

Toms movement, and it felt rewarding to me because people are losing their lives because they don’t have shoes.  I was helping fight that.”

Symons and others experienced #hardwithoutshoes (a popular trending topic on Twitter around April 8th) first hand.

Many students are passionate about the brand because of its inspirational business concept.

Sarah Dehart (left) wears her favorite pair of Toms shoes: the Ghandi slip ons.  Ghandi’s quote, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” perfectly embodies the Toms motto.

Whether you’re a fashionista, tomboy, punk, or really anything in between—Toms has something for you.  Check out their website to learn more about the Toms movement or check out more styles.

Have a wonderful week and good luck on exams!

– Eloise Hamilton