Toms Has Gone From Donating Shoes to Donating Profits

Dan Clarendon - Author
By

May 2 2022, Published 3:59 p.m. ET

The alpargatas known simply as Toms were once a pop-culture fixation, seen on the feet of A-list celebs and in the pages of fashion magazines. But then creditors took control of Toms Shoes in 2019 as the company became buried under massive debt. So, what happened to Toms Shoes?

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The short answer is, the company is still in business—and still selling its signature canvas shoes. It’s no longer donating one pair of shoes to charity for each pair purchased, however. These days, the footwear company has a different way of giving back.

What happened to Toms Shoes?

As Toms became a phenomenon, competitors started copying not only the company’s canvas shoes but its charitable model, as Bloomberg reported in 2021. Revenues at Toms fell, and debtholders—including Jefferies Financial Group, Nexus Capital Management, and Brookfield Asset Management—took over the company in 2019.

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“There’s no secret that over the last four or five years Toms has gone through a revenue decline,” Magnus Wedhammar, Toms’ CEO since 2020, told Bloomberg.

Under Wedhammer’s leadership, Toms began a reinvention, expanding their offerings beyond the alpargatas and appealing to Gen Z consumers and the causes they care about.

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How many shoes did Toms donate?

According to its corporate timeline, Toms donated 100 million pairs of shoes by 2020, up from 1 million in 2010.

Last year, however, the brand switched from one-for-one donations to a new charity model in which it gives a third of its profits to “grassroots good.”

As of the time of the Bloomberg story, the company had donated more than $2 million to COVID-19 relief, for example. Toms’ Impact Report 2021 says the company gives “cash grants and support for organizations building equity in marginalized communities.”

“Moving away from one-to-one is a big thing for Toms because we were sort of the pioneer of that movement,” said Amy Smith, Toms’ chief strategy and impact officer.

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What is Toms founder Blake Mycoskie doing now?

Mycoskie stepped down as Toms CEO in 2015 after selling a 50 percent stake to Bain Capital. “After over a decade of building Toms and building what I believe is a beautiful company … I kind of checked all the boxes that I was supposed to check [but] I found myself just exhausted,” he told CNBC in 2020. “Burned out, really challenged with the pressures of modern living, constantly digitally distracted and just not really present with my friends, family, and workers in the way I wanted to be.”

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And so Mycoskie teamed up with a friend, former Navy SEAL Pat Dossett, to found Madefor, a wellness company designed to help members build healthy habits.

“What we’ve found is that by helping people, getting people into something small that they do every day and the cumulative effects on their physical mental health, it actually has a lot of knock-on effects in other areas [of] their life,” Dossett told CNBC.

Madefor currently offers a $199 digital program focused on ten areas of focus: hydration, gratitude, fuel, connection, breath, movement, nature, clarity, rest, and vision.

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