toms_logoIt took my Classics the better part of a day to dry after washing, so I made Sunday a TOMS day. My wife bought me my first pair of TOMS shoes in early August for my birthday. I wore them exclusively for a couple weeks before my feet started to ache a little bit. TOMS are, by necessity, very thin shoes. The soles are thin and the fabric is thin.

But unlike the Vibram FiveFingers line, TOMS aren’t anything like barefoot. They’re still a hard, cardboard-like sole. The only appeal to wearing TOMS is the charitable side of the company. For every pair of shoes purchases, TOMS gives a pair to a child in need. What a perfect way to appeal to consumers: “Help others by shopping for yourself.”

I find myself enamored with companies who think outside the box of typical American capitalism. The age-old standard leads to toxic dumping and polluting the planet. I like companies who combine business with charitable giving, or who insist on manufacturing their products in a environmentally friendly way. Every step helps.

That’s why I read sites like Treehugger and Jetson Green. I like to see people make creative and innovative decisions in the formation of their businesses. They provide products and services I can feel good about using.

I don’t know where Vibram stands on environmentally friendly, and I’d like to find out, but they fall into a separate category of health benefits. If a company meets one of these criteria, I will consider using their products:

1. Significantly more efficient use of natural resources

2. Charitable giving I can actually see

3. Improve my personal health

4. Completely or almost completely non-toxic

Vibram meets #3 for sure. My posture and back strength has improved. I literally feel more “grounded”. No pun intended there. The materials may or may not be the most ecologically sound. But the product is making a difference in MY life.