TOMS versus Sanuk

By simply purchasing a pair of either TOMS or Sanuk shoes you can help to make the world a better place. TOMS sends shoes to children in need, while Sanuk has a Rasta program to reduce its environmental impact on the world.


When Blake Mycoskie took a life changing trip to Argentina in 2006, he befriended children who had no shoes to protect their feet. He created the company TOMS to match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes to a child in need (One for One). Later that year he returned with 10,000 pair of shoes made possible by TOMS customers.

The company gives to communities who will benefit the most from their shoes based on economic, educational and health needs, but without hurting their local businesses. These communities become “Giving Partners” where they then have to order the sizes children in their community need.

The most frequent shoes given to children in need are unisex black canvas slip-ons with a sturdy sole because many countries require black shoes for school. In addition, the slip-on style is beneficial for poor families who cannot afford to replace shoelaces when they break.

TOMS shoes help to prevent disease and injury. Healthy children are more likely to be successful in education and life. By having shoes on their feet, they have a better chance of a healthy and successful future.

There are over twenty Giving Partners all over the world who order shoes for their children in need. It takes about four to six months after the shoes are purchased for the Partners to be able to hand-place them on children’s feet.


Sanuk was founded by in 1999 by Southern Californian Jeff Kelley based on his love for the outdoors and his attraction to funky footwear. Sanuk actually means “happy” or “to enjoy” in the Thai language. It is pronounced like Sanook.

Sanuk is perhaps best known for its Sidewalk Surfers, or “Not-A-Shoes”. Their innovative sandal construction allows the wearer to stand the way his/her body was designed, and helps the muscles supporting the back to be more properly aligned.

The company sponsors a number of premier athletes, including surfers like Donavon Frankenreiter and rock climbers like Daniel Woods. Sanuk’s are now being distributed in nearly 70 countries throughout the world.

The RASTA Project which stands for the Recycled and Sustainable Trade Alliance is a sub-division of Sanuk. They aim to be environmentally responsible by creating the outsoles out of recycled tires, and using other materials such as hemp, jute, natural latex, cork, and recycled plastic bottles.

Footwear Styles and Prices

TOMS footwear come in a variety of different colors and styles, varying from wedge heels to men’s botas. They are comfortable and their canvas material allows them to stretch and fit the foot more naturally. Prices range from around $40 for the classic canvas, to about $80 for the more sophisticated and detailed shoes.

Sanuk leads its industry in using innovative materials in their footwear such as yoga mat and indoor-outdoor carpet. Furthermore, they have changed their packaging to only use bags made solely of biodegradable corn that naturally breaks down.

Sanuk colors and products vary for both women and men from $14 sandals, to over $60 slip-ons, to an $85 “Not-A-Shoe.” They also market creative hats and t-shirts.