Tom’s #WithoutShoes Campaign a #SocialWin

By: Katherine Abbott

The popular shoe brand, Toms, is known for being involved in global issues around the world. Their compelling business strategy, shoe the shoeless, has started a revolution that has supplied needy children with new shoes across the globe (Cava, 2015). The brand launched a compelling social media campaign in 2015 that inspired thousands across the world called, One Day Without Shoes. The brand not only wanted to celebrate its 9th anniversary but also wanted to use this as an opportunity to launch something really meaningful (Papachristos, 2015). The campaign was launched in hopes of raising awareness for the lack of children’s health and education across the world (Hoffman, 2015).

In attempt to raise awareness of global hardship, Toms quickly created buzz by building a successful campaign around its shoes but this time it had a twist. “By leveraging Instagram, we can really make this participatory event globally,” Says Mycoskie, 38, the brains behind the entire Toms brand. Consumers are becoming more attracted to brands that give back and do good things for the community (Cava, 2015). The brand was not looking for any type of support or promotion from its customer base from the campaign. Toms simply wanted to give back and that is what inspired the thousands of Instagrams followers to successfully engage (Couch, 2015).

To participate in this campaign, which lasted from May 5th-21st, a person had to Instagram a picture of bare feet and tag #withoutshoes and that would donate a new pair of shoes to a child in desperate need (Toms, 2015). The engagement in this campaign exploded because it was not only for a good cause but it was easy to get involved. Not everyone who posts these pictures had to be a Tom’s customer. Anyone who wanted to post to make sure a child received a new pair of shoes could (Couch, 2015).

Needy child receiving new shoes on feet

Photo originally Published by USA Today

Toms #WithoutShoes campaign is a great example of a social win. The brand extended the time frame to build anticipation, as well as time to give more. Within 3 days of the campaign taking off, the hashtag showed over 99,000 posts (Henning, 2015). By May 21st, Toms announced that 296, 243 children would receive new shoes thanks to the campaign. This means that engagement with the hashtag reach 296,243 posts on Instagram (One, 2015). The amount of engagement with the Instagram community was overwhelming. The campaign was a great non-monetary way for people to get involved with a company.

Although Toms, A Day Without Shoes, was clearly a success, there is always room for improvement. I think the use of Instagram was a great idea but also one that could have limited the brand awareness. Concentrating on multiple platforms during the event could have brought more success. I think Facebook would have been a great resource to utilize. Different platforms have different types of audience members. I also think there should have been an option to donate if need be. Not everyone likes to give back the same way. Especially with older generations that may not have had a presence on Instagram, if a platform like Facebook was utilized, I think there could have been not only a more broad and differentiated audience but also offer other ways different demographics could get involved.

In the end, Toms succeeded in hopes of gaining awareness in the lack of children’s health and education across the globe. Thanks to, “A Day Without Shoes”, 296,243 children in need will receive new shoes (One, 2015). Due to the overwhelming amount of engagement with the campaign, the brand will continue to launch this amazing cause for years to come. Would you walk a day without shoes?



One Day Without Shoes is May 21, 2015 | TOMS. (2015, May 21). Retrieved February 08, 2016, from

Papachristos, A. (2015, May 13). TOMS’ #WithoutShoes Campaign Promotes “Social” Responsibility. Retrieved February 08, 2016, from

Cava, M. D. (2015, May 05). Toms uses Instagram to give away a million shoes. Retrieved February 08, 2016, from

Couch, R. (2015, October 27). Instagram Users Went #WithoutShoes This Month And Gave 265,000 Pairs To Kids In Need. Retrieved February 08, 2016, from

TOMS Kicks Off Its Eighth Annual One Day Without Shoes Campaign. (2015, May 5). Retrieved February 08, 2016, from

Hoffman, E. (2015, May 05). Toms will give free shoes to children if you Instagram your bare feet. Retrieved February 08, 2016, from

Henning, K. (2015, May 08). Toms’ One Day Without Shoes Instagram Campaign. Retrieved February 08, 2016, from

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