This Tuesday I'm pretty excited, because it's my birthday. I'm quite possibly even more excited for next Tuesday, April 5th, because it's One Day Without Shoes. ODWS is a TOMS Shoe's event to create awareness about the millions of people who don't have a choice whether to wear shoes or not. Lucky for me, they have some excellent tools for spreading the word about this event, including this video!
I am most certainly going barefoot next Tuesday because I know from experience that it has a bigger personal impact for me, beyond being aware of the lack of shoes millions of people face everyday. Last year I plastered my studio (and social media) walls with ODWS posters and sign up sheets and information. About 30 people ended up going shoeless with me, and it made for a great day. Here are some possibly unexpected things to expect if you decide to participate.
Being barefoot in places you normally wouldn't be is guaranteed to make people ask questions. No surprises there. (Be prepared to explain why you're going without shoes for the day, and why it's important to you!) You might, however, be surprised at what these chats will lead to. I loved that a simple lack of shoes inspired such complex conversations and ideas.
I was completely wowed at what I was missing under my feet every day. Walking without shoes is like riding a bike down a road you usually drive on; you experience so much that you are usually protected from! It's a year later and I still have very clear memories of a particularly unpleasant parking lot I never knew was so spiky, and realizing how warm the floor next to computer towers is. Getting to experience little things I completely missed on before was pretty eye opening.
People will want to join you! It's fun to see the positive influence you can have, and how fast a good idea can spread. Last year at least three or four people I met during the day took their shoes off after I'd explained why I wasn't wearing any, in addition to the bunches of people I knew who had planned to participate. I'm sure they spread the foot freedom during their days as well. My family wasn't really interested in going barefoot, so instead they donated a whole lot of shoes to a local shelter. One good thing seems to inspire another, which is always nice.
If you can't go without shoes for the whole day, think about doing it for few minutes, maybe for your walk to lunch or the trip from your door to your car. Maybe bare feet are just not your thing. Consider donating some of those shoes you never seem to wear. Local shelters are a great place to donate. If you're worried about people being offended by your shoeless feet or getting the stink eye in public places, carry around some Aftersoles in your back pocket! Most of all, spread the word! TOM's One Day Without Shoes website has a whole lot of information and promotional material for you, from banners and posters to installation ideas. Put them up in your school/work/dentist office/nearest telephone pole! You can also register as a barefoot-er with a local event. If there aren't any events close to you, make one! Or join us!
Let us know if you're going without shoes, and how the day goes for you!