TOMS Shoes Saving Lives, One Sole at a Time

For every pair of TOMS sold, another pair is donated to kids in need.

ByABC News via logo
September 2, 2009, 11:26 PM

Sept. 3, 2009 -- Every year, nearly 10 million children under the age of 5 die from largely preventable causes, according to UNICEF. Something as simple as not having a pair of shoes can lead to a deadly infection in many parts of the world.

Blake Mycoskie, 33, saw this firsthand on a trip to Argentina. What he saw sparked an idea and launched a movement that is now saving children's lives.

Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS Shoes is on a mission, covering soles to save lives.

"For me, it's much bigger than the shoes," he told "Good Morning America." "When they are just realizing that we care about them, and that they're so valuable that we want to give them a new pair of shoes."

For every pair of TOMS sold online and in stores, another pair is donated to kids in need around the world, Mycoskie said.

Combining business and philanthropy, TOMS has given an estimated 150,000 pairs of shoes to kids in Argentina, South Africa, Ethiopia, the United States and elsewhere. This year, they hope to give away another 300,000 pairs.

So how do they stay in business?

"It was much easier to sustain the giving, because we're not dependent on donors," Mycoskie explained. "And in an economy like this, we're able to give as many or more shoes as we can, because we're still selling our inexpensive TOMS Shoes."

People have difficulty grasping the importance of shoes over food or education.

"Earlier this year, I got to meet Bill Gates," he said. "And he said, 'You know, 50 percent of the infectious diseases in the world can be prevented with two things. Toilets and shoes. So, keep doing what you're doing.'"

Click Here for more information about Toms Shoes and to find out how you can help.