Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bare Feet With Strangers: Losing Your Shoes for a Great Cause

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Yesterday was One Day Without Shoes—the fourth annual day of shoe awareness dreamed up by the do-gooding shoemakers at Toms. This isn't your standard issue shoe awareness situation—no 'How rare are his Nikes?' or 'What season are her Choos?' Rather, One Day Without Shoes is a humbling exercise in discovering the importance of one's shoes and what life might be like—as it is for the many second- and third-worlders Toms donates footwear to—without something protecting your feet.

But, this is New York—shoes are as much necessity as they are a part of our commercial, style-conscious culture. So, in these parts, One Day Without Shoes translates to a party. Cue Gilt City, who threw a shindig last evening at the Meatpacking District's eclectic/eccentric Charles Nolan flagship. Guests and Gilt City customers were handed Gilt-branded shopping bags upon entering and were basically required to fill those bags with the shoes on their feet. This, before filing in for vodka cocktails, an exquisite sampling of 'Wichcraft sandwich quarters (apologies, but their lemon-laced, caper-topped tuna salad can only be called exquisite) and an assortment of artisanal sandwich cookies.

Going shoeless certainly made trying Toms on a lot easier—and it's safe to say party-attenders were majorly snapping up the brand's slip-ons, sneaks, booties and new-to-us wedges. Of course, percentages of sales were donated and, per Toms tradition, for every pair sold one pair ends up on the feet of a person in need.

That said, Toms and charities and sacrifice or not, the mood was as airy and delightful as yesterday's weather. Maybe the mass foot-unshackling and all those jaunty socks and fresh pedicures were the root (even if stepping on a snatch of that tuna in your bare socks was a bit mood-killing). But our money is on the fair weather Kirsty MacColl/Saint Etienne soundtrack and that joyous assortment of vintage, ethnic and adorable bits and baubles Charles Nolan is so famous for. And, hey, the vodka helps too.
· One Day Without Shoes [Official Site]